Slavery and the effects it's had on American society have been embedded in the country since its discovery. But one ASU graduate student aims to provide an alternate ending to one of the darkest chapters in American history.
An IndigoShado Peace, curated by ASU's Theoretical Arts Club, is an Afrofuturist saga that uses a multi-platform art installation to re-imagines an alternate history in which slave rebellions around the 1500s were successful.
The creator of the installation, producersunknown, who requested we use his persona instead of his real name, is a first-year interdisciplinary arts graduate student and co-chair of the Theoretical Arts Club.
According to producersunknown, the IndigoShado saga takes place around 1492, when the first colonizers stepped foot in the Americas and when the Atlantic slave trade was happening there.
This story explores what would have happened if slaves banded together to create their own military alliances in order to fight imperialism and succeeded in doing so.
“I want this story to make people aware of how war impacts society and generations, and just how militaristic our culture is,” producersunknown said.
He said he was inspired by his cultural background and the history behind his own family tree.
“There are different geo-political policies that affect generations in massive ways,” producersunknown said. “War is obviously the main one as far as imperialism and dominance, and themes like that. Slavery was a clear example of imperialism and dominance, both under people and the system.”
An IndigoShado Peace is not a typical gallery, but instead a production that mixes different art media to convey the story and alternate universe.
From original music to sculptures and paintings, the gallery will display pieces from multiple local artists.
Angelo Chaib, a Phoenix illustrator and graphic designer, has created multiple digital illustrations, a printed piece and designed the logo for An IndigoShado Peace.
“What fascinated me most about this whole project is that it is such a multimedia showcase,” Chaib said. “He is combining digital art, printed art and he’s telling it through an immersive experience.”
He said throughout the show, different pieces will be revealed to follow the framework of the story.
Producersunknown said that live music will change throughout the performance in order to signal a new section of the installation, and help further the storyline.
He has worked with many ASU students and alumni, as well as local artists in the Phoenix area, to complete this collaborative performance.
Chaib said that being a part of the process was a rewarding experience.
“I’m really fascinated with doing these types of projects, working with different artists and collaborating with others for the purpose of sharing ideas and letting our ideas come together to create these pieces,” he said. “It goes along with a philosophy of mine that greater art comes from collaboration.”
Hussein Mohamed, an interdisciplinary arts graduate student and co-chair of the Theoretical Arts Club, said he is excited about people coming to see the project because it can serve as a place where members of the community can come together and make connections with other artists.
“It’s all about bringing ASU students and community members together in the same room to discuss the issues of post-colonialism and imperialism,” Mohamed said.
He said that the underlying message for the installation isn't only about encouraging people to come together, but doing so to bring out one another’s strengths.
“I want the students to understand that there is a sense of community beyond the University,” Mohamed said.
Ellie Borst is the executive editor of The State Press, overseeing the publication and its four departments: online, magazine, multimedia and engagement. She plans to graduate in May 2022 with her master's in legal studies and got her bachelor's in journalism in 2021. Previous roles she has held since joining SP in 2018 include digital managing editor, magazine managing editor, community and culture desk editor, and arts and culture reporter.