Arts + Culture

The Artist Is Present: Williams Chechet Utilizes Pop Art To Remind You To Know Your History

Meet the Nigerian multi-hyphenate creative whose work speaks for itself—check it out with OkayAfrica.

Williams Chechet is a multi-talented pop artist, graphic designer, illustrator and muralist who's one to watch. The Nigerian creative is influenced by his culture, history, afrofuturism, afrobeats and hip hop—and this screams at you when looking at his body of explosive work.

He seamlessly speaks through his vibrant visuals. Chechet's past work and due props include a series centered around leaders in Nigeria, a renowned celebration of heritage called We are the North on Northern Nigeria, a CNN Africa feature, a mural for Hard Rock Cafe Lagos, live art on MTV Base, album covers for M.I., Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, clothing with Pop Caven and an American streetwear brand we can't disclose just yet. More recently, he's collaborated with Cameroonian pop artist Fred Ebami on an icon series.

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Arts + Culture
Photo by Selina Avleshie

This Exhibition in Accra Celebrates the Brilliance of African Women Photographers

Take a look inside the Nubuke Foundation and Africa Lens' latest group exhibition which highlights the work of leading African women photographers.

The contemporary African visual landscape is constantly being refreshed with new images from different perspectives that represent the myriad of stories we have to tell. From performance art to literature, creatives work hard to produce vivid and honest depictions, not just of themselves, but their collective existence, as a means of expressing their experiences as well as countering the misrepresentation black bodies face. However, in most of these creative fields, the narratives tend to be dominated by men and or the male gaze. Nubuke Foundation, an Accra based gallery and Africa Lens have come up with a solution to this.

Over the past weekend the gallery and arts foundation located in East Legon a suburb of Accra, transformed the walls of its exhibition space into a shrine for Adama Jalloh, Amaal Said, Jessica Sarkodie, Heather Agyepong, Hilina Abebe and Lyra Aoko to tell their stories. The exhibition was based on the women focused 4th edition of the African Lens, a publication aiming at promoting visual storying telling by Africans, for Africans. Each room in the mazy gallery took on weighted emotions frozen in light by photography, and highlight a scope of techniques from fashion and lifestyle to documentary and portraiture.

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Arts + Culture
Photo still from Marvel's Black Panther.

Taking Back Our History: Understanding African Art Repatriation

We speak to anthropologist and curator Niama Safia Sandy about the politics around the repatriation of African art.

Earlier this month, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London responded to a claim by the Ethiopian government to retrieve items taken from the 1868 battle of Maqdala by suggesting that Ethiopia take them out on a long-term loan. The items, which were taken from the mountain capital of Emperor Tewodros II in the area formerly known as Abyssinia, include a gold crown, a royal wedding dress, the bones of Prince Alemayehu, Emperor Tewodros II son who was captured and taken to Britain where he died at just 18, and more.

The audacious suggestion that the items be "loaned" back was a clear disregard for cultural ownership, a reinforcement of colonial attitudes that once again stripped African countries of their culture and agency.

The outrage that ensued was no surprise, but as we know, outrage isn't always enough to get things to change. It's also useful for those of us, whose history has been ravished by Western dominance to explore ways to reclaim it, to take by what's lost. This month as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Maqdala, it's a fitting time to think about solutions.

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