Arts + Culture

NextGen: Judie Mozie's Journey As an Emerging Artist Is an Example of Fearless Individuality

For Nigerian visual artist and director Judie Mozie, she wants to encourage Africans to embrace and celebrate all facets of their identities.

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 seventh edition, we catch up with Nigerian artist and director, Judie Mozie. 

With little representation of black people in fine art, Judie Mozie is aligning her own path and shaping a new narrative for African artists. Mozie is a Nigerian visual artist and director currently living in Los Angeles, California. Although she's a contemporary artist focused on creating her own lane, she has also worked with major companies like Complex, The Shade Room and Jason of Beverly Hills. Mozie has also been apart of art exhibitions in LA and even personalized clothing pieces for artists like Wizkid.

Photo courtesy of Judie Mozie.

Mozie has always been captivated by the diverse and unique varieties of the human experience and was raised to celebrate diversity with all of its infinite facets. Her art takes inspiration from a number of disciplines and is highly influenced by her Nigerian heritage. Originally disciplined in film directing, Judie uses her visual senses as a way to elevate her message. She curates the platform Cosmic Shades of Brown that features all her artwork and allows people to interact with the African artists that have inspired her along the way. She believes that it is the story of the artist that truly energizes their work.

"To me it is a way for black people to redefine their history, their present, and future," she says when speak on Afrofuturism. "It is a way for people of African descent to envision the future based off of their experiences and history.”

Photo courtesy of Judie Mozie.

She continued with the role she wants to play in the movement adding, “I want to help shape the narratives of African people by living my truth as openly and boldly as possible. I feel like it's important to show that there are so many ways to be African and that the only person, who can define you as a person, is yourself. I want to help remove the fear of individuality and encourage Africans to embrace and celebrate all facets of their identities.”

Mozie is currently working on her first solo exhibition opening August 6, 2017 that captures themes of family, strength, inner peace, and love.

Popular
Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Image

#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How CKay's 'Love Nwantiti' Became the World's Song

Nigerian singer and producer CKay talks to OkayAfrica about the rise of his international chart-topping single "Love Nwantiti," his genre-defying sound and the reasons behind this era of afrobeats dominance.