AFRICA’S CREATIVE REVOLUTION: Changing The African Narrative

‘Africa ain’t no jungle. This is a Revolution and Creativity is our weapon.’ That’s just one of the many quotes that will jump out at you when you visit the One Source LIVE website. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a ‘festival of African creativity that will take place in Johannesburg on 24th March (that’s tomorrow)’. Essentially, it’s celebrating the best music, fashion and art from across the continent. But there’s a little twist to this event that makes it extraordinary and frankly, a movement that has been a long time coming. Realising that Africa is amid a Creative Revolution, Absolut wanted to celebrate a new breed of musicians, artists and fashion designers that are helping to shape the way the world sees Africa. They chose to do so through the Africa on Fire film, the One Source LIVE festival and The African Art Intervention:

 

Africa On Fire

 

Africa On Fire was shot in Ghana and was directed by Sunu Gonera from Egg films. The four-minute film depicts creative revolutionaries as superheroes armed with their art form as their superpower. The superhero avatars were inspired by Africa’s mythology, its history, and its bright future. South African rappers Khuli Chana and Sho Madjozi star as The Dragon and The Rain Queen respectively. while the last three characters are photographers from the continent. Trevor Stuurman (SA) is The Explorer, Fabrice Monteiro (Senegal-Benin) is The Iron Warrior; and Osborne Macharia (Kenya) is The Eye. The three will also have installations at the event tomorrow, but you can watch their ‘behind the scenes’ commentaries from the film:

Trevor Stuurman

 

Fabrice Monteiro

 

Osborne Macharia

 

The African Art Intervention

This is your call to action. If you tried to look for “African Art’ through your favourite search engine or stock image platforms, you’d probably get stereotypical images of how the international community views art from the continent; that is, highly curio and crafty oriented. But what if we could change the way African creativity is portrayed online? The African Art Intervention is a movement that wants to make that a reality. According to Iris Le Berg, Global Marketing Manager at The Absolut Company,  “The internet is the primary source of information for billions of people around the world. Images people see online about Africa affect their perception and attitude toward the continent and its people. We believe that by changing the predominant images people see, we can affect their attitude too.

 

Here’s how it works, when you go to the One Source LIVE website, you’ll find a considerable catalogue of contemporary images. Some of the artists featured include Chris Suander, Victor Peace, Jean-claude Moschetti, Ruth Ossai, Helen Venus Bushfires, Kudzanai Chiurai, Mary Sibande, Yay Abe, Laolu Senbanjo, Spoek Mathambo, among others. Your job is simply to Up-vote the art you want the world to see. Click on an image and like it by selecting the ‘thumbs up’ icon. The idea is that the more likes an image get, the more likely it will be to see it as one of Googles top suggestions when you search for African Art. You can do it multiple times and rope in your community to join the creative revolution too; the more the merrier.

The Vibrant Otherwordly Masqueraders of Burkina Faso 2013 by Jean-claude Moschetti
african-art-manthe-ribane-la-vilette-2017-aprjpg Chris Saunders
Manthe Ribane la vilette 2017 by Chris Saunders
The Uncultured Club by Yay Abe, Manthe Ribane Collaboration
Untitled 1 2016 by Maurice Mbikayi
Spoek by Chris Saunders
Manthe Ribane 2016 by Chris Saunders

 

Body Art 2 Series 2017 by Laolu Senbanjo
Admiration of The Purple Figure 2013 by Mary Sibande

 

Own your search engine

The event brings a strong point home, that we can do something to change the reflection the world sees. While you can start by voting on the website, artists can do their due diligence to ensure their images rank on the first pages of Google searches. Areas of focus include image filename, alt tag and supporting text.  Giving your image a filename makes it searchable since computers and search engines can’t interpret photographs for themselves. Therefore, incorporate the target keywords into the filename separated by dashes. For example, africaart-Spoek-by-Chris-Saunders. The Alt or alternative tag gives the description of what the image is about, further defining itself to search engines. It will often appear in place of an image that is having a  bit of trouble rendering.  Lastly, the supporting text is the captions you’d add before and after the picture. While you can do without this step, it does help with improving your ranking. A bonus tip would be the size factor. Search engines will give priority to pages that load quickly. That being said, you shouldn’t use pixelated images. Instead use dimensions that work well with website requirements.

La Viie Est Belle Music Video 2015 by Petite Noir

 

While we all can’t be at the festival tomorrow, we can definitely get involved by going to OneSourceLive.com and start liking. #Jointherevolution

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