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Emily and Daughter offers a figure for understanding the texture and tone of Afrosurrealism. Afrosurrealism is like this photograph, invented, found. An ordinary thing, the studio portrait—or is it a snapshot—repurposed as an art object? Afrosurrealism is art with skin on it where the texture of the object tells its story, how it weathered burial below consciousness, and how it emerged somewhat mysteriously from oceans of forgotten memories and discarded keepsakes. This photograph figures Afrosurrealism as bluesy, kinky-spooky. Lushly imperfect, it makes you look at it so you can’t see no way around it. You cannot see through it completely. It is not over-the-top. No wild colors. Not always or intentionally a muchness encrusted in fantasy and performance in an obvious way, Afrosurrealism whispers earthy, feels made by hand, layered with histories. The familiar and unfamiliar rock back and forth across it. Afrosurrealism negotiates incongruities. The erotics of the found object recast as art. The rupture wrought when the forgotten returns. [End Page 94]
Terri Francis developed her Afrosurrealism project while she was a film studies and African American studies professor at Yale University. Currently, Francis is a visiting associate professor of cinema studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is about what’s absurd, marvelous, and sublime in African Diaspora cinemas.