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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

Music

11 Rwandan Artists You Should Be Listening To

Musicians like Bushali, Kivumbi King, Rita Ange Kagaju, and Alyn Sano have been putting their mark on the ever-changing Rwandan soundscape.

The current landscape of modern Rwandan music is more dynamic than ever before, from updated versions of traditional folk sounds to the recent 'KinyaTrap' phenomenon that has permeated playlists across the country. For decades, Rwandan airwaves have been dominated by international hits — and by a handful of established Rwandan superstars — but now, as the country continues to develop and diversify, so does its musical setting, with new and different sounds ascending from the hills. The past five years have seen the emergence of an army of young artists eager to reclaim their languages (Rwanda has four official languages) and identity, interlacing their music with influences that stretch far and wide.

Here are 11 artists that have emerged in the past five years to put their mark on the ever-changing Rwandan soundscape.

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