Connecting Creative Communities

Bringing together digital artists from Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.

In October 2018, nine selected digital artists met in Maputo, Mozambique.

This was part of ColabNowNow, a partnership between Maputo Fast Forward & British Council, connecting the creative communities of Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK.

The project inspired collaboration between artists from East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and the UK.

Over ten days, the nine artists brought their work - representing the best in African and UK digital practice today - to Maputo where they collaborated to create the projects you see below.

Scroll down to find out more.

Each project saw input from two or more artists working with video, photography, drawing, programming, audio recording, performance, and interactive displays.

East African Creatives

Valarie Amani cuts a pattern for her coat.

Watani and the Magic Portrait – Valerie Amani

“Fufuka, meaning rise again (resurrected) in Swahili, is a visual series inspired by a mixture of cultural beliefs of an afterlife intertwined with my own understanding of life and death. The video and images contain various symbolism in both western and African practices at funerals.”

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Mtaani maskani - Andrew Munuwa

“Mtaani, Maskani loosely translates to the streets, the home The project was to celebrate the contemporary urban culture and life within the African cities through photography and poetry by Tanyaradzwa Chitunhu and Hakeem Adam.”

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Southern African Creatives

Nikiwe uses a straw hat as a template for her hair-hat.

Maputo City - Nilton Mungamba

“I made an interactive application using the illustrations I designed with the help of the artist Will Hurt, who helped me with the coding of the app and interactivity. Since the topic was based in the city I live in, people automatically understood and connected to the work.”

See Nilton’s illustrations mapped out in an interactive programme made in collaboration with Will Hurt.

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Assimilado – Maxwell Mutanda

“The mural questions Institutionalised Ethnicity – the pattern and consequences of using ethnic categories, particularly by national states around the world. Hair is chosen as a means of relating the Mozambican struggle to that of other Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.”

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Architecture of time (past, present and future) told through Hair Art - Nikiwe Dlova

“The headpiece/ hair art crown was inspired by the past, present and future of hair. I showcased the past by braiding the headpiece since it’s an old hairstyle technique which we still do today and we’re definitely going to do it in the future.”

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West African Creatives

Afopefuluwa’s work explores the relationship between women and their bodies.

Negative Space in A Positive Light – Hakeem Adam

“The works are inspired by the Islamic philosophy of Jihad, which literally translates as to ‘engage in struggle’. The work takes you through the internal struggle the artists goes through and how creating work is the perfect remedy for surviving the feelings of drowning that can be.”

Watch Hakeem's video

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Vertigo: in whom the goddess shines – Afopefoluwa Ojo

“Vertigo: in whom the goddess shines is a generative art piece which explores the relationship a woman has with her body, her reproduction, her fertility, her sex or the lack of it. It interrogates the dynamics a woman navigates to learn about herself.”

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United Kingdom Creatives

Will studies the growth of tropical creepers in Maputo for his interactive program.

Botanical Geometries – Will Hurt

“Botanical Geometries was made in response to the multiple visual layers that saturate Maputo’s urban scene. Walls and fences layer up against vegetation which in turn occludes irregularly structured buildings. The buildings often display a further layer of bold rectilinear patterned tiles harking back to Maputo’s colonial past.”

Botanical Geometries is a fully interactive work - watch it in action!

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The African Time Capsule – Tanyaradzwa Chitunhu

“The poems look at issues of African identity and pride, African innovation, political activism and migration and displacement. The work is to help people to examine what is happening on the continent and in the diaspora for African millennials and how that is shaping them for the future."

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The Exhibition

The nine day residency in Maputo culminated in the nine creatives presenting their work in an exhibition open to the public in Maputo Mozambique, as part of the Maputo Fast Forward festival.

ColabNowNow exhibition.

Acknowledgements

The ColabNowNow creatives were facilitated by Eliana N’Zualo and Hélio Januário.

The facilitators were mentored by Tegan Bristow, the director of Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Production for ColabNowNow was provided by Jess White.
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