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Uganda's President Will "Go To War" Over New Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

President Museveni is defending the world's harshest anti-human rights bill, threatening death for being gay.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has declared that he will go to war to protect the country's anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed this week. "The NRM (National Resistance Movement) has never had two languages," he said in a statement released by his office on Wednesday, "What we tell you in the day is what we shall say to you at night. The signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is finished; nobody will move us, and we should be ready for a war. Remember, war is not for the soft." Museveni made an onslaught of chaotic comments when he met with lawmakers from his ruling party this week, as he continues to defend signing one of the world's harshest anti-LGBTQ+ bills to date.

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Images courtesy of Sarfo Emmanuel Annor.

Spotlight: Ghana’s Sarfo Emmanuel Annor Is Celebrating African Beauty

We spoke with the visual artist about honoring your heritage and trusting in the journey to success.

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 Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor. The young Koforidua native is reimaging the beauty and vibrancy of the environment he grew up in through photography and an intimate relationship with color. Annor graduated high school in 2019 and was gifted a cellphone that went on to become his first mode of capturing and communicating his creative potential and wildest dreams. The artist started off as a painter, and an apprenticeship with a local fashion designer sparked Annor’s interest in fashion’s ability to communicate beauty and heritage. Committed to seeing his ideas through, Annor began photographing his niece and young girls in his community as muses and the objects of his creative expression.

His photo series “The Essence of Colour” underlines Annor’s infatuation with youthful spirits and contrasts the depth of highly melanated skin that Africans are privileged to inherit. Influenced by his own experiences and environment, the talent uses his craft to communicate socio-economic issues plaguing Ghanaian youth while celebrating their individuality and magnetism.

\u200bFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor\u2019s photo series \u201cThe Essence of Colour.\u201dFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor’s photo series “The Essence of Colour.”

We spoke with the visual artist about finding inspiration all around you and the beauty in African diversity.

The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Can you tell us about the project that first inspired you to create?

My first project was quite special. After graduating from high school, my sister gifted me a phone, and I used to take random photos of family and friends and edit them for fun until I one day realized I could use the phone as an art creation tool. The project that inspired me to create was a photo series about African beauty. My niece Afia modeled in the photo series, and she embodies the essence of African diversity, strength, and resilience. Africa is home to a vast array of ethnicities, languages, and traditions, resulting in a rich tapestry of beauty standards and ideals.

African beauty is often characterized by its celebration of natural features, including dark skin tones, varying hair textures, and unique facial features. The photo series was inspired by the growing movement towards embracing and appreciating the natural beauty of African individuals, challenging traditional Eurocentric standards of beauty.

What are the central themes in your work and how do you communicate them?

I would say the central theme of my work is celebrating African beauty. It tells African stories through beauty and fashion, and incorporating these aspects is my wonderful way of celebrating and showcasing the rich culture and diversity of the continent. I also work to create awareness around socio-economic problems in my country, Ghana.

One aspect of African beauty is the appreciation for dark skin tones. Many African cultures have historically held dark skin as a symbol of beauty and associated it with health, strength, and heritage. My celebration of dark skin can be seen in the use of dark-skinned models in my work and also in highlighting the skin of the models in the photos. Traditional attire and fashion also play a significant role in when defining African beauty. Different regions and ethnic groups have their own distinct clothing styles, fabrics, and patterns that reflect their cultural heritage and craftsmanship. I love to incorporate some of these traditional clothing like the Kente cloth and others in my work.

\u200bFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor\u2019s photo series \u201cThe Essence of Colour.\u201dFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor’s photo series “The Essence of Colour.”

Where do you seek inspiration and how does it find you?

As my works mostly talk about African fashion and beauty, I would say I'm mostly inspired by my culture. African culture is incredibly diverse and rich, offering a plethora of inspirations for my art.

What do you believe sets African artists apart from the rest of the world?

African artists possess a rich cultural heritage and unique perspectives that set them apart from the rest of the world.

Africa is a continent known for its immense cultural diversity, with a vast array of ethnic groups, traditions, languages, and art forms. This diversity provides African artists with a rich tapestry of inspiration, allowing them to explore a wide range of themes and artistic expressions.

Also, African art often incorporates symbolic elements and storytelling traditions. Many artworks convey deep cultural, historical, or spiritual meanings, carrying narratives of ancestral wisdom, mythologies, social issues, and personal experiences. This emphasis on storytelling adds layers of depth and significance to African art. African artists are also renowned for their vibrancy, expressiveness, and bold use of colors, patterns, and textures. Whether it's through intricate beadwork, vibrant textiles, or powerful sculptures, African artists often embrace dynamic visual elements that captivate the senses and evoke emotional responses.

\u200bFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor\u2019s photo series \u201cThe Essence of Colour.\u201dFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor’s photo series “The Essence of Colour.”

Can you talk about your use of colors and accessories?

Growing up, I loved to draw and colour and always admired the colours around me — found in nature and especially the colors of the prestigious Kente Cloth. I use vibrant colors as a form of art therapy, we are more emotionally connected to colors than we realize. They affect our mood through different associations — the human brain connects warm colours like red, orange, and yellow to a range of feelings such as passion, comfort, anger, and power. So, when people look at colors, I believe it can affect them in positive ways.

What’s something you wish someone told you at the beginning of your journey?

Embrace the journey and focus on personal growth rather than seeking instant success or validation. Building a successful art career takes time, effort, and perseverance. It's crucial to understand that progress and recognition may not come overnight. You have to be patient with yourself, keep practicing, and continue honing your skills. Success often comes to those who stay committed to their craft. In my creative process, I have encountered setbacks and faced moments of self-doubt. Instead of viewing failure as a deterrent, I saw it as an opportunity for growth. I learned from my mistakes, analyzed what went wrong, and I used those lessons to improve my art. Remember that every artist faces challenges, and resilience is key to overcoming them.

\u200bFrom Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor\u2019s photo series \u201cThe Essence of Colour.\u201d

From Ghanaian visual artist Sarfo Emmanuel Annor’s photo series “The Essence of Colour.”

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