Somi Nwandu curates a traveling exhibition series exploring reimagined African futures through the arts. Themed: AFROFUTOURISM: FIRST. FEMALE. FORWARD. It is an all-female digital artist international exhibition featuring 11 black female artists from different parts of the world. Marking the premier edition of this traveling ongoing series, FIRST. FEMALE. FORWARD. opens at Red Door Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria from 20th to 25th of March, 2022.
Over the past few decades, the scope of technology has critically transformed the face of Africa. Today, technology has also afforded the continent the most comprehensive and effective opportunity to rethink the Global African experience by examining the spectrum of technology, within many sectors and importantly within contemporary arts in the digital era. These technology-driven arts created today give way to more timely, expansive freedom for the black community to reimagine the global African experience/narrative.
AFROFUTOURISM is a traveling and ongoing exhibition series on African and Afro-descendant artists exploring a reimagined African future through a personal, societal or perspective while utilizing digital technology in their processes or presentations. FIRST. FEMALE. FORWARD. is this premier edition of this ongoing series. This exhibition includes selected women artists that utilize technology in their process and connect to the rest of the world with their cultural and personal interpretations. The group exhibition features digital art by: Karo Durojaiye, Jessi Jumanji, Uzo Njoku, Marcia Annor, Gherdai Hassell, Emi – Digital Excreta & Alexis Tsegba.
Karo Durojaiye is a Digital Artist, UX Designer, and Creative Consultant. Karo was born in Nigeria, raised in Ireland, and is currently based in the United States. Karo fuses art and technology to craft immersive visuals and emotive experiences. Guided by imagination and the spirit of innovation, her spheres of impact include the Ethics in Technology, Sustainability, and Conscious Living. Recently, she received her professional certification in Virtual & Augmented Reality from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which adds to her well-decorated background in Computer Science. Her work has circulated around notable spheres in the Afrofuturist Community and currently, a few of her pieces are featured in Carnegie Hall in New York.
Jessi Jumanii is a multifaceted visual artist from Memphis, TN, currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. With a proverbial fervor for history, nature, and the otherworldly, Jessi Jumanji’s artistry lends a contemplative perspective of the black experience, born of Africa via the Deep South. Exploring the many dimensions of Afrofuturism through digital collage and painting, Jessi inspirits the essence of Africa from antiquity to contemporary generations, illustrating the Motherland, reconciled with her past and optimistic for the future.
London based artist, Marcia Annor, has been honing her skills and creativity from a young age. While studying for a degree in Animation, she decided to teach herself digital illustration and graphic design. This led her to earning a Bachelor of Art in Animation from the University of Westminster as well as progressing her career to create illustrations for companies such as Tumblr, animated music videos, as well as illustrated covers for book publishing companies such as Penguin Random House. After going through an inner awakening, she began to find her style, inspiration and purpose for creating her unique pieces. She tackles the everyday challenges and subjects of humanity from race, love, poverty, homelessness, psychedelics, nature and so much more using digital and fine art mediums with the intention of creating art for the uprising of humanities consciousness.
Gherdai Hassell is a Bermudian born, China trained, multidisciplinary contemporary artist, writer and storyteller, based in Manchester, UK. Her work investigates memory and nostalgia to create unexpected narratives surrounding identity. She uses collage to thread and weave histories, and tales of transformation passed down through family lineages. Her work typically centers female bodies, simultaneously existing within realms of past, present, and future. Diasporic pasts become re-informed by Black futures, where the resulting present is experienced as a living “Artifacts”, an act toward afrofuturism. Her work is an exploration of identity as an exploration of materials, and social practice. The work suggests that identity should be self-determined and understood, and contextualized through connection with others. Her multimedia work reimagines relationships with the body as avatar, social space and the invisible world. Her artwork is a part of public and private collections across the world and on permanent display in the Government Administration Building, Hamilton, Bermuda. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions and biennials in Bermuda, USA, UK and China. Cherdai is currently an MFA candidate at the China Academy of Art.
Digital Excreta works as a digital landfill. Full of discarded beauty standing strong in a field of decay: exploring the sublime.From Dallas, Texas, Digital Excreta works in various digital mediums with 2D and 3D art. Exploring the infinite possibilities of New Media and watching human ideas manifest themselves through the web, her work expresses the beauty in embracing chaos life presents and creating something new. Fortitude is a fundamental aspect of true beauty and that beauty is represented with Afro-futuristic expressions. It is all a journey of strength and diligence through the chaotic digital space, accelerating towards a new era. Her work has been featured in various galleries and magazines around the world physically and digitally.
Somi Nwandu is a multidisciplinary artist, an art curator, and cultural enthusiast. Somi has had the opportunity to plan, develop and showcase major initiatives in globally recognized institutions like Tom Ford, Macy’s, Art Dubai and more. Most recently, she oversaw external affairs and communications at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African art in Washington D.C.
She recently completed her MA in Global Creative and Cultural Industries from SOAS University of London while actively pursuing her arts.