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AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

November 28th, 2013
The Afropolitan Must Go

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My first thought when reading Taiye Selasi's 2005 essay ‘Bye-Bye Barbar’ (or ‘What is an Afropolitan?’) was that this is the kind of sludge that would piss off Binyavanga Wainaina. One quick google and lo and behold: “For Wainaina, Afropolitanism has become the marker of crude cultural commodification -- a phenomenon increasingly ‘product driven,’ design focused, and ‘potentially funded by the West.’” My second thought when reading Taiye Selasi's ‘What is an Afropolitan?’, gesturing wildly at my MacBook in my local coffee shop, is that this is the kind of sludge that pisses me off.…[ read more ]

I love the way that Nigerian photographer Akinbode Akinbiyi works. I mean his approach to photography and the way that he uses his camera. At least in the video below, he's shooting with a Rollei Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera, using the sports finder. That immediately makes him one of my favorite photographers. I adore Rollei TLRs, and it's tremendous fun to use the sports finder. The technique, like the camera itself, went out of fashion in the early '60s, except among fans and eccentrics. (I'm both, I'll admit.)…[ read more ]

As history and our collective experience reveals, so much of a photograph’s meaning is not captured within its frame. What is not confined to the frame is the social environment within which the image was created. This social context can profoundly affect the way we experience and interpret images and shouldn’t be forgotten, particularly with …[ read more ]

Schoonmaker: When did you start to see work by African artists that you did respond to? Was that in New York? Mutu: In New York, ironically, you know, in the early ’90s. Richard Onyango, one of Kenya’s big painters, was one of the first shows I saw.…[ read more ]

The Sahara is changing fast. Still a beautiful desert but not just that. Most populated cities such as Tamanrasset or Timbuktu are microcosms that reveal all the problems of those former touristic regions: threats of terrorism, trafficking, illegal migration and pressures on cultural and natural heritages. The only ways to escape this harsh reality for Saharan and Tuareg youth are cybercafés, mobile phone culture, festivals and soirées guitare ("guitar evenings") celebrating their guitar heroes, the "Ishumar", such as Tinariwen, Terakaft, Tamikrest, Bombino and many other bands. In their songs they celebrate the link between desert nature, old poetry, and of course women, whose role is essential in their society. Some texts may seem like calls for rebellion, but mainly those are calls for a self-consciousness as a people, of their identities.…[ read more ]

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