DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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In Photos: “Family Album” by Mamaki Rakotsoana.

This series of images by South African photographer Mamaki Rakotsoana is a project in which she took her deceased father’s photographs and reproduced them in a manner that investigates her relationship to him, as well as his relationship to the women in his life.

South African ultra-customiser, illustrator and graphic designer Atang Tshikare.

Longboard decks and sneakers customised by Bloemfontein-born South Africa graphic designer, illustrator, graffiti artist, customiser and founder of Zabalazaa, Atang Tshikare.

Atang has customised and illustrated on various mediums and items, from canvas boards and furniture, to sneakers and bicycles. 

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All Africa, All the time.

A poignant and striking digital collage piece by Prisco III on African (im)migration that hits where it hurts and speaks to the heart.

(submitted by abidjanaise)

Nandipha Mntambo - “Praça de Touros" (2008).

Shot in the now abandoned Praça de Touros arena in Maputo where black Mozambicans once fought for the entertainment of the colonial Portuguese, Mntambo rehearses the steps and takes on the persona of a professional bullfighter - a role usually reserved for men.

Where no animal is present, Mntambo dons an animal hide on her back suggesting that in the absence of an actual bull, she is both the fighter and the victim, the hunter and the hunted, both the fear and the feared in a scenario where neither occupant had agency over their being in the ring and the consequence of what lay ahead. 

About the cowhide, Nandipha says, “I have used cowhide as a means to subvert expected associations with corporeal presence, femininity, sexuality and vulnerability.”

Nandipha Mntambo was born in Swaziland in 1982 but grew up in Johannesburg. She obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town in 2007, and in 2011, she was chosen as the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art .

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tobia:

I have some drawings exhibiting in “southXeast: contemporary southeastern art" a group show at Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. The exhibition, housed in the Schmidt Center Gallery, will be on view from February 22nd through March 27th.

Anyone traveling to Florida or is around such whereabouts should definitely check it out. As always, thanks so much for the support!

(via foxxxynegrodamus)

tobia:

Toyin Odutola
An Undoing
(2014)

"An Undoing" is series of drawings which form an animated GIF, created in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios’ THE ART ASSIGNMENT project, where each artist participating creates an art assignment for the viewers and themselves to participate in.

The “assignment” proposed for "An Undoing" involved creating a piece which articulated something (or someone) intimate to oneself and to draw it out (with whatever means) in a series of frames to form a GIF.

Art by Michael Soi.  

"Girlfriend" by Kenyan artist Michael Soi.

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All Africa, All the time.

Art - Diaspora: “African Diva Project" by Margaret Rose Vendreyes.

If any of the above images look in any way familiar, that’s because these artworks are based on some of the most iconic album covers from some of the greatest black women artists of the 20th century.

From Betty Davis and Tina Turner, to Grace Jones and Nina Simone, this series by Jamaican-born Vendreyes includes 33 paintings modeled after a 12” LP full-figure portrait of a black woman soloist. What makes this project stand out, however, is not simply the homage to these legendary women, but the masks that each woman wears. Named after specific African ethnic groups such as Malinke, Ibibio, Kwele and Yoruba, Vendreyes combines the beauty and power of these women with the same characteristics in these masks, “replacing their psychological mask with a literal one”.

This symbolic gesture also plays on the fact that in many African societies, although these masks may be of female ancestors and deities, they are only worn and performed by men during masquerades. 

What are your thoughts on this series?

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All Africa, All the time.

Documentary: “Lagos in the Red”.

Made by Danish filmmakers Lotte Løvholm, Karen Andersen & Nanna Nielsen, Lagos in the Red follows Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku. Atiku uses his body as a prop as a means of sensitizing people to the problems that Nigeria - both as a people and a country - face. 

This documentary particularly focuses on his performance ‘Red Light’ which he performs in Ejigbo, the neighborhood he was born and raised in. The color red in his performance symbolizes ‘life, violence, energy and the essence of human life”.

Once a fine arts student, Atiku is an art teacher in Lagos who stresses the importance of are as a symbolic tool, far above monetary value, used to communicate one’s emotions, preserve culture and history, as well as raising consciousness among people - especially in a country like Nigeria.

Related post: “Why don’t South Africans like performance art?

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All Africa, All the time.

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE currently has a solo show at Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation—the museum’s first contemporary commission in over 80 years.

In this feature about him in the WSJ, he talks about his upbringing in both Nigeria and England, as well as the incident that prompted him into exploring the symbolism of Holland-produced batik textile designs that have now become synonymous with ‘African fashion’. 

The son of a Nigerian lawyer, Shonibare was born in London and raised both there and in Lagos. “I’m the elite in Nigeria,” he says. “Coming here, I didn’t feel any different. But there is a perception that if you’re of a totally different race, you’re possibly of a different class.” Still, his interests lay miles from the working-class consciousness of artists like Hirst and Emin; nor was he especially eager to contribute to the political-protest art prevalent among some black English artists at the time. 

In art school, he happened on to a medium that focused his interests. Challenged by a teacher to produce a so-called “authentic African artwork,” Shonibare visited a market in London to study what he’d always assumed to be African textiles, only to learn that the batiks were actually European: Since the mid-19th century they had been mass-produced in Holland, initially for the Indonesian market, and exported to Africa. “I found that more interesting than being authentic,” he says. Their lush colors and patterns also offered Shonibare, known as something of a bon vivant, the opportunity to explore beauty and extravagance. “I didn’t see aesthetic pleasure as purely a domain of the white male,” he says. “I thought I could occupy that space while challenging it as well.”

Shonibare also talks about his recently launched Guests Project Africa initiative aimed at “promoting avant-garde African art forms, from visual art and fashion to music and spoken word.”

Read more.

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ART: Jamilla Okubo.

If her name sounds in any way familiar, it might be because you saw this work of hers posted previously on Dynamic Africa. If not, the above images should surely make her name and artwork identifiable to you in the future. 

Okubo is an up-and-coming textile design artist whose work expands into paintings, garment designs, illustrations and more.

Fancy her work? Why not own it (or gift it)! If it’s pillow cases you want, iPad and laptop skins, framed artwork, clothing or mugs - her work is all for sale in these various mediums.

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All Africa, All the time.

DYNAMIC AFRICANS: ‘2ManySiblings’ - Papa Petit & Velma Rossa.

Images of the stylish and highly creative Kenyan brother and sister team Papa Petit and Velma Rossa, who operate under the partnership title ‘2ManySiblings’, have been make frequent rounds on my tumblr dashboard for quite some time now - much to my delight.

As frequent submitters to Dynamic Africa, I’ve been intrigued about the personalities behind their breathtaking photographs since I first became aware of their blog a couple of months ago. Feeling inspired by their work, I recently chatted to the eclectic proudly Kenyan, proudly African duo and got to know more about them, their influences and how this project of theirs came about.

Briefly tell us a little about yourselves:

Velma Rossa: Hi, we are 2manysiblingsPapa Petit and I, brother & sister style and art enthusiasts from Kenya. I work for a styling management company which has also exposed me to an ethical fashion mission that helps poor communities be sustainable through international fashion projects.

Papa Petit: I am a personal wardrobe stylist & shopper. I have a Lux T-shirt design project on the side too.

You both come across as highly creative individuals, merging photography and fashion which you showcase wonderfully on your blog. What led you two to these artistic disciplines?

V.R: Be eccentric now,don’t wait for old age to wear Purple!

I can comfortably say that our youth and fashion curiosities pushed us to start this blog. It is a fun project, a visual space for us to document our style and daily lives, as well as a way to let people into our little African world and collaborate with various Kenyan photographers to showcase their talent.

How long have you each been involved in fashion, styling and photography? Do you plan on making this a profession (if it isn’t already)?

P.P: Velma has been involved in fashion longer than I have, about five years now. Heck she was my personal inspiration into this art form.

We only just started playing with the camera recently - there is so much beauty out there and we want to frame all of it!

Fashion and styling is already a profession for us we can only wait to see where photography will take us.

How is working with each other? Is this something that happened naturally or did you decide to collaborate for other/specific reasons?

V.R: We are very lucky to have similar ideas and ways of thinking when doing projects for our blog. It’s like we missed our calling to be TWINS, haha!

The work dynamic between us pretty much comes naturally as we both creatively come up with concepts for shoots and direction: though I tend to be the clown and my brother, he is more of a mentalist.

When creating your looks/styling yourselves & taking these images, how conscious of you of your heritage as Kenyans, and as Africans in the greater sphere of things? How would you each describe your aesthetics?

P.P: We each have a personal aesthetic when it comes to dressing. I am more of  dandy punk and Velma, Hobo Afro-chic.

We are proud of our Kenyan heritage and we subtly show this through our choice of accessories which we source from local craftsmen from the Maasai Markets to support the crafts & artisan industry in Kenya.Their accessories are both contemporary and timeless.

Africa is so rich in culture and scenic landscapes.We try to share these aspects of Africa through locations we pick for shoots. Kenya is known for growing high grade tea which we export and in one of our favorite projects yet, we worked with photographer Sarah Marie at the Limuru tea plantations to capture that heritage.

Finally, who and/or what inspires you, creatively speaking?

P.P: Inspiration comes to us in all forms.We are influenced by 70’s Afrobeat music, art, architecture, culture and colours of food - not to mention our dad’s old photo albums. His clothes had English sensibilities.

All these together offer something that feeds our creative hunger.

Taking road trips across our country, stopping in little towns, seeing what’s happening there and discovering something new inspire more concepts for our blog projects.

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Karen Walker collaborates with local Kenyan artisans for UN initiative.

Noted New Zealand eyewear designer Karen Walker recently teamed up with the United Nations’ International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, collaborating with local artisans in Kenya to make unique screenprinted and beaded pouches for her Summer 2014 collection.

The campaign, photographed by Derek Henderson, also features some of the individuals who made these pouches including machinists, cutters, tailors, production managers, metal workers and members of the Maasai group who created the beading work, modelling the collection. The workshop took place in Waithaka, a small village 20 minutes from Nairobi.

When I first saw this campaign and the design of the sunglasses, the first thing that came to mind was Cyrus Kabiru and his incredible c-stunners. Would’ve been fantastic had he and Walker collaborated on a range of exclusive eyewear.

The sunglasses range will be available in February.

Read more about the initiative.

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All Africa, All the time.