Afrofuturist visual artists shaking today art world

« Watch tower » by Manzel Bowman, 2018.

Following my last articles on Afrofuturistic movement, it seems totally necessary to conclude this series with the enlightenment of visual afrofuturistic artists. From Pinterest to Instagram, the last months have been pretty beneficial in terms of discoveries and knowledge. So, let me introduce you to those prestigious artists : Manzel Bowman ; Ataulie ; Lina Iris Viktor ; Osborne Macharia ; Cyrus Kabiru and Jessi Jumanji

But before we start I have to remind you what Afrofuturism is. As I have explained in my article on the marvellous book « Afrofuturism :The Black sci fi and Fantasy Culture« by Ytasha.L.Womack, Afrofuturism is a gate to black people’s imagination. It allows black people, afrodescendants or africans to explore themselves in a close or far future, with or without boundaries and racial wounds. This is a consecration article to skilled Afrofuturist visual artists. 

1. THE CELEST : MANZEL BOWMAN

« Sublime Intervention » by Manzel Bowman, 2019

Manzel Bowman is a New York native. The artist is purely a worthy representative of an afrofuturist artist. His artworks magically mix the past, the present and the future. Manzel Bowman‘s art magnified the multitude existence of black people and afrodescendents in the entire world. From East Africans tribes to Afro Americans political figures, Bowman artworks reimagine today’s societies, people in intergalactic and celestial fronts and environnements. By the use of collages, the artist has managed to create his own artistic world, a supernatural and metaphysical one where time eras and planets collide. Bowman’s art also includes mystical figures, close to astrology. Each one of his pieces articulates a mind travel and especially a time travel, giving a sublime hope about black people in a fantastic future, still being their spectacular selves. 

« Dark Trove » by Manzel Bowman, 2018.

I highly recommend you to follow Manzel Bowman on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/artxman/.

2. THE MYSTICAL : ATAULIE

« SARAVA IANSA », by Atauliê, 2016.

The Brazilian artist Atauliê is quite singular. His craft is primarily based on Brazilian people, black Brazilian people. From Orishas to personified water spirit (mami water), Atauliê is paying homage to the afro Brazilian culture. The artist distinguishes himself from those white lines which accompany the images and people’s physical figures or auras. Those white lines and geometrical forms can remind us of the use of paints or natural pigments on many African societies and tribes, draw on the bodies or for ceremonials events. Atauliê also draws those lines on famous people such as Beyoncé or Games of Thrones‘ characters. Ataulie‘s art is uncommon and unique. It’s mystical and real. 

Unnamed, 2019.

Follow Ataulie on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ataulie/

3. THE SCULPTURAL : LINA IRIS VIKTOR

« Yaa Asantewaa » by Lina Iris Viktor, 2018.

The British and Liberian artist is a prodigious painter and visual artist. Lina Iris Viktor with those golden forms and royal black women, is enlightening a part of West African art and visual creativity. The mojo of Lina Iris Viktor is those sublime walls made of different fabrics and mainly in gold paint and leaves. Those golden walls remind us of Nubian and Ancient Egypt mural decorations. The artist is putting up black women, African women, giving them a divine place by being the center of it. The artist frequently paints herself, to remember her place and her status as a majestic figure. Like mother goddesses, the women captured in Lina Iris Viktor‘s art embody grace, royalty and charisma. Lina Iris Viktor‘s creative world uplifts the present and the past by giving it a taste of a flourishing and precious future. Lina Iris Viktor‘s work has unfortunately been used without permission for the Black Panther movie album in 2018, particularly in the « All the Stars » video clip with Kendrick Lamar and SZA. This controversy is un umpteenth proof of how African artists can be minimized and used freely by a bigger system especially Hollywood. Lina Iris Viktor sacralized many actual West Africans visual cultures, with fierce and authenticity. 

An image from the website It’s nice that, comparing on the left a pic from the « All the stars » video clip in 2018 and on the right, a part of the « Altar Triptych » artwork by Lina Iris Viktor, 2016

Don’t forget to follow Lina Iris Viktor on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/linairisviktor

4. THE FANTASTIC : OSBORNE MACHARIA

« Chichi » by Osborne Macharia, 2019.

Osborne Macharia is a Kenyan and Canadian photographer and visual artist. With his spectacular portraits, Osborne Macharia is excelling in the art world. His photographs defy photogaphy and graphic limits. The essence of Osborne Macharia is people’s everyday life. From young women to old men and even animals, the photographer’s vision reunites different types of beings. The artist is clearly an afrofuturist. The colors, the context, the costumes and accessories are propulsing each picture in a futurist world. This futurist world gives space to everybody and mostly black people of whichever ethnicity or personality. One of the most fabulous art series of Osborne Macharia are those little characters, who remind me of Arthur and the Minimoys creatures. 

This crew of retired post-colonial aeronautic engineers called Gikosh, as the description says, is typically an extraversion and a depiction of what Afrofuturism is. This fantastic crew exemplifies the past, the painful past of colonialism and a group of elders who is trying to thrive and live in a dissolute space world. Other than this, Osborne Macharia‘s art highlights current people, by giving them a divine spectrum of themselves. From an urban background to the desert, Osborne Macharia is able to adapt no matter the context and the environment. His creative world has a lot of red, warm colors and a touch of dystonia.

« Under the African stars » series, by Osborne Macharia, 2019.

Of course, you can find Osborne Macharia on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/osborne_macharia/

5. THE CRAFTMAN CYRUS KABIRU

The Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru is one of a kind. Among all the things I saw in my life, Cyrus Kabiru‘s art is priceless and beyond creativity. The artist has made his reputation through the years, thanks to his illustrious glasses. The bravest part of his creations is that it mostly came from trash and used materials. Cyrus Kabiru revives old things and places them in a visionary context. Cyrus Kabiru‘s glasses give us Mad Max movies vibes or even Steampunk flashbacks and so an Afro Surrealist style.  They are more than glasses, they can be masks or facial barriers. They’re astonishing visual masterpieces, in multiple metals and materials, created to provoke and differ. Cyrus Kabiru sculptural glasses are pure technological objects, calling us to project us in what the future of fashion could be, a fashion world which could focus itself into recycling and green energies. Cyrus Kabiru reminds us that the future is already around us, we just have to create and put it in work. 

Don’t forget to follow Cyrus Kabiru on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ckabiru/

6. THE RESEARCHER : JESSI JUMANJI

Jessica Lofton aka Jessi Jumanji art works are direct blinks to anthropology. The Afro american artist is doing a real historical work. She’s matching the past and the present, which presents us new ways of thinking and relate to ourselves. With her digital collages, Jessi Jumanji is calling the entire world to admire black people, africans and afrodescendants. Beyond her art, Jessi Jumanji is a real activist who is not afraid to denounce and call things as they are. Her Instagram page is making the link between Afro americans and ancient africans. By comparing the facial features, the mimics, Jessi Jumanji is celebrating what it feels like to be black. She is creating a futurist spectrum with old treasures and artefacts. Jessi Jumanji is showing how black people have always been different, magical and authentic. 

Follow Jessi Jumanji on Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/jessijumanji/

I hope you enjoyed this article. These artists are the ultimate proof that Afrofuturism is a multilateral and multi form artistic movement, which can be used in different ways. It’s a heterogene movement which centralizes its force into black people’s imagination, in the entire world. Of course, Afrofuturism doesn’t affect us and make us forget today’s tragedies and injustices concerning darker skinned people in the entire world. But it will always be a gate to escape infinitely.  

Follow me on Instagram : @pointzeroworld – POINT ZERO WORLD.

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