Welcome to my cave…Or ship? chariot? temple? ark?
Whatever you would like to call it, I am glad you are here! My official name is Sherese. Sometimes I called Reese. I also have a pen name Aker, which you may have seen in the title of the blog. If you do not know already, you might wonder what Aker means. Aker (Pronounced Ah-Care) is an ancient Egyptian god, represented by two lions facing back to back with the sun in the middle. The god represents yesterday, today and tomorrow, and deified the horizon. He also guarded the underworld through which the sun passed through, thus creating the night, and when it came out, the day would come. My logo is based on this representation except that the lions look more active than in the original (the reason for that is I see the past, present and future as all alive and in dialogue with one another, and their positions fit well with the logo matching my official name’s initials, S.V.F.). Also, I am a leo, so I like lions!
Why would I use Aker as the symbol for my blog? Well, I think it represents much of the mission of my blog, Futuristically Ancient, which is to explore the past, present and future cultures of the African Diaspora through an afrofuturist lens. What is afrofuturism? Several meanings exist for it, here is one on Wikipedia, but I define it as a tool or lens to explore the intersections of cultures of the African Diaspora, racial and identity politics, and speculative imaginings and possibilities. As I said in an interview, “I use it to reclaim our whole bodies (physical, mental, spiritual) through the exploration of various possible futures and presents in addition to revising or revealing (the meaning of apocalypse) various pasts of the African Diaspora, by using tropes of current speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, myths, legends, folktales, fairy tales, historical revision), magic(k), spiritual systems, science and technology.”
Two of my favorite sayings are: “We do not live in a vacuum” and “Nothing is new under the sun” (the last phrase fits with my logo). We did not come from nothing (even if it might appear that we do). The past, present and future are all connected. We are the accumulation of everything around us. Everything from religion to mythology to art and culture to politics have deeper meanings that are related to one another. This blog wants to uncover and explore what others have tried to cover up . It explores that which often is not given as much mainstream attention as well as re-examines popular ideas of ourselves through afrofuturist and other black visionary perspectives.
Below are a few articles that discuss further my thoughts:
Sherese Francis is a southeast Queens-based poet, speculative fiction writer, blogger, workshop facilitator, and literary curator. She has published and will publish work in journals and anthologies including The Pierian Literary Review, Bone Bouquet, African Voices, Newtown Literary, Blackberry Magazine, Kalyani Magazine, and Near Kin: A Collection of Words and Arts Inspired by Octavia Butler. Additionally, she has published two chapbooks, Lucy’s Bone Scrolls and Variations on Sett/ling Seed/ling. Her current projects include her Afrofuturism-inspired blog, Futuristically Ancient; and her southeast Queens based pop up bookshop/mobile library project, J. Expressions. For J. Expressions, she received a 2017 Queens Council on the Arts grant to do the Reading (W)Riting Remedy series, and was a finalist for the Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize and Queens Soup.
Key Terms of the Blog: Art and Culture of African Diaspora | Mythic and Media Literacy | Art, Media and Cultural Analysis | Afrofuturism/Black Futurism/Ethno-futurism | Afrosurrealism/Black Surrealism | Ethno-gothic | Afro-Visionary/Black Visionary