Li Sumpter

The Afronaut

Li Sumpter, Ph.D. is a multidisciplinary artist and independent scholar who applies strategies of world-building and mythic design toward building better, more resilient communities of the future. Li’s creative research and collaborative design initiatives engage the art of survival and sustainability through diverse ecologies and immersive stories of change. Li is a cultural producer and eco-arts activist working through MythMedia Studios, the Escape Artist Initiative and various arts and community-based organizations in Philly and across the country. She holds an MA in Art and Humanities Education from NYU and a MA/Ph.D. in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Li has been a visiting professor at Haverford College and Moore College of Art and Design and has taught special topics for youth and adult courses at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Barnes Foundation and Fleisher Art Memorial. She has completed various Philly-based residences for arts and technology, arts and ecology and the literary arts and will begin her term as Afrofuturist-in-Residence with the Village of Arts and Humanities Fall 2022. Li is a recipient of the 2018 Sundance Institute and Knight Alumni grant, a 3-time recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant, a 2020 recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award, a 2022 recipient of the Velocity Fund, a 2022 Afrofuturist-in-Residence with the Village of Arts and Humanities, and a 2022 Leeway Media Artist x Activist-in-Residence with the Theatre in the X.

The Afronaut is not from this world and sees life on this planet through very different eyes. They are awkward and out of place on Earth and demonstrate otherworldly sensibilities informed by knowledge and wisdom unlike our own. The Afronaut represents a higher destiny, the transcendence of the spirit to new dimensions of time and space. Through The Afronaut comes the promise of exploration beyond life as we know it. We are connected to an ancient future that began and is reborn in the infinite darkness and light of the cosmos.