Timothy Washington, “Energy Source (detail)” (c. 2000), mixed media assemblage, 89 x 29 x 2 inches (all images courtesy the artist and California African American Museum)

Los Angeles-based artist Timothy Washington emerged in the late 1960s as part of the Black Arts Movement, a cross-disciplinary group of artists, writers, and musicians who celebrated Black culture. He was prominently featured in Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s seminal 1971 show Three Graphic Artists, which also included Charles White and David Hammons and was one of the first major museum shows of African American artists. In the late ’70s, however, Washington turned away from his drawings and sculptures to produce assemblage works that transformed everyday detritus into fantastical, futuristic figures.

Timothy Washington working in his studio

This fall, the California African American Museum (CAAM) will debut his first installation project titled Citizen/Ship, which explores the complexity of American culture through the lens of science fiction, utopia, and mysticism. The sprawling collection of works will delve into the resilience of the Black American experience, touching on racism and violence, as well as hope and survival.

In anticipation of the exhibition, CAAM will host an Afrofuturist Block Party in Leimert Park this weekend. Afrofuturism is a cultural phenomenon that envisions a utopian future through a fusion of visionary sci-fi imagery and a celebration of Pan-African and global Black culture. It finds expression in the novels of Octavia Butler, the music of Parliament Funkadelic (and accompanying album artwork by Pedro Bell, who died yesterday), and contemporary art by Lauren Halsey and Frohawk Two Feathers. The block party will feature hands-on art workshops including a bead-making workshop that recreates the solar system as intimate pieces of jewelry. It will be held in conjunction with the 11th Annual Leimert Park Village Heritage Festival, celebrating one of LA’s richest centers of African American life.

When: Sunday, September 1, noon–5pm
Where: Leimert Park Plaza (4343 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles)

More info at California African American Museum.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.