African digital art is emerging online
We’re constantly thinking about how Africa is harnessing the power of digital images. A couple of years ago, we pondered whether the digital camera would ever be widely used in Africa. Soon after, we focused on how eLearning Africa’s annual contest uses images to capture how African children are accessing technology. Images are immensely powerful, but not all need to be used to drive aid or garner sympathy abroad. With that in mind, what place does recreational African digital art have on the Internet?
Smartphones may be used for taking pictures of friends and can serve to post lower resolution images on the Internet, but they don’t necessarily inspire like more purposeful art. Pinterest is great for sharing photos, but few photos taken by Africans seem to exist on the network. However, it turns out that quite a few African artists are pushing the digital boundary.
African Digital Art, an online collective where digital artist, enthusiasts, and professionals can seek inspiration, showcase their artistry, and connect with emerging artists provides a unique outlet for Africa’s creative class. Founded in 2009 by a Kenyan-born digital artist living in the United States, African Digital Art has become a useful source for African inspiration. The community currently boasts 750 members and a post has been tagged from nearly every African nation. All subjects are fair game: from South African ad campaigns to photographs of rural Burkina Faso to the proposed Gabon space elevator. Local artists from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and beyond have been featured. The top-notch African Weekly Inspiration posts explore a wide range of themes and mediums.
Not surprisingly, most of the team members come from the more digitally advanced nations of Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana. They are, however, looking for French-speaking contributors.