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Photo by O'kiins Howara

"African Créative," 2020.

Spotlight: O'kiins Howara Creates Technicolor Images of His Surroundings With a Smartphone

Get familiar with the work of the Ivorian photographer and visual artist O'kiins Howara.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists and more who are producing vibrant, original work. In our latest piece, we spotlight Ouattara Moussa Idriss Mahaman also known as O'kiins Howara, a self-taught Ivorian photographer and visual artist who works exclusively with his smartphone to bring bright, fashion-forward depictions of Africans to life. Read more about the inspirations behind his work below, and check out some of his stunning images underneath. Be sure to keep up with the artist on Instagram and Twitter.


Their responses have have been edited for length and clarity.

Describe your background as an artist briefly and what led you to become a photographer?

As an artist I touch on several artistic domains: music, drawing, writing, but I did not consider myself an artist until I discovered a love for photos. What led me to photography, I would say, is my way of conceiving things, I wanted to bring to life what I made in my mind.

What are the central themes in your work?

The central theme in my work is often to [express] the beauty of Africa through its cultural riches. I also denounce certain evils that affect society.

Can you talk about how you use and interpret color in your work?

Colors are for me an essential element for the beauty and the originality of the photo, I use color to bring life to the photo.

How has the current pandemic affected you as a creator?

It has not affected my work that much, but it should be noted however, that there is less contact with the outside world. Since I often work with other models and props, I can't have all the accessories I want, as well as all the [other] elements necessary for the composition. But I try to do my best to always create.

"False System," 2019

Photo by O'kiins Howara

"Breath," 2020.

Photo by O'kiins Howara

"Color," 2019.

Photo by O'kiins Howara

"Behind M'y self," 2020

Photo by O'kiins Howara

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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