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Aaron Samuel Mulenga awarded the Coha-Gunderson Prize in Speculative Futures

From the Ground Up!Ulubuto, Dimension: 180 x 130cm Medium: Acrylic and Coffee on Canvas Photo courtesy of the artist.
April 22, 2021

Aaron Samuel Mulenga (2019 cohort) has been awarded the Coha-Gunderson Prize in Speculative Futures. This award includes a prize generously made possible by UC Santa Cruz alumni James Gunderson and Peter Coha.

Aaron submitted two images as part of a planned installation featuring sculptural, visual and sonic elements. One of the images submitted is in acrylic and coffee on canvas. The project focuses on a marriage ritual among the Bemba people of Zambia called Mbusa and aims to explore the effects of African culture and technology on understandings of the world. It combines a look backward toward ancestral practices with futurist elements and especially Zambia’s Space Project of the 1960s featuring three “Afronauts.” Thus, Mulenga produces images that “allow us to imagine what the future...could look like as communities continue to communicate with the past while looking to the future.” The committee chose Mulenga’s submission for its originality, cultural relevance, and its beautiful combination of compelling images and conceptual elaboration.