Essentially African — The narrative of African excellence.
Posted on Tuesday, July 31 2018 02:08:00 AM in PRESS by Wongani Botha
The narrative of African excellence.
—As far as clarity goes, being essentially African is probably the most accurate way to describe how I view myself. Let me unpack this.
Historically, the word contemporary or modern has been used to describe a collective of sorts which aggregate concepts and expressions that in turn represent western art forms. However, these aggregations happened also during a time when art forms were mutually exclusive to what was then known as “tribal” or “ethnic” art forms; that were used to express African concepts.
“Contemporary Art is, by its very nature, fluid, self-motivated and resists classification.”
I read this somewhere and strongly agree! Today, contemporary is a moment’s definition; describing anything that belonging to or occurs in the present time. When it comes to art, it becomes very difficult to classify what contemporary art is.
So what then is the identity of an African artist who has embraced the two worlds—tribal and contemporary? This artist would practice what is commonly known as Contemporary African Art. Albeit, keep in mind that this art form represents a vast range of views happening all over the diaspora.
“To be Essentially African is to embrace contemporary African art; to dare to stand out in a contemporary world while expressing the best in tribal art.”
My contribution to this is to create a profound way to represent African fashion styles in a way that makes it easy for you to be Essentially African—to be inspired by African art, spirit, and culture and to be composed in a manner that provokes modern day stigma of African standards.