African artists are pushing back against degrading images in the media by creating positive depictions of Africa for themselves. From photographers to sculptors, there is a thriving and rich art scene that is producing world-renown work with the sole purpose of changing the world’s view.
In a Monday, Dec. 26, CCTV Africa profile, Kenyan gallery curator Okwi Okoh and Nigerian spoon artist Abinoro Akporode shared that there respective roles in the new art scene compliment each other.
Akporoode sees it as a way to express himself creatively and profess his love for birds through spoon sculptures. while Okoh told CCTV Africa that he has a strong desire to change the way Westerners perceive Africa.
“Our belief is taking people and showing them in a dignified, respectful and insightful way,” Okoh explains.
Okoh’s gallery features work from photographers that want to do just that. There is an array of images that show off Nairobi’s city life and bombastic urban atmosphere. In an attempt to paint a holistic picture of the nation, photographers also captured the beautiful richness of rural people that are not what the media paints them out to be.
“We are sick and tired of seeing stereotypical photos of Africans,” Okoh continues. “We want to show people going about their lives in a triumphant way.”
Others agree. The founder of Art X, Tokini Peterside, hosted West Africa’s first international art fair in Lagos, Nigeria, showcasing the work of 65 artists working in various mediums.
“For me, the goal in doing this was to inspire, and to inspire different audiences,” Peterside says. “If I start, first of all, with the artists, professional artists of today, so many of whom complain that they are not being collected and they don’t work so easily with galleries, is to inspire them to continue to do what they do.”