African Photography: Photomontage, Part 4

African Photography: Photomontage, Part 4

Posted in Photography

Today, a growing number of African artists are interested in the exploration of Afrofuturism and surrealism, using collage and photomontage to create works that bridge fantasy with reality. In doing so, they are trying to imagine new possibilities for black people by challenging the status quo and creating a sense of empowerment. They also incorporate traditional and historical events in order to connect those from the black diaspora with their forgotten African ancestry.

Paul Sika

Paul Sika was born in 1985 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Growing with a passion for video games and programming, he studied in Software Engineering at the University of Westminster in London between 2003 and 2007. Upon graduation, he moved back to his native country where he started a career in photography a year later. Sika developed an approach that he called photomaking – a portmanteau for photography and filmmaking. This technique consists of digitally making an image rather than capturing it. Thus, Sika creates his photographs in a cinematographic way, producing astonished scenes that highlight the people and objects. His brightly-coloured images are dense and force the viewer into an unfamiliar space, opening the way for new conversations. His work is a combination of artistic inspiration, self-imagination, and visual expression. His creativity is influenced by the Ivorian popular culture, contemporary paintings, and video games that illustrate his story-telling. In Lilian’s Appeal (2012), the colorful images show people striking exaggerated poses in the street or common places. When viewed in a sequence, the photographs seem to follow a script or tell a story.

Tout Mignon by Paul Sika

Dandelia by Paul Sika

Williams Chechet

Williams Chechet is a visual artist who was born in 1981 in Kano and raised in Kaduna in northern Nigeria. He studied Industrial Design at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, but dropped out in his third year to focus on his art. He works as a graphic designer and art director for various brands as well as product designer for freelance projects. Influenced by pop art, afrobeats, and Afrofuturism, Chechet creates digital images that combine popular and historical figures with abstract elements. He cites the work of Eduardo Paolozzi, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami and Brian Donnelly as inspirations. His works explore themes of identity, history, and cultural iconography, oscillating between the past, present, and future through the vibrant depiction of traditional characters. In his series We Are The North (2017), Chechet depicts portraits of historical and political figures of Northern Nigeria overlapped with colourful symbols and selected accessories, replacing them in popular memory and consciousness.

Williams Chechet - Scream

Williams Chechet - Bubble

Pierre-Christophe Gam

Pierre-Christophe Gam was born in 1983 in Paris, France, from a Chadian mother and a Cameroonian father. He studied architecture at the École des Arts Décoratifs, a school of art and design in Paris, and at Central Saint Martins, an art school in London. In his professional career, he has specialized in art direction for leading contemporary luxury brands and for the music industry. In 2013, Gam launched the cultural platform Afro-Polis, which aimed to explore and discover the African visual heritage. Since then, he has developed his artistic work mainly through photography, collage, and digital media. He creates compelling images where deep cultural references are mixed-up and juxtaposed in a vibrant and colourful tapestry. With his striking compositions, Gam questions complex and deeply rooted narratives at the core of the global African cultural experience. In the Affogbolo (2015) series, he created images inspired by traditional African photography and Italian Renaissance portraiture to highlight the economic and cultural attributes of the contemporary African young elite.

Pierre Christophe Gam - Her Pink

Pierre Christophe Gam - Him Green

Tahir Carl Karmali

Tahir Carl Karmali was born in 1987 in Nairobi, Kenya. Starting his career as a food photographer, he has turned to a more diverse practice including portraiture, conceptual photography, and photomontage. In 2014, he moved to New York to pursue a graduate degree in digital photography at the School of Visual Arts. Karmali mainly works with digital photography, installation, and collage. His work covers themes of identities and their influence by economic, geopolitical, and social systems. He aims for his photography to communicate a concept that leads the viewers to question their own perceptions. In his Towel Heads (2014) series, with the simple use of a towel as a prop, Karmali unites a group of diverse people and produces portraits with a raw quality. Inspired by the jua kali workers – artisans who work with recycle and found objects, he produces a series of images using photomontage to portray them. In Jua Kali (2016), each image shows an individual who has found a little niche for himself in the everyday struggle for survival. Found objects are interwoven with the heads of the portrayed to form an anatomic unit. Karmali took pictures of the objects to create his collages, and combined them spontaneously with photos of the artisans.

Jua Kali by Tahir Carl Karmali

Jua Kali by Tahir Carl Karmali

Osborne Macharia

Osborne Macharia was born in 1986 in Nairobi, Kenya. He studied architecture but failed to graduate for his bachelor’s degree in 2010. He gained an interest for photography afterwards, and started to follow online tutorials and courses to develop his skills in photography. His art style lean toward portraiture and the use of vivid colors and outstanding décor added with photo editing and collage making tools. Through his work, Macharia explores themes of Afrofuturism in cultural identity and fictional narratives. His images reinvent historical events that happened in Africa with fictional characters having a futuristic look. His series Macicio (2015) present fictional Mau Mau warriors who belong to a special unit of opticians in charge of spying the enemy with special glasses. That series revolves around the Mau Mau rebellion against the British colonial rule during Kenya’s struggle for independence in 1959. In the Kabangu (2016) series, the artist reimagined a group of male models who are actually guardsmen by day, as hip-hop grandpas by night.

Kabangu by Osborne Macharia

Kabangu by Osborne Macharia


Posted in Photography  |  January 20, 2024