"The Great and Powerful Wiz" by Donté K. Hayes.
“The Great and Powerful Wiz” by Donté K. Hayes.

Artist Donté K. Hayes believes history does not have to be boring. The foundation of his artwork comes from his interest in history, in fact.

“History is not only about reciting important dates and influential people. History is about the stories, cultures, food and lives that connect us as human beings,” he tells Insider. “By using history, pop culture and science-fiction, I want the art to engage the viewer in a humorous yet provocative manner.”

"Brother from Another Mother-ship" by Donté K. Hayes.
“Brother from Another Mother-ship” by Donté K. Hayes.

Hayes’ latest exhibit, titled “Afrofuturist,” opens Feb. 6 at Garner Narrative. The 14 pieces in the show are a mix of painting and printmaking and encompass a critical-creative framework for the realities of African-Americans. Hayes replaces European protagonists with those of African decent, putting a spin on common scenes and visuals.

To Hayes, the term “Afrofuturist” is a word that unites people of color.

“(It’s) similar to a frequency that can move over a given space in time,” he explains. “Having African roots yet influenced by the Western European culture who bought and sold them into slavery. However, people of color are ever changing the society they live in and how they see themselves and the world around them.”

Hayes likes working with multiple media when creating his art, but for this show, he chose painting and printmaking exclusively because they enhance the content of his theme the most. “Printmaking has a strong tradition for provocative and engaging art,” he says.

"Universal Frequency" by Donté K. Hayes.
“Universal Frequency” by Donté K. Hayes.

“Afrofuturist” is Hayes’ second solo show at Garner Narrative. He says he’d like people to come away with a new appreciation of history and its many sordid stories.

“I hope people who view the show take away that history is not static — it is always revealing something new about the way we are as a society and what society may become in the future.”

Garner Narrative is located at 642 E. Market St. The opening reception will be Friday, Feb. 6, from 6-9 p.m. “Afrofuturist” continues through March 27.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."