Imagined by Cameroonian-born, globe-trotting Interior Designer/Industrial Designer/Artist, Serge Mouange, Wafrica is a creative response to globalization. Beginning with two "ancient, strong and sophisticated identities," Japan and Africa, Wafrica seeks to show the positive opportunities presented by their interaction. Rather than homogenization and the forgetting or abandoning of identities, Mouange believes that the juxtaposition of different identities can form "a new and enlightened international consciousness."
Last week, I was all excited, preparing to go to a Kenyan party-slash-concert. It was less about the particular musician visiting and more about being with my fellow Kenyans and experiencing a little taste of home.
First impressions: the venue was quite obscure – an Indian restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Further impressions: my little stereo could put the sound system to shame and the wine tasted of millet porridge. Crucial impression: the musician did not show up until 4am! At this point, we were leaving so, I'm yet to find out if he actually performed at all! On my way out, a man who I presume was one of the organisers, restrained me to make this plea – that I stay for, even if the artist performed for 2 minutes, it would be worth the wait.
“If you really want to understand a culture, don’t look to the things people argue about but, instead try to understand the things they take for granted.”
— Lawrence Lessig, quoted in Bruce Mau's book Massive Change: A Manifesto for the Future Global Design Culture.
If we were to generalise and talk of one African culture, what things do we take for granted?
The exciting Samosa Festival begins tomorrow in Nairobi, aiming to showcase the beauty of diversity.
Their website states:
"SAMOSA Festival is a biennial festival of cross cultural interaction in Kenya, showcasing the best in African, Eastern and Western cultures in the region, and celebrating race, cultural and ethnic difference. We believe that art, music, dance and poetry are some of the easiest and most expansive ways for humanity to embrace diversity. The SAMOSA Festival will be mashing up the nyatiti with the sitar, putting together Rangoli with bottle tops and tile chips; having Zulu and Indian dancers stamp their feet to the same rhythm; and poets sketch with words, as artists weave with pens; asking "What does it mean to be Kenyan in Kenya?" We will be showing Kenya why "Different is Exciting."
Check out the variety of events throughout the week. I'd love to hear about it!
At the successful 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture, held last year in Johannesburg, with 40% of the speakers being African, African Colours is encouraging African keynote speakers, panellists and presenters of case studies to participate in the next Summit.
The theme of the 5th Summit is Creative Intersections and it will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 3-6 October 2011. Speaker proposals are due on Friday 10th September 2010. For more information, visit www.artsummit.org.
African Colours is also inviting African Cultural Policy Experts to register with the Connect-CP Database. The database links cultural policy experts and identifies experts for conferences and paid consultancy work. There are currently about 800 profiles from around the world, including 65 from Africa. To register, visit www.connectcp.org