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'The Murder,' 2017. By Pierre-Christophe Gam. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This Mixed Media Series Pays Homage To the Late Burkinabe Revolutionary—Thomas Sankara

"Sankara, The Upright Man" by Pierre-Christophe Gam is currently on view at DAK'ART Biennale 2018.

Multidisciplinary Cameroonian-Chadian artist Pierre-Christophe Gam's work, Sankara, The Upright Man, is a tribute to Thomas Sankara, the Burkinabe revolutionary.

Currently showing in La Villa Rouge, a DAK'ART OFF venue, The Upright Man is a mixed media installation examining the life and legacy the late president of Burkina Faso. Gam explores the myths surrounding his life and death, presenting him as one of the last Pan-African prophets as well as a "messiah."


Sankara was a humanist, feminist and ecologist who led his country from 1983 until his assassination in 1987 at the age of 37. His voice was notable in the fight against imperialism and neo-colonialism and this is what surely lead to his demise. He established programs for social and economic change on his continent and fought tirelessly for African self-reliance. Though a worldwide icon, his yearning for change would lead to his death during a social demonstration on October 15, 1987. This assassination would be administered by one of his closest friends, Blaise Compaoré, with assistance from global imperialists.

Gam weaves art and fashion together as he recounts Sankara's riveting narrative with the use of textiles, repetition, photography, drawing, pixel art, color, and computer generation.

'The Battle,' 2017. By Pierre-Christophe Gam. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The artist wrestles with what Burkina Faso could've been were it not for Sankara's passing: An ecological powerhouse? A self-sufficient agricultural marvel? A land free of corruption? A place noted for its celebration of women and their contributions? His questions take him on a journey where he speaks with Mariam Sankara, the president's widow, and reads a majority of her husband's texts and speeches.

It may not be evident to the viewer at first glance, but Gam is very detailed in his approach. He leaves no stones unturned. Everything seen matters. He treats Sankara's life as apocryphal gospels. In one image, we come across a former first lady of Burkina Faso, curvacious and sensual, holding a bottle of champagne with a makeshift freemason symbol on it, filled with blood. In another, we see the silhouette of Compaoré, his friend, "Judas," suspected of having killed him, being inaugurated in a circle of men all dawning black.

In the finality of it all, there are even powerful views of a Sankara lookalike being crucified, cradled by his widow and resurrected.

DAK'ART runs from Thursday, May 3, through Saturday, June 2nd. For more information, check out their website here, and keep up with the event on Instagram.

Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.

Art
Photo by Stephan Röhl via Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrated Contemporary African Art Curator Bisi Silva Has Passed Away

The independent curator and founder of Lagos' Centre for Contemporary Art lost her battle with cancer.

A tree has fallen in the contemporary African art world.

Bisi Silva, independent curator and founder of the Lagos-based Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), lost her battle with cancer Tuesday, PM News Nigeria reports.

"With a deep sense of loss, we regret to announce the passing of our Founder and Artistic Director of Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, Olabisi Silva who passed away on Tuesday 12 February 2019," Iheanyi Onwuegbucha, the CCA's associate curator announced in a statement.

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'Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman,' 2017, from Fortia. By Keyezua, photo courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery.

Our 9 Favorite African Visual Artists of 2018

We look back at the contemporary African visual artists who caught our eye this year.

This year, African visual artists have done their due diligence to carve their own path leading to creative autonomy, authentic storytelling and straight up greatness.

From photography and film, to even mixed-media art, the following have produced stand-out work that deserve their due accolades.

Feast your eyes on our nine favorite African visual artists of 2018 below.

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Image courtesy of Riveriswild

#BuyBlack: The 8 Black-Owned Brands To Shop For On Black Friday

It's that time of year again, here is OkayAfrica's 2019 gift guide for you to #BuyBlack this Friday.

You know we're near the end of 2019 once the holiday season comes back around. Thanksgiving is upon us and the bargain shopping and gift-giving is set to commence thereafter. While this American "holiday" being questionable in of itself, Black Friday is a prime occasion to highlight, support and spend exclusively with black-owned businesses.

Just like we mentioned last year, let's keep the 'for us, by us' energy going. Even beyond the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, tap into the businesses that continue to contribute to wealth-building, development and employment in Black communities around the world.

Here is OkayAfrica's curated shortlist of black-owned brands to take note of this Black Friday, including some standout home decor, fashion, skincare and beauty brands you should know.

Take a look below.

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'Queen & Slim' soundtrack cover.

Burna Boy Samples Fela's 'Shakara' on New Track, 'My Money, My Baby' From 'Queen & Slim' Soundtrack

The film's official soundtrack also features tracks from Lauryn Hill, Blood Orange, Megan Thee Stallion and more.

The official soundtrack for Queen & Slim has arrived, and it features a standout solo track from none other than Burna Boy.

"My Money, My Baby" is a heavily Afrobeat-tinged track that features a prominent sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara." The pulsating track also sees the singer, channeling Fela's signature talk-style of singing and repetition. Check it out below.

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