Monochrome Lagos, and other West African Creatives to Watch
A few years back, it was said that Africa’s creative economy was like a sleeping giant. That may have been, but the giant’s awake – and woke – to the fact that the vast digital presence of young African artists is fuelling new and dynamic takes on humour, politics, fact, fiction, sexuality, satire, fantasy, technology, innovation, imagination and much much more.
From the visible hits of Instagram to filtered film clips on YouTube, the digital podiums for showcasing visual ideas and experiences have become energised by the uploaded work of artists, thinkers and adventurers who are remixing ideas of creativity across platforms and genres, some subtly, some politically – much of it brash, sassy and savvy – but all of it deserving to be shouted about.
This curated selection of some of the most striking digital art and artists coming out of Africa exposes a world that contains movement makers, pivotal names and vital collectives.
What’s clear is that the ideas that inhabit these platforms are just the modest tip of an ever-evolving iceberg of activity that’s as deep as it is wide. With new and established African and Africa-based artists reacting to their immediate and to global locations, the abundance of sharp, edgy, smart or whimsical content exists as a dynamic source of delight, surprise and aesthetic invention, fuelling a rich eco-system of bold and digitally borderless artistic expression.
Below is a (very partial) list of some creators to watch from West Africa.
See our other regional lists here:
Bright Ackwerh (featured above): 26-year-old, Ghanaian artist based in Accra and with a background of street art and graffiti.
Nana Kofi Acquah: Ghanaian photographer behind a series of projects including The Net Girls featuring street hawkers sell whose colourful nets and bathing sponges are used in an haute couture style fashion shoot.
Ley Uwera: Freelance photojournalist based in Goma, Uwera uses her talents as a photographer documents the social and cultural evolution of east Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Monochrome Lagos: Lagos as muse; stripped down, black and white and in all its beauty.
AW-CA (featured above): A creative representation agency with an architectural take on art, design and creativity wit evens taking place at the White Space physical hub spot.
Mesh Creative Platform: A collective of young Ghanaians with combined skills in creative writing, photography, videography and social media.
Playable City (featured above): An initiative aimed at “re-using city infrastructure and re-appropriating smart city technologies to create connections”.
Innovation – Architecture – Design
Damola Rufai (featured above): Designer and manufacturer of the glass and steel ‘Esho table’ collection.
Archidatum: ‘Design at the Cradle of Mankind’
Etejo (featured above): A platform for photographers and photojournalists interested in sharing and exploring everyday stories in Africa through beautiful photo essays.
This digital gallery was curated as an accompaniment to The Arts Forum – and event hosted in April 2017 by the Royal African Society and the British Council to discuss and share experiences of presenting contemporary African art to UK and international audiences. This is part of a strategic partnership between the two organisations, aimed at increasing networks and sharing knowledge, expertise and connections between the UK and African countries.