Sharing. Collecting. Uplifting and giving more opportunities to minorities.
Art resonates. Art empowers. Art is freedom. Within art, there's room for everybody. Nobody's experience and background are the same, which is why this is so important to people.
What's so fascinating about Afrofuturism is that it's a way of seeing the world. A lens to present unfamiliar ideas on common ground. Afrofuturism explores possibilities. It's a political, social, and artistic movement that reimagines the world, centering on African-descended people.
When we realize how powerful Afrofuturism can be, it must be integrated into all areas of our lives—from entertainment to education and everything in between.
In this lively interview, Serwah and Glitch of Mind, explain how they got involved with the movement. And how to use it to create new perspectives.
Serwah Attafua: Creating art that resonates with the community
Serwah is a multidisciplinary artist and musician based in Sydney, Australia. She has collaborated and been commissioned by clients including Mercedes Benz, Nike, GQ, Adobe, Paris Hilton and Charli XCX. She participated in Sotheby's 'Natively Digital': A Curated NFT auction and 'Apotheosis': a live motion capture experience with Soft Centre at The Sydney Opera House.
For her, entering the NFT space was just another way to share her art. It's not something that interfered with her creative process, which changes from time to time. However, once she has an idea, she'll get right into making that piece!
She created Agarophobia to express her struggle with anxiety, panic disorder, and PTSD. Agoraphobia means fear and avoiding places or situations that might cause panic and make you feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. Instead of letting her illnesses eat away at her, Serwah tried to convey all of this with art.
VOIDWALKER 2020. Minted NFT included and sold on the first launch of Foundation in late 2020.
Serwah stands out because of her talent for combining ancestral/historical references and contemporary themes in her art.
I never saw the art I felt like represented or resonated with me growing up so I felt like I had to change that. I've always had strong cultural upbringing. My dad (Ghanaian) is a storyteller, musician and artist. My mum (Italian and Dutch) is a graphic designer. They both raised me with fantastic books, art, experiences and more that taught me history and my culture.
For her, sovereignty is the most significant opportunity for creators in web3. "We can now cut out the middle man and share, sell and create on our own schedules and terms, which is very empowering."
Her advice for emerging artists exploring Afrofuturism:"Read Black Quantum Futurism: Theory & Practice. It's a great Afrofuturist read!"
Glitch of Mind: Using the power of the blockchain to support equality
Glitch is an Afro-Surrealist photographer, 3D artist and NFT creator. He's also in charge of African NFT Community, an incubator and advocates for African artists on the continent/in the diaspora.
His creative process is very much about unlocking memories, and traveling into his past experiences. Experiences that shaped him into who Glitch is today. So when he's creating each piece, he tries to capture a glimpse of those memories and emotions.
Glitch started creating afro-surrealistic artwork based on his experiences. During his journey as a photographer, he always wanted to recreate the little fantasies he traveled to when escaping his realities. But nothing Glitch created truly clicked with him.
It wasn't until I went through a bit of a rough path with depression and therapy that I started compositing images, recreating my experiences into this scenes/worlds using dream symbolism.
And in that process, I stumble upon the word "Afrosurrealism" which black artists coined in the early 70s and stated that black artists, creating from their own experiences, are surrealists. So I felt very identified with that statement.
Hand Of Mind is a surreal visual diary inspired by Glitch Of Mind adolescent memories.
Glitch is now helping onboard and promotes creators with African NFT Community by connecting through Twitter and Discord, sharing artists' work, and supporting as much as possible.
"What I do it's a grain compared with the incredible humans and community builders that started the AfricanNFTCommunity like VintageMozart, Abi Eyuwa, among others who have opened the doors for so many within the African diaspora."
Based on his experience, Web3 was life-changing. "I couldn't have ever dreamed to meet so many incredible humans from the diaspora. Their art, brilliance, the talent is inspirational and it keeps me motivated. The ability to make a living out of what you love doing, creating, and connecting without the gatekeeping of the outside world telling you "you are not good enough."
Image from the directory featuring NFT art collections by African artists.
Some artists have been using the power of the blockchain to change their communities, empower and highlight important topics. Like Owo Anietie with Afrodroids, who within their smart contract stipulated that part of the proceeds went directly to DreamCatcher academy, a non-profit offering a better life for girls through arts. No other projects were doing that at the time. And like this, you can find different communities like 50mmCollective by Raven50mm, BlackNFT, Umba Daima, and many other communities focusing on highlighting black and other non-white communities.
"Afrofuturism to me means the ability to imagine a reality where you can be who you are without question. An ability to imagine a better future for yourself despite what others think. [...] And that's what my work is about: self-exploration and a celebration of my inner child, the dreamer in me who just wanted to be."
We can do more by looking into the projects we support
Through the lens of Afrofuturism, we can better understand what Web 3 is and what it means. We have a chance to use art as a tool to chip away at negative stereotypes. Reveal the good in people, transform the way they see themselves and empower them to be more than they ever thought possible.
Today, the opportunities to try something new and creative are endless, especially for those willing to take the leap. Let's push our collective imagination even further.
Do you know other Afrofuturist NFT projects we should follow? Drop us a line @buenonft and help us find other creators making this space more inclusive and diverse.