News Brief

Rising South African Director Sibs Shongwe-La Mer Chosen To Direct 'Meridian'

The film tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing post-WWII.

South Africa's Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, a director to watch, has been selected to direct Meridian, a new film produced by Cassian Elwes, the producer behind Lee Daniels'The Butler, and Susan Carter Hall, Variety reports.

Meridian is based on an original screenplay by Henderson Hall and Karolina Waclawiak. It tells the story of a priceless Picasso painting that resurfaces in a small American town after going missing from a Nazi bunker post-WWII.


Shongwe-La Mer tells Variety that the film is "a beautiful ode to cinema" and describes it as "classic Hollywood."

"That Hollywood is the Hollywood that made me fall in love with films," he continues.

Shongwe-La Mer met Elwes in Los Angeles after the AFI Fest screening of his acclaimed debut, Necktie Youth, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2015, Variety says. "Cassian Elwes is a true hero of mine," he continues. "From Blue Valentine to Dallas Buyers Club, these are pictures that move me to the point that they remind me why I want to make films."

The 26-year-old helmer also credits Elwes with mentoring him through his quick rise, as Shongwe-La Mer is due to show his third feature, The Color of the Skull, this week at Cannes. This feature is in conjunction with the Cinefontation's Atelier, Cannes' forum for films seeking completion funding.

Meridian is currently casting, as Shongwe-La Mer is also in production with the film, The Sound of Animals Fighting, an earnest South Africa-Brazil co-production.

(Photo by Youssef Loulidi/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Morocco Advance to the Round Of 16 in the World Cup

Morocco join Senegal as the second African country make the knockout stages at Qatar 2022.

Morocco have officially joined the string of African countries who have been excelling at the FIFA World Cup.

By beating Canada, 2-1, the North African country finish at the top of their Group F, besting strong footballing countries like Belgium and Croatia, and advancing to the last 16 teams in the World Cup.

During the game against Canada, the Moroccan side strategically capitalized on its opponents' mistakes, especially those from Canadian defender Steven Vitória and goalkeeper Milan Borjan. At the height of the game, Vitória attempted to pass the ball back to Borjan at the same time that Youssef En-Nesyri was giving chase. Borjan left his net to play the ball but En-Nesyri’s seamlessness with the ball overpowered him and gave Hakim Ziyech the leeway to easily score a goal from a distance.

By half-time against Canada, Morocco was already in the lead, with strong indications pointing to the possibility that they would push through the knockout round. The win came with an eruption of celebration from fans who witnessed the team win at Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar.

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(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Roc Nation)

Burna Boy Tops 2022 African Streams on Both Spotify & Apple Music

The Nigerian star dominated African streaming lists across both platforms.

On Wednesday, November 30th, Spotify announced its 2022 Wrapped campaign and personalized user experience. In line with that, the music streaming powerhouse also revealed the top songs, albums, and podcasts that dominated the playlists of its 456M listeners around the world.

With the rise of Afrobeats and Amapiano this year, also came the domination of some of Africa’s leading artists and based on the numbers that Spotify put out, Burna Boy was leading the pack. The African Giant dominated the list as The Top African Artist Streamed Globally, Top African Artist on Spotify, and Top Songs Streamed Across Africa ("Last Last").

Spotify's Top Breakout Artist in Africa this year was Asake and the Top African Songs Streamed Globally was the ever-present "Love Nwatiti" by Ckay.

Apple Music also released a list of the top songs and albums for 2022, and again, Burna Boy topped the list. The release of his sixth studio album Love, Damini generated massive critical acclaim and the leading single “Last Last” quickly a global anthem.

According to Apple’s analytics, the album was the most streamed on Apple Music Nigeria, Apple Music Ghana and Apple Music Kenya in 2022. It is also the third most streamed album on Apple Music South Africa in 2022.

According to Phiona Okumu, Head of Music, Spotify Africa, the Spotify Wrapped campaign is also an opportunity for African artists to continue to thrive both home and abroad.

“As always, we also have our Wrapped creator experience for podcasters and artists. With access to their own individualized Wrapped microsite experience, creators can dive into all the ways in which their fans listened this year. We are so excited to continue to support the growth of these artists globally and at home,” said Okumu.

The “Ye” singer has continued to push boundaries and like many of his successful peers in the African music scene, have shown the world that African music, art and talent can push global boundaries and make the world listen.

Following numerous sold out tours, including an eye-popping headliner show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it is not difficult to see why the afrobeats heavyweight continues to thrive and put Africa as a whole on the map.

Graphic provided by Spotify.


Photo: Courtesy Wangechi Mutu and Vielmetter Los Angeles, taken by Robert Edemeyer

A Massive Exhibition of Wangechi Mutu's Work Is Heading to the New Museum

A specially-commissioned art piece from the Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist will be part of the major overview of her work.

In what is set to be one of the largest showings of the artist's work, the New Museum in New York will present “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined,” from March 2 – June 4, 2023. The art works will cover the entire museum, occupying the three main floors, including the lobby, and the building’s glass façade, where a new piece that's been commissioned will be displayed.

Earlier this year, eight of Mutu’s sculptures were installed at the Storm King Art Center in upstate New York, showcasing her current practice in earth and bronze material.

Mutu’s upcoming New Museum exhibition is curated by Vivian Crockett, Margot Norton, Allen and Lola Goldring and Ian Wallace. According to the curators, “Intertwined” will chronicle Mutu’s recent sculptural development, and connect it to her long standing expression and exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, in African and diasporic cultural traditions.

The upcoming exhibition will highlight some of Mutu’s earlier art, as well as her most recent artistic outputs, which are primarily made from Nairobi-sourced wood, soil and bronze.

“Intertwined” will give art lovers the opportunity to see and appreciate the thematic progression of Mutu’s work, and get a sense of how New York-based art institutions have influenced the scope of her artistry over time.

Different floors at the museum will carry various parts of Mutu’s multi-dimensional work. The second floor, for example, will draw connections between the artist’s collage-based practice and her work in sculpture, including 'Yo Mama' (2003), originally commissioned by the New Museum in 2003 for the exhibition “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”

This exhibition on the second floor will also underscore some of her more recent work, which experiments with collages in corporeal, mechanical, and botanical forms. The third floor will continue to explore the fluidity of Mutu’s work and how her pieces have evolved over time.

The fourth floor will tie a collection of Mutu’s collages from the 'Subterranea' series (2021–22) with her most recent large scale bronze art.

In a statement, Crockett said Mutu’s work has wrestled with themes and complex artistic principles that make it even more important for the future of art as a whole. “Mutu’s work has long been characterized by a sense of permeable boundaries and hybridity, invested in the complex encounters of bodies, sites, and structures. Her work grapples with contemporary realities and proffers new models for a radically changed future informed by feminism, Afrofuturism, and interspecies symbiosis,” said Crockett.

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