When the African nation of Zambia gained independence from the British Crown in 1964, it began a space program with the intention of putting the first African on the Moon. Although the program never lifted off, its ambition is celebrated in the work of Spanish artist Cristina de Middel. She has created a fictionalized account of The Afronauts with a series of photographs. Models dressed in spacesuits made of African fabrics, wearing streetlamp globes as helmets climb in and out of space capsules made of discarded concrete-mixing drums. Although almost all are shot in Spain, the staged sphere appears to be otherworldly.
If “The Astronauts” doesn’t pique your curiosity of Ms. De Middel, one of her other projects will. The “Life and Miracles of Paula P.” is a book that tells “the real story of a fake prostitute” and “Welcome” is a series of photographs that reveal the startling juxtaposition between a tourist resort and a nearby refugee camp.