Arts + Culture

Fred Martins’ New Series Honors the Struggles of African Liberation

Nigerian visual artist Fred Martins' new series for Black History Month celebrates past African heroes who stood against colonialism.

In the spirit of Black History Month, Nigerian visual artist Fred Martins shares a new series commemorating the African struggles for freedom.


With Black and Freedom, Martins celebrates the “African heroes that stood against colonialism in Africa, although massacred in thousands and in millions, but they had tried to protect their lands, culture and people.”

Using butterfly imagery was intentional for Martins—they symbolize life or the soul in many African culture, he tells Design Indaba. The fists stand for power, bravery and unity.

“It all defines the suffering inflicted and the strength exhibited by the African ancestors who were ardent and concerned about protecting the future of Africa,” he continues for Design Indaba, “and the message they tried to communicate to the present and future Africa.”

He continues:

“A great number of Africans today have no real idea of what their past looked like. The culture, values and the great men and women that devoted their lives lighting a path for the people of today are unrecognized. The story of our ancestors resisting colonization should not be neglected, their bravery and mistakes should be revisited and taught in our schools so people know about the challenges that brought us to our knees and how they can be fixed. History is essential.”

This series honoring past heroes is another opportunity for Martins to teach through his work.

“Visual work is deep, powerful and controls the subliminal framework of the people. I hope that these works stir a hunger to know more,” he says.

To read more from his interview with Design Indaba, click here. Have a look at Black and Freedom below.

[oka-gallery]

Popular
Image collage by Evanka Williamson.

How the Creator of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ Finally Got His Due In ‘Black Is King’

Thanks to Beyoncé, Solomon Linda's famous song finally made its Disney debut—81 years after it was written.

By now, we've all seen and heard think piece after think piece about Beyoncé's latest visual album release Black Is King. The film depicts and celebrates a great deal of African culture and history, paying homage to many underrated and misunderstood artists and practices.

One moment, however, put an end to an 81-year struggle with the Disney giants.

Perhaps one of Disney's most popular songs, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," is a reproduced version of the late South African performer Solomon Ntsele (Linda)'s song "Mbube."

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Prettyboy D-O Wants the 'Whole World to Believe In Themselves’ Through His Music

Prettyboy D-O is a singular presence in Nigeria's growing alté movement. We speak to him about his latest project, his cult-like following and what motivates his sound.