The New Children’s Museum Debuts Exhibit of Science-Fiction Writer Octavia E. Butler

The New Children’s Museum of San Diego has premiered Octavia E. Butler: Seeding Futures, the first-ever exhibit for youth and multi-generational audiences focused on the life and work of American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006).

Celebrating Octavia E. Butler’s Early Influences

You’ll explore a large-scale installation inspired by Butler’s childhood influences and experiences growing up in Southern California, and features murals by collaborating artist Mithsuca Berry.

This installation imaginatively embodies the early creative influences of Butler’s early life.

You’ll be inspired to imagine your own ways of thriving in the community and how to positively shape and be shaped by the future.

Octavia E. Butler was the author of visionary works such as the bestselling present-future novel Parable of the Sower, which has been adapted into an opera by Toshi Reagon and Berenice Johnson Reagon, and the graphic novel Kindred, adapted for the small screen by FX and winning an Eisner award for the bestselling adaptation of Kindred graphic novel by Dr. Damian Duffy and John Jennings.

Most notably, Butler was the first Black woman writer to win widespread recognition in the science fiction genre. She earned the genre’s top honors and later a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (1995).

She is revered not only for her beautifully simple prose and timely stories but also for her vision of futures in which Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are change agents thriving in the community.

Her work continues to inspire generations of people from all walks of life, including authors, whom her career paved the way for, including triple-Hugo award winner N.K. Jemisin (Broken Earth Trilogy), Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz (The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone), and others.

Octavia E. Butler: Seeding Futures – A Visionary Exhibition

“The exhibition taps into what Butler would have called her ‘positive obsession’ planted in the museum’s fertile ground,” said Dr. Ayana Jamieson, founder of the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network and advising curator of Octavia E. Butler: Seeding Futures.

“We are thrilled and excited to share the beauty and ingenuity of Butler’s life and legacy with more audiences. Butler is a compelling, imaginative young person urging you to ‘write yourself in’ to the future with no closed doors.”

“To Butler, science fiction was a space for imagination ‘to look at, examine, and play with absolutely anything’ and the New Children’s Museum is the perfect place for doing this!”

Over the next two years, inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s life and writings, The New Children’s Museum will explore science fiction through large-scale installations, artist projects, community partnerships, and events that showcase how science fiction and speculative fiction offer ways for us to imagine better futures together.

Upcoming installations to accompany Seeding Futures will include works by New Mexico-based multi-disciplinary artist Cannupa Hanska Luger and New York-based artist Saya Woolfalk.

“We are privileged to have the support of our artists, partners, and the very legacy of Octavia E. Butler herself in bringing Seeding Futures to life,” said Elizabeth Yang-Hellewell, Executive Director and CEO at The New Children’s Museum.

“It is this support and their collective visions that make it possible for The New Children’s Museum to serve not just as a beloved space for young visitors in the heart of downtown San Diego but as a leading home for contemporary art.”

See you there!

The New Children’s Museum has received important planning and programming support for Octavia E. Butler: Seeding the Futures from partners including the Getty Foundation, the Prebys Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, and the City of San Diego.

The exhibit will be presented at The New Children’s Museum through late 2025.

To learn more, visit here or follow the Museum on Facebook or Instagram.

See you there, San Diego!

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