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Jamea Richmond-Edwards: Ancient Future

October 25, 2023
5:02 am
March 17, 2024
5:02 pm
Jamea Richmond-Edwards: Ancient Future


Ancient Future features Jamea Richmond-Edwards’ multidimensional exploration into Afro-futurism and Black mythologies, and showcases her signature vibrant paintings, film explorations, and immersive installations. The exhibition introduces a video work that weaves her experiences with HBCU marching bands and majorette performances, complemented by a musical score from her son, an emerging jazz musician. Central to the exhibition is a monumental painting blending Egyptology and biblical references, featuring the cosmic guardian, Egyptian goddess Nut.  

Populated by fantasy and self-portraits, Ancient Future  prompts viewers to envision a world without oppression, asking who we might become in such a universe. For Richmond-Edwards, this exhibition projects a luminous future built on the energy of our past and present.


Jamea Richmond-Edwards, born in 1982 in Detroit, Michigan, creates visionary work rich with symbolism and imagery. Through her work, she brings viewers into a vibrant universe that blends elements from the past, present, and her envisioned future.  Working across various mediums, the artist interrogates and engages with Black culture, historical mythology, and imaginative world-building. Rooted in Afrofuturism – a genre that connects science fiction and fantasy to envision Black futures and explore African diaspora experiences – her paintings introduce figures that seem to transcend the boundaries of time.

For the exhibition, Richmond-Edwards created a video work of the same name, incorporating her experiences with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) marching bands and majorette performances. Accentuated by a musical score from her son, an emerging jazz musician, the video showcases performers stepping through galaxies, uniting the present with her futuristic visions.

Central to the exhibition is Dark Night of the Soul, a monumental painting that seamlessly intertwines Egyptology with biblical references of the heavens. As her largest painting to date, it combines cultures and histories, creating a newfound space that inspires viewers to think more expansively. The work features the guardian of the cosmos, Egyptian goddess Nut, anchoring the canvas while simultaneously containing and creating a new realm.

Drawing references from extraplanetary phenomena, the resonating work of musical icons such as Erykah Badu and Saul Williams, reflections on recent natural disasters, the infinite cosmos, and symbols of dragons, Ancient Future offers a meditation on the cyclical nature of history and time. It pushes boundaries, questioning and redefining traditional constructs of race, gender, and space. Immersed in this blend of fantasy and self-portraits, viewers are led to wonder: in a world devoid of oppression, who could we truly become? Might we soar like dragons, race through the cosmos, or even manipulate time? For Richmond-Edwards, this collection of work harnesses the energy of our past and the present, projecting a brighter, more audacious tomorrow.


Jamea Richmond-Edwards was born and raised in Detroit, MI. She graduated with a Bachelor of Art degree from Jackson State University in 2004, where she studied painting and drawing, and went on to earn an MFA from Howard University in 2012. Jamea has exhibited her artwork nationally and internationally, including at the Brooklyn Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, California African American Museum, Charles Wright Museum, and Kravets Wehby Gallery. She is a 2018 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant.

Image Credit:
Shirt with Lace Heart, 2018. Acrylic, spray paint, glitter, ink, collage on canvas. By Jamea Richmond-Edwards. Courtesy of Rubell Museum, Miami and Washington DC. Photo by Chi Lam.

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