Afrofuturism in Art : Here are 5 local Black artists we’re grateful for
Roshni Rakshit (@roshni_rakshit)
The month of February is also known as Black History Month in Canada. During this month, we celebrate and honour the legacy of Black Canadians and the communities they contribute to and continue to help build in Canada.
The entire month is also dedicated to the Black community’s contributions to the arts and culture in Canada.
The 2021 theme for Black History Month is “The Future is Now.” This theme serves as a call to action to move forward and continue building on the legacy of Black Canadians, as well as to recognize and celebrate the brilliant work that Black communities are doing now.
This year’s theme resonates perfectly with the concept of Afrofuturism, which many Black artists incorporate in their art. Afrofuturism is the reimagining of a future filled with art, science and technology through a Black lens.
It is a world where equality thrives and is rooted in ancient African traditions and Black identity. Notable works of art that have absorbed the concept of Afrofuturism into their existence are music by musicians such as Sun Ra, movies like Black Panther, the photography of Renee Cox and the novels of Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler.
There are several black Vancouver artists as well who focus their work on Afrofuturistic art, and are doing an excellent job at not only preserving Black culture, but also building on that rich cultural and artistic history.
Here is a list of 5 Black artists, who Vancouver is grateful for:
Osborne Macharia- Macharia is a self-taught visual artist born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. The work of this Vancouver-based artist has been featured by brands such as Vogue, Marvel and Coke, as well as in award shows such as Cannes, Communication Arts and Lurzer’s Archive “Best 200 Digital Artists”.
Ndidi Cascade - Cascade is a songwriter, vocalist , educator and program facilitator, specialising in HipHop music. She has opened for artists such as K’naan, De La Soul and Femi Kuti. Ndidi facilitates youth empowerment workshops that use hip-hop, spoken word, dance and music as a healthy way of self-expression. As a hip/hop music educator and touring artist, Cascade showcases interactive hip-hop shows in elementary and high schools in BC.
Dae Shields - The founder and Executive Director of Afro Van Connect Society, Dae Shields is a musician, designer, community advocate and events coordinator, who aims to share her living experience as a Jamaican-Canadian with her community. She is also the bassist and front-woman of Ital Blue, a musical project that strives to spread awareness about the injustice that African communities face, and show the impact people of African descent have had on Canadian culture and cultures all across the globe.
Kor Kase- Moses Andeku aka Kor Kase is an actor, artist, activist, designer, event coordinator, life Coach and cofounder of Afro Van Connect. Kor started his acting and music career in the 2010s by releasing music online, independently and playing local shows in the Lower Mainland. As an actor he has appeared in shows such as See, Izombie and The Man In The High Castle. As an artist he promotes messages of love, equality, harmony and brotherhood.
Adhel Arop - A multidisciplinary artist and model, Adhel calls herself an “artivist”. The Kenyan-born filmmaker’s 21-minute documentary “Who Am I ?” examines how war and specifically her mother’s experience as a child soldier in Sudan, impacted her family and her understanding of herself. She has been an active participant in the Black Lives Matter protest and her work focuses mostly on shifting the White Gaze.
About the author: Roshni is a self-proclaimed Comedy Queen who specializes in laughing at her own jokes. Her hobbies include making people smile, watching movies and analysing them, reading books, practicing yoga (occasionally), hogging on well-cooked biryani and scrolling through dog videos and memes on Instagram. Her love for writing stems from her love for art in general, which is fuelled by her background in theatre. Catch on her instagram at @roshni_rakshit daily, where she regularly shares her experience with movies and occasionally offends people with her political sense of humour.
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