Runako: »Ghosted« African Aesthetics – To the Fore And Into the Future

Dananayi Muwanigwa, Harare/Zimbabwe — Mrz 27, 2018

Dananayi Muwanigwa, Runako, Ghosted, 2018

The project I propose to work on is an exploration of traditional African beauty/aesthetics and what it could look like in the future.

I aim to work on sketches, digital paintings, and GIFs of characters with attire and accessories inspired by prominent African tribes and juxtapose them with futuristic imagery. My objective is to challenge Western notions of beauty by bringing »ghosted« African aesthetics to the fore and taking them into the future.

For years African perceptions of beauty had been affected by Western and Eastern media. In recent times there has been a rise in new outlooks on traditional African beauty. This change is evidenced by the popularity of blogs such as Nubiamancy, African Digital Art, and Young Black Artists, to name a few.

In 2018 Marvel’s Black Panther grossed over a billion USD worldwide. The film flaunted Afro-futuristic aesthetics, borrowing from the Basotho (Lesotho), Ejagham (Nigeria), Ndebele (South Africa/Zimbabwe), ovaHimba (Namibia), Maasai (Kenya/Tanzania), Dahomey (Republic of Benin), Igbo (Nigeria), Benin (Nigeria), Mursi (Ethiopia), and Kente (Ghana). I believe it is important for Africa to define its own standard of beauty and aesthetics. Black Panther’s success is a sign of the significant growth of the collective perception of traditional African beauty (Runako).

The project aims to further contribute to Africa’s cultural capital using digital art as a medium.

Dananayi Muwanigwa

Dananayi Muwanigwa is a 28-year-old self-taught digital illustrator based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

He uses 2 primary tools to produce his work, namely a Wacom drawing tablet and Adobe Dananayi has been using digital painting as a medium for the past 6 years drawing inspiration from Afrofuturism, fantasy and entertainment media.

In 2017 Dananayi was part of the Fak‘ ugesi Digital Art Residency where he collaborated with Julia Hango and Kombo Chapfika.
The Residency led to his first solo Augmented Reality exhibition in Harare funded by British Council Zw.

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