Surrealism seen through a Black British lens, at the Horniman

An Ode to Afrosurrealism, a new photographic art exhibition (opening 17 October) at the Horniman, explores contemporary relationships with spiritualism, reality and surrealism, through a Black British lens.

The 25-strong photo series is the first collaboration between artist photographers Hamed Maiye and Adama Jalloh, bringing together their interests in surrealism, mythology, identity and symbolism.

The exhibition highlights in particular the spiritual bond between twins and the meaning of the number 2 – images of twins are used throughout the series to show the mirroring of reality and surrealism, symbolising union and division. An Ode to Afrosurrealism also aims to inspire younger artists to consider different ways of creating art by looking outside the usual canon of spiritual iconography.

In this photo series we pay homage to Afrosurrealism, a visual and literary movement which considers what lies beyond the visible and material world, exploring the reality of the present and creating art that expresses the “otherworldly”. We use Afrosurrealism as a visual framework, drawing on mythology and symbolism, as well as our personal experiences as artists, to present new ways to imagine spiritual identity.
Hamed Maiye
With a history of our stories being told for us and that still being an underlying issue now, Afrosurrealism feels like another way to combat that but also giving freedom in a broader way on how we choose to display our narratives.
Adama Jalloh

Afrosurrealism is a visual and literary movement that uses the surreal and otherworldly to visualise the present. It was formally established as a visual and literary movement in 2009 through the publication of D. Scot Miller’s AfroSurreal Manifesto. This has contextualised work being produced by Afrosurreal artists and writers since the 1970s.

The opening of An Ode to Afrosurrealism is part of the Horniman’s celebration of Black History Month and the 60th anniversary of Nigerian Independence.

Hamed Maiye and Adama Jalloh’s incredible visual work speaks for itself on issues of representation, spirituality and personal experience. It feels vital to be able to show it in a museum context, where speaking on behalf of others has historically been so central.
Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, Deputy Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman

An Ode to Afrosurrealism opens on 17 October 2020 and is free to visit. Free entry tickets to the Horniman must be booked in advance at