Arts + Culture

NextGen: Isaiah Wakoli's Stimulating Art Is Inspired by Color's Interaction with Human Behavior

Kenyan artist Isaiah Wakoli looks to his experience living with color synesthesia as inpsiration for his digital art.

DIASPORAOver the course of July we'll be publishing short profiles, essays and interviews on the theme of "Afrofutures." Together these stories will be a deep dive into the way African and diaspora thinkers, technologists and artists view a future for Africans in the world and outside of it. 


Take a look at our introduction to Afrofuturism here.

Throughout this month, we'll also highlight and celebrate young, leading talents who already put into practice what a future with black people look like through their work in our daily profile series, 'NextGen.'

In our ninth edition, meet Kenyan artist, Isaiah Wakoli. 

We’ve featured several artists in the NextGen series who use graphic design, photography and visual art to stimulate our eyes and transport our minds to foreign worlds. Every artist has a unique style and perspective that inspires us to view our tangible world more critically and creatively. But Kenyan artist Isaiah Wakoli actually does see the world differently than some of us do, and it accents his vibrant, boisterous art: he has a rare gift called color synesthesia.

“I’m inspired by color, light and human behavior,” Wakoli says via email. “I have this rare condition called color synesthesia. I love color. I always try to associate moods and feelings with different colors. I love light, how it can fall on one thing and give it a certain character and yet again fall differently on the same object and give it a different character.

A post shared by Noncompliant (@iwakoli) on

A post shared by Noncompliant (@iwakoli) on

Synesthesia is a “union of the senses” or the rare ability to associate two or more senses with one another: such as seeing colors when tasting food or hearing music, or viewing letters and numbers as people, with actual personalities, moods and more. For some time, synesthesia was believed to be a mental dysfunction, or a philosophical topic that questions creativity and consciousness, but now more researchers are striving to understand it deeply, and synesthetes are welcomed to express their sensual experiences.

A post shared by Noncompliant (@iwakoli) on

A post shared by Noncompliant (@iwakoli) on

Wakoli’s art, which is saturated in rich, bold hues and shades, imagines people on lonely planets, morphing into nature or exposing a subtle, introspective side of humanity. “Human behavior has also been interesting to look at (in my work)—how everyone is quite unique in their own way," he says. "How their culture is a big part of their lives, and what happens when their culture crosses paths with a different one.” Perhaps the key to understanding nature, human behavior and the wonder of color, is in the synesthete’s ability to unite one sense with another.

A post shared by Noncompliant (@iwakoli) on

A post shared by Noncompliant (@iwakoli) on

Events

Join Us at Lot 45 For a Night of Music With DJs YB, AQ, & EPM

Come to An OkayAfrica Party.

Join us for a special night of culture and sounds curated and hosted by OkayAfrica at Lot 45 in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

An OkayAfrica Party will feature the sounds of standout afrobeat selector DJ YB, NYC-based South African-Guinean DJ AQ and EPM.

See you there!

RSVP HERE FOR FREE ENTRY BEFORE 11PM

Photo: Tiph / @nerdscarf

An OkayAfrica Party

DJs: DJ YB, AQ, EPM

July 19 at Lot 45

10pm - 4am

Free before 11pm with RSVP

Video

Watch Stonebwoy's New Video For 'Tuff Seed'

"People have to realize that they have to be mentally strong and they have to know that they are seeds."

Stonebwoy comes through with the new single, "Tuff Seed."

The uplifting Streetbeatz-produced single sees the Ghanaian star singing about remaining tough and strong when facing life's issues. The accompanying music video for "Tuff Seed" was directed Adasa Cookey.

Stonebwoy recently stopped by Ebro Darden Apple Music Beats 1 radio show to talk about the new single. During that interview he also revealed that he has a new album coming in 2020.

"This story is an emotional one to me with everything that has been happening. I sat back and I got this inspiration," Stonebwoy mentioned in that interview. "People have to realize that they have to be mentally strong and they have to know that they are seeds. No matter what people do to them, or what they go through, they have to get down there, they have to be buried to grow into trees to grow fruit. This is a very inspirational song."

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News Brief
Image courtesy of ROK Studios.

CANAL+ Group Has Acquired Top Nollywood Studio ROK To Boost Original Content Development

This a huge feat for the 4-year-old Nigerian start-up.

ROK, Africa's leading film studio and international TV network, has been acquired by top French film and television studio, CANAL+ Group, for an undisclosed amount to boost original content development.

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