In the Black Fantastic

Nov. 19, 2022 – April 10, 2023 This exhibition has ended
Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2014 © Nick Cave. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Mandrake Hotel Collection
UP TO AND INCLUDING MONDAY 10 APRIL. Step into an immersive experience at the intersection of reality and fantasy worlds. In the Black Fantastic shows seductive, exuberant and colourful works by eleven contemporary artists from the African Diaspora. With boundless imagination and technical virtuosity, the artists are addressing racism and social inequality. Inspired by folklore, myth, science fiction, spiritual tradition, and Afrofuturism, they are imagining new worlds and possibilities.

Book your ticket here!


In the Black Fantastic presents an exciting mix of painting, photography, video, sculpture, and installations. The exhibition includes Nick Cave’s legendary Soundsuits, works from the Watery Ecstatic series by Ellen Gallagher, combining myth and the history of the trans- Atlantic slave trade, and Wangechi Mutu’s compelling video work The End of eating Everything, depicting the monstrous nature of mass consumption.

Fantastical power

The artists reshape stories from the past and think about what the future might look like. At the same time they are dealing with the societal challenges of the present. Chris Ofili, for example, created a new version of Homer’s Odyssey featuring a Black Odysseus. The artist Hew Locke encourages you to look at commemorative statues in a different way: his equestrian statues seem to have escaped from a dystopian landscape. And in her multi-layered series of self-portraits, Lina Iris Viktor combines influences from, among other things, classical mythology, West-African textiles, and Aboriginal painting. Discover new narratives and experience the fantastical power of In the Black Fantastic!

Curator Ekow Eshun about In the Black Fantastic

The writer and curator Ekow Eshun brings together two generations of artists in this exhibition: Nick Cave, Sedrick Chisom, Ellen Gallagher, Hew Locke, Wangechi Mutu, Rashaad Newsome, Chris Ofili, Tabita Rezaire, Cauleen Smith, Lina Iris Viktor, and Kara Walker. 


‘In the Black Fantastic’ is realised in collaboration with Hayward Gallery in London. A small selection of reactions to this exhibition from the British press:

The Evening Standard - ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
“Unlikely to be a better show this year”

The Guardian - ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
“Eleven contemporary artists inspired by Afrofuturism consider possible futures with a hopeful, fizzing energy” 

Book your ticket here!


There Will Be Black People In the Future.jpg
Alisha B. Wormsley, There Are Black People In The Future, Kunsthal Rotterdam, 2022, photo Fred Ernst

See also

Lina Iris Viktor, Eleventh, 2018 © 2018. Courtesy the Artist
Wangechi Mutu.jpg
Wangechi Mutu, The End of eating Everything, 2014, Video animation, 8:10 minutes, Courtesy of the Artist, Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, and Victoria Miro, London. Commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC
Chris Ofili_online.jpg
Chris Ofili, Annunciation, 2006 © Chris Ofili. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner
Opening In the Black Fantastic, Kunsthal Rotterdam 19 november 2022, foto Fred Ernst (76).jpg
Catalogue In the Black Fantastic, photo: Fred Ernst

Catalogue In the Black Fantastic

The lavishly illustrated English-language catalogue In the Black Fantastic will accompany the exhibition. The book features an introduction by curator Ekow Eshun, and various in-depth essays. Apart from paying attention to the artists featured in the exhibition, the book also zooms in on the Black fantastic as a cultural phenomenon, for instance in music, film, and literature. Available at the Kunsthal Shop.

Kunsthal & Cookies
During your online visit to Kunsthal Rotterdam we always use functional and analytical cookies. To show you content such as videos and advertisements based on your interests, we ask your permission to use marketing cookies. You can adjust your preferences at any time. Read our cookie statement and updated privacy statement.
These cookies enables the website to work like it should. These cookies are not optional.
These cookies are set by third parties, like YouTube or Vimeo.
These cookies allow us to measure the usage of the website and improve it accordingly.
These cookies allow our advertising partners to offer content tailormade for you.
When you disable categories, some functionality in the website might not work correctly. It's possible to change your preferences at any time. More information.