Presented by Omari Souza
For members of the African diaspora, Design and other methods of creative expression have been an exploration of the trauma of our abduction and continental separation. Although the labor and bodies of slaves assisted in furthering the wealth of western society, the economic, cultural, and technological contributions of those slaves and their descendants have often been omitted from Western history books. Furthermore, poor record-keeping during African captivity has made it impossible for most to make any valid claim to specific cultural African linage. We have simultaneously been rendered less American due to the captive status of our Ancestors and less African due to the same captivity. But how does this reality evolve once humans are capable of living off-planet? Omari's research interest is to explore how life in space will impact the creative expressions of people of color. This presentation will pose “what if” questions predicated on using our medium to challenge what is and how we might influence a better future through the strength of our design solutions. With influences of post-colonist writings from Franz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, and Edward Said to speculate how an African-Lunar Design aesthetic could be utilized to challenge how we challenge the colonial lens.
About Omari Souza
Omari is an assistant professor in the Communication Design program at Texas State University. He is the organizer of the State of Black Design Conference (online, April 2021). He previously organized and hosted a multipanel event titled "The State of Black Design" (online, Sept. 2020), which drew a live audience of 2,071 — the second-largest Livestream audience for an educational event in Texas State's history. Omari is a first-generation American of Jamaican descent, raised in the Bronx, New York. Before arriving at Texas State, he gained work experience with companies and institutions such asVIBEmagazine, the buffalo News, CBS Radio, and Case Western Reserve University. He earned a BFA in Digital Media from Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA in Design from Kent State University. Omari's research explores the idea of perceptions and how visual narratives influence culture — how we view ourselves and others around us.