Dance is a form of non-verbal communication for expressing human experiences, which in the course of time has developed into a form of art. Brazil is a land of many popular dances that contain the elements of African, Portuguese and European dance forms. Samba, Carimbo, Capoeira, Forro, Coco, Cacuria, Jongo, Lundu and other dances are some of the famous dances of Brazil.
Here are 10 traditional Brazilian dances worth knowing about.
As the symbol of Brazil, any good list about traditional Brazilian dances has to start with samba. Samba is a Brazilian music genre and dance style notable for its fast footwork and flowing hip swings which, when coupled with the beats of a steel drum, seems to leave spectators in a trance. Its origins lie in the west coast of Africa, coming to Brazil through slavery. It is the music genre and dance most closely linked to Rio de Janeiro.
Some believe that samba was derived from the word ‘semba’, which signifies a navel bump in Kimbundo, the African Bantu language, and symbolizes the invitation to dance from a man to a woman. ‘Semba’ is also an infinitive of ‘kusamba’, which means ‘to pray’, or to appeal for the favor of the Gods or ancestors by singing and dancing. So, the dance was an indispensable part of the religious ceremonies.
Jongo – sometimes known as caxambu – was brought over to Brazil through slavery and is thought to have originated from Angola. The dance is sometimes referred to as an ancient form of samba and a performance of jongo does prove that the step work is often very similar. Lively and spirited, the dance is performed to a harmonious group of people singing and playing simple instruments. It is sometimes associated with Umbanda, a religion with roots in Africa.
The Jongo is still widely practiced today in various cities: The Vale do Paraíba in the Southeast region of Brazil, to the South of the state of Rio de Janeiro and to the North of São Paulo.
Although not fully classified as a dance, it is a unique combination of martial arts, dance and acrobatics. To spectators, the hypnotizing music and fluidity of the moves certainly appear dance-like. Capoeira is another dance that has an African origin, coming over to Brazil through slavery. The moves include fast-paced sweeps, kicks and dodges with the lower body playing out most of the moves whilst the upper body balances the actions.
Lundu is also a dance form brought by the Enslaved Africans, and it became very popular in Brazil during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The basic musical instruments involved are guitar, piano and drum. This dance also involves the use of handkerchief and castanets, an instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood, or bone, and is held between the thumb and the fingers.
Xote is a typical type of forro dance that is incredibly versatile and has several variations across the country. Blending both European and African influences, it also incorporates elements of salsa, mambo and rumba, depending on the region in Brazil.
Black is King or a marvelous narration of black pride that displays black beauty, strength and culture through Disney’s Lion king protagonist Simba, journey with the music of The Gift curated by Beyoncé. The film premiered the 31th of July on Disney+ and the next day on African platform like DSTV, Canal+ …
After getting amazed by these high quality visuals with dances, rhythm and researched aesthetics with the collaboration of our amazing creatives from African countries through direction, fashion and filming production we have to point out and show those references that made us lift up from our chairs.
The film was in work since 2019, proving again that Beyoncé’s NDA contracts have enough power to silence anybody. We’ve seen colors, Afrofuturism aesthetic but most importantly blackness through ages and all over the world.
Beyoncé represents an ancestor that will follow the young king into his trip and teach him about the circle of life and witness every moment of his ascending to be a king despite sadness, anger and lost of his own self, from his dreams, and his new accomplished life with Nala and their new baby. In this narrative Beyonce amplifies women gift to give life and show that women are in the center of the creation of the world.
Through African Tradition
The symbol of White
The first scene revolves around Baptism, like the birth of Simba in the circle of life. We can see ancestors, priests sagging and priestess with Calabasas washing children faces and feet, holding flowers and praying. In many African cultures white means “Purity” and also remind us of Komians women in Akan societies, these women considered as medium were able to be in contact with the spirit world and ours. They wore white, had nude feet and could see the future and always accompanies the King and royal family in their reign through protection and even afterwards, whe he passes.
The ceremony use body paint on the young king by his ancestors that solidify his status, and ritual of purification as young king, it reminds us of kaolin (White Clay) that is used in ritual and symbolize joy (Dan people with yangbah dance), peace and mourn, cultural ceremonies in Akan societies and all over west African tribes. Even the Fang of Cameroon and Myene in Gabon, the dead will cross the river of tears to become a spirit , in Gabon the Ogooue they use white clay also to represent ghosts.
But white is also refered in ancient Egypt as mourning, it symbolize death through mummification of passed pharaohs, shroud that can be seen in Nile video clip that represents “The king has died” after Simba’s naivety and fight against the image of funeral always symbolized by black in western societies.
The use of Calabasas is really symbolic, a non-edible fruit that grows in Africa and America that isused to create utensil, musical instrument (balafon, maracas, djembe), its round form is a symbol of cosmic energy and women that are the perfect recipient for holding life. For example in Yoruba’s Orisha myth, Odudua and Obatala merge like two half Calabasas form the universe and represent the duality of the creation of the world.
Snakes can be seen as evil creatures in western religious belief, but in many tribes in Benin, togo vodun, and even dogon tribe where they represent their past immortal ancestors, they are seen as sacred, protectors. The Nommo androgynous twins of dogon is a python.
African spirituality is rooted in animal source of power and image of spirit and are used to portrays divinity and venerence. We can see a bull head of batammaribain Benin and Togo, mursi women in Ethiopia, the bull was a symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt whose horns were worn by Hathor goddess of love, family and also by Odiani people of igbo.
Golden and Divine status
Many great scenes representing the masai jumping contest in suit From Kenya and Tanzania. We’ve seen lot of wraps display in plenty of scenes, represent symbol of marriage, status. The lip disc from east Africa, popular in Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and are symbol of social status too.
The Akan crown, golds and umbrella Ohenekyinnie that means authority over his people. Omo people in Ethiopia, Guere in cote d’ivoire, mastered the art of body painting as cultural expression in Africa and flowers head pieces.
Scenes about balance reminds of Maat one of the most known goddess in Egypt, without forgetting Gods in Vodun Liza and Mawu through he portrayal of good and bad, light and dark that cannot exist without one another.
Adinkra symbol, one of the first written languages from Akan (Most popular in Ghana), is represented in this scene, and this sign is a symbol of wealth, power abundance and solidarity.
Red ochre by Himba women in Naminia mixed with cow milk is used to to protect their skin from the sun, give them a beautiful rich hydrated skin. Their thick hair symbolize fertility. In the film they are symbolising duality of male female spirits/ancestors .
We can see art from the Ndebele of south Africa, Masai jewelries of kenya, celebration of love and return back to the values of motherland that is the real royalty, not the crown and artifacts.
This visual send us far than earth, but to the creation of the world through the Dogon people, a tribe living in west Africa (Mali, Cote d’ivoire…) that refused the arrival of islam and Christianity and have a belief deeply rooted into nature, celestial bodies as the universe and their knowledges of space, astronomy till this day fascinating modern day scientist. In their spirituality the universe was created by the Amma and this God created the earth who was a women and fertilizes her to creates Nommo an androgenous twin deities and its first inhabitants to represens duality. They even have masks that represent the movement of the sun called Sirige. Beyonce represents every celestial mentioned in their tale like the stars, the sun, Sirius, Comet, Black Hole, the pleiade seven sisters to portray how the dance of all these bodies created the world like the dogon speak of in their oral tradition.
We can see green man that represents water genie in Bambara, dogon, Azuza of west Africa (Ghana, benin, togo) pygme genie male, Congo with ireyi cult Toula in Niger, also created by the foam of the sea.
We can see Kanaga masks wore by the Awa society, a mask that is used in a ceremony called Dama and establish the connection between the earth and the sky to usher the sprits and accompany the dead into the spirit world that show this vision of the creation of the world to the young king and his ancestors portrayed by the stars. They always pay homage to their first ancestors like mufasa showing his ancestors to simba.
Representation of Black Beauties
In brown skin girl, The film is pushing Black girls and woman in Disney spaces and is a real statement on universial beauty that misrepresented in its film and Disney princesses. Those girls that beauty is and always have been undeniable through their versatility and diverse characteristics, the song praises darker skin in this colorist society, an ode to black beauty portrayed through Kelly Rowland, Naomi Campbell. She portrays young girls in contemporary princess outfit thinking about cendrillon ballroom, reference to Rapunzel with huge braided hair, Beyonce included herself as Rapunzel, to celebrate versatility in Afro.
We’ve Fulani braids, bantu knots , Nigerian hair scuplture, hair from Hamer people of Ethiopia, mangbetu with lipombo skull elongation which is a sign of beauty intelligence and power making us think about Nefertiti representing beauty through ages.
Beauty universiality and blackness through the world with south/east Asia where colorism is harsh and economy allow the commercialization and encouragement of bleaching.
African Women bodies
Busiswa wearing Isicholo of zulu, is celebrating african woman curves that have been demonized and sexualized all these years reference to Saartjie Baartman a south african enslaved woman that lived a terrible life because of racism. The hips movement like the earth reminds of assiko dance in Cameroon or dances in Congo that are centered on the hips.
African Spirituality and water (Like Fela says water no gets enemy)
Water is source of life, purification to baptize, regeneration and is important in the circle of life (Ships were seen as trip to the afterlife).
Its very important in African spirituality. We’ve seen her dance with water, on water (river) mazina maganda an Uganda dance to vibrate and bring life to the water. She pays homage to african deities that are connected with water , the orishas from Yoruba mythology, that she mentionned that accompanied the young king through his fight for enlightment, we can mention Yemaya (igbo) also Mami watta in Benin, Togo, vodun, Faro in mali link to Niger river and has a strong relationship with water through music reminds of blues,in saheli tribe where water is a necessity which they are always seeking for.. We remember that the Nile was the center that explain how African migrated through the whole continent, Abla Pokou that sacrified her child to save her people (Baoule myth), water has memory and recover the truth and hold our spirituality, water and woman share life that they give. In mali they have a strong relationship with water, nobody can exist without water. The image of African women taking charges on their head in calabases walking kilometers to get safe water from well or rivers for their family.
Through Lion King
In Mood 4 eva, we can see a display of eccentricity and careless and fantasy world that reminds African dictators through presidential wealthy mandate like Mobutu and Marie Antoinette in RDC with his cheetah famous hat. Its represent the famous phrase “Hakuna Matata” which is a celebration of life. The animal prints are here to remind us of the animals in Lion King the film, we have the morning report by Zazu reference with beyonce reading her morning paper, and the flamingo scene with synchonised dancers in the pool with pink. This dream will send Simba into a world where he will only see his fantasies that scramble his perspection of reality and build his illusion of happiness to ignore his worries.
We can see Beyonce in a tree as Rafiki in Already and others scene th Lion King’s fans will love.
Black is king is a counterbalance narrative towards the hate, incomprehension towards Black people in the world ! Lets seek wealth, real royalty that are not represented by monarchy but by our community values, knowledge and love for each other.
It’s a small Brazilian fritter made from black-eyed peas. The dish uses onions and ground dried shrimp to give it an extra punch in flavor. They’re shaped into balls and deep-fried in boiling azeite dende also known as Brazilian palm oil. The balls are then split in half and filled vatapa, a creamy paste made from finely ground peanuts, shrimp and coconut milk.
To elaborate, you need to soak the peas overnight and strip their skins. This will include the black “eyes”, making it tedious but often optional. But if you opt to do this, you’re rewarded with a creamier texture for the final dish.
History of Acaraje
Acaraje originated from Western Africa, that’s why you can also find it on Nigeria and Ghana. But after getting to the Americas, it became more popular in Salvador, Brazil as street food. Women in Bahia made and sold the dish as well.
It is popular with the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria and Sierra Leoneans. In Ghana, it is a popular breakfast dish, eaten with millet or corn pudding while in Nigeria it is eaten with bread, ogi or eko, a type of cornmeal made with fine corn flour.
In the Yoruba culture, akara plays a significant role when a person assumes the age of 70 or dies. It is fried in large quantity and distributed across every household close to the deceased. Back in the day, the cake was also prepared in large numbers as a sign of victory when warriors returned victorious from war. Wives of the warriors fried it and distribute to fellow villagers as gratitude for the safe return of their husbands.
In Sierra Leone, akara aside being a street snack, is usually prepared upon the birth of a child, a wedding, funeral or party.
The dish, made from peeled beans formed into a ball and then deep-fried in palm oil or vegetable oil, is found in West African and Brazilian cuisines. It was sent to the Americas, especially Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia by the West Africa enslaved from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Mali, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
With that, the dish became part of the “heritage culture” of Bahia. Its ceremony of certification happened at the headquarters of the National Institute of Artistic and Historic Heritage in Salvador. The ceremony featured a lot of proud women, serving lots of trays to everyone.
The dish’s name is a funny mistake since its real name is “acara”. But women from the Yoruba ethnical group selling these shout “acara -je”, meaning, “I have acara”.
Acarajé is sold on Brazil’s streets but here it is variously made with fried beef, mutton, dried shrimp, pigweed, fufu osun sauce and coconut. Distinct sellers wear all-white cotton dresses and headscarves and caps. The bean cake is reported to have made its way to Bahia in the 19th century.
Earnings from its sale was used to sometimes buy the freedom of enslaved family members until the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888 while serving as a source of family income. It also has a notable presence in Sergipe and the markets of Rio de Janeiro.
Acarajé serves as both a religious offering to the gods in the Candomblé religion and as street food.
As an essential ritual food used in Afro-Brazilian religious traditions such as Candomblé, it is offered to the orixá Exu. They vary in size based on their offering to a specific deity: large, round acarajé are offered to Xangô; smaller ones in form are offered to Iansã. Small, fritter-size acarajé are offered to Erês, or child spirits. Acarajé is used in Candomblé rituals in the states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Maranhão.
Acarajé was listed as a federal immaterial asset (patrimônio nacional imaterial), by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage in 2004; the role of baianas in the preparation and sale of acarajé was recognized in the same act.
Today, acarajé represents a good example of how African influences have been shaping Brazil’s cultural heritage and its culinary identity.
A new visual album written, directed and executive produced by Beyoncé is on its way.
Black Is King will celebrate Black resilience and culture, and premiere globally on Disney+ on July 31, according to a press release. The album is based on the music of The Lion King: The Gift, the Beyoncé-curated soundtrack album for the Lion King animated remake released last July, in which she voiced the character of Nala.
The film, which was in production for one year, will star the album’s featured artists as well as special guest appearances. A minute-long teaser video is available on Beyoncé’s website.
The press release says the album honors the voyages of Black families throughout time, and tells the story of a young king’s journey through betrayal, love and self-identity. Guided by his ancestors, father and childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his “home and throne.”
“These timeless lessons are revealed and reflected through Black voices of today, now sitting in their own power,” it reads. Black Is King “is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture. The film highlights the beauty of tradition and Black excellence.”
From the mind-blowing 1-minute trailer, you will notice South African stars such as Warren Masemola, Connie Chiume, Nandi Madida, Moonchild Sanelly and Nyaniso Dzedze and Nigeria’s very own Yemi Alade.
The visual album will debut on Disney+ on 31 July 2020. This has to be somehow weird because the platform is not even available in Africa, even though this is also to showcase the continent’s talent. Hopefully, this will be available in a more accessible platform.
We are spotlighting the work of five Afro-Latinx whose work you should be listening to. These five poets are an excellent starting point for understanding the power of poems as social commentary and gaining perspective on the Afro-Latinx experience.
Yomibas, is a painter best known for his hyper-realistic style. Born in Kaduna State, Nigeria, in 1995, his early work is a compilation of random photographs that depict his expressions of his experiences and observations. He developed an early interest in portraiture, exploring the power of the medium with the aim of connecting his viewers to his subjects.
Can you tell us more about your background and when you first started painting?
My full name is Abbas Yomi Segun, Born on January 15th 1995 in Nigeria and raised in kaduna state, the northern part of Nigeria. I have no background in the arts, wasn’t taught it, I learned from my life experiences. I believe our world is made of art and signs and if we know the language the world is made of then we can read our way through. Art has always been a way for me, fun and growing up it flowed effortlessly, I pretty much left everyone with a piece of art which is also a piece of myself. Money wasn’t a drive for me, thou I made little cash which helped fund my life. I literally have no idea when or how I started, I had no dreams as to what or who to become, I’ve always kept an open mind and pretty much accepted life as it happened, made my first oil painting in high school which later became know and was used for an entry. I realized there was something for me in the arts after high school, seeing the internet came through and all I had to do was make art and put this works out there, how to achieve this became my process, I had no mentor or anyone to hold my hands and say this is the part, i kept failing, learning and growing. The process became my drive.
How did you came to pursue a creative path?
My creative journey started professionally when I stumbled upon the works of Teenez Martinez on a newspaper, a highly known Nigeria pencil artist who became someone I placed on my mental pedestal and I slowly followed his steps without his knowledge and after couple emails and dms, he finally agreed to meet. We became friends and then it grew with time. So my creative path started when I started ripping out people’s works from magazines, articles and newspaper and also the internet, being a visual platform made me realize with dedication and consistency I can play my part on the art world.
Describe your evolution as a visual artist?
Evolution is key, like the famous Quote by Stephen Johnson “we build the tool and the tool builds us” so I believed in the process not only for the desired goal but also for who I will become in the process. It’s a great one but I enjoyed eating dirts and having those sleepless night because it created the desire to grow, to evolve and to become.
Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve created?
I don’t have a favorite piece so far, all pieces are extensions of myself and when put together one can make sense of my whole experience. So yeah, no favorite piece till date.
What are the central themes of your work?
My works revolves around Imagination, consciousness and the individual journey as the sole cause of the phenomena of his life. I try to portray my conscious experiences in portrait form, it’s a deliberate and conscious effort to force to viewer to see through the lenses I gave. For me, ones I have made a piece of art, then I’ve it to remind myself of what I felt when I contemplated the idea, and if I can show you then it makes the experience less acute. Like Williams Blake clearly states “Man is all imagination and all things exist in the human imagination, all that we behold thou it appears without , it is within in which this world of mortality is but a shadow. So I believe everything is taking place now, so it’s my job to pause for a minute and capture the experience. I believe it’s always the artist who senses that the future is now and thereby uses his works as a ground to prepare for tomorrow, the artist has a unique outside perspective and he is not like stuck to the empirical data’s of our society. He makes unique connections.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future? Are you working on any particular projects?
I think the base of my paintings won’t change because it says a lot about who we are as a culture and also what we have chosen to forget, so as I remember and awake to this states, I will continue to transcend them in my work but I think the base will not change which is “man is all imagination and all things exist within man, the outside world are just an extension of what takes place within him” I just rounded up my Awakening series which consisted of 12paintings completed over the course of 2years, so am open to seeing what lies ahead for me, so for now no precise projects, just collaborations. I believe as I open myself to experiencing the outside world, something will sip in for my next project.
If you could sit down and have a meal with one artist/designer/musician in the world, who would it be and why?
Without a doubt, I will take “Neville Goddard” and “Williams Blake” I have been studying their works for years now and to have that come true will just be a dream come true, besides they are dead. But to come down to contemporary structure, I would love a meal with Cj Hendry, Kehinde Wiley, Marco grasi and Mike Dargas, Just to mention a few, I chose them for the simple reason that their works have greatly impacted the way I do things and if you look closely, you will see their influences in my pieces.
Tell us a bit about where you were born and where you are living now. Are all these places important to your identity and to your artwork?
I was born and raised in Nigeria, the northern part, born in a small town called Barnawa. Had a simple upbringing, supported greatly by both parents, am the 2nd amongst 4kids to whom all were boys. Am the only one who reflected a desire for creation, was quite the task as one can’t get attention off oneself being the only creative in the house. Environment played a key role in my career part but as time went by, I realized that one has to tune into another frequency if one is to succeed or keep the fire burning, as we all know the mindset that goes with being an artist, mostly neglected and looked upon as the most irrelevant beings in society. So as I grew up, I had to make my environment within my mind, I listened to positivity 24/7 , kept a very little circle and avoided the blind desires of men who don’t know who they are. This played a key role to my process, self reliance is key to the artist and also to any career path that one chooses to follow.
Africa is a new economic frontier where young people are shaping Africa’s future. What do they want to see, hear and read that will inspire them to embrace African arts and culture?
I think art is very individual considering the fact that none can or will ever be able to think, do or act like we will. So every artist tells a story if we only we listen, no work or art is irrelevant. So I strongly believe the culture, society and minds are eagerly awaiting the manifestation of the artist, no Audience comes with expectation to see a play, they only come to be marveled, inspire , impressed or to be critical and if the play is good, you get an applause but if it’s not they won’t come back, so yeah, the artist must love solitude and believe that he/she is creating because everything with depth has a profound truth and the world awaits and hungers for truth
It can be argued that Africa’s time is now. How do we prepare to take full advantage of the opportunities that are constantly unfolding in front of us? More importantly how does the African contemporary art establishment position itself to emerge as a ‘global player’ whose voice can be heard and respected?
I will advice on this, we have to adopt the infinite mindset and not the finite mindset, the solution is to range against the dying of the light with art, with poetry, with great music and to not go quietly into the good night sleep at the moment end of the day. So the infinite mindset is one that is not about victory or losses but about a continuous struggle of adventure, curiosity, bewilderment and one of awe in which we try not to win or be first but to be, to create and to inspire, if we make this our mantra and keep in the back of our minds, not only will there be a revolution but we will set the foundation to which others will and can stand. As Allan Harrington said “we must never forget that we are cosmic revolutionaries not studious conscripted to advance the natural order that kills everyone, having invented the gods, we can turn into them” or as Williams Blake clearly states “in the universe, there are things know And there are things unknown andin between there are doors” so in my opinion if the artist is to create a genuine work he must be willingly to open that door which leads to truth and virtue.
Africa is often portrayed as a starving continent, which is ignoring the fact that centuries before colonizers began depleting the region of its resources, Africans had advanced food systems in place. When enslaved Africans were taken to the Americas, they brought their culinary wisdom with them, forever changing the way we cook and consume food.
Since the 17th century, When Africans were forced into slavery in the New world, they and their descendants have had a round impact on what Americas grow and eat. Watermelon, Okra, Yams, and some peppers are all indigenous in Africa.
Here are seven foods that originated in Africa that remain popular today:
The continent of Africa is bursting with festivals and music celebrations preserving our heritage and culture. Throughout the whole continent, colourful and vibrant festivals range through musical, religious, cultural and harvest to name just a few. Some of these festivals are popular and attract crowds from around the world, but all offer a distinctive form of celebration that highlights the wide array of African cultures and customs.
If you plan on journeying to the Motherland this year, Here are festivals from various countries around the continent you shouldn’t miss when you visit this magical place.
Bouake Carnival – Ivory Coast
Each year in March, natives and tourists join together to enjoy music and eat traditional foods during The Bouake Carnival. The celebration, held at St. Michael’s Cathedral, is known as a celebration of life and friendship. Tourists and natives join together to enjoy great music, eat traditional foods, explore the cultural markets and join in the well- known street parties and parades. So if you are looking for a hot spot, or maybe even a little culture shock, you should definitely go and check one of West Africa’s largest Carnivals, Bouake Carnival.
The Festival Of Roses – Morocco
If you plan to be in Morocco in May, then head to theFestival of Roses held in the small town of Kalaat M’Gounna. The city is known for its beautiful landscape of pink Persian roses, which is why locals celebrate the flowers. The three-day celebration filled with food, dancing, and singing attracts more than 20,000 people every year! The streets are then covered with a blanket of roses for shows and concerts of Berber groups. You can of course also shop in the souks or even learn how rose water is made. On the last day of the festival, one of the most beautiful women in town will be elected as the Miss Roses of that particular year.
Nyege Nyege – Uganda
Nyege Nyege stands for peace, love, and abundant joy, for underground music and musicians in Africa, according to event organizers.
The four-day international music festival aims to showcase “The Pearl of Africa” through music and art.
Zanzibar International Film Festival – Tanzania
Established in 1997, the Zanzibar International Film Festival is East Africa’s largest film and arts festival, exhibiting the latest and best films and promoting films, music, art, and design.
In addition to nine straight days of music and film screenings, attendees have the chance to attend discussion panels and workshops.
Cape Town International Jazz Festival– South Africa
Affectionately referred to as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering”, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is the largest music event in sub-Saharan Africa. The festival is famous for its star-studded line up of local and international artists.
Last week we had a chat with Okiinshowara from Ivory coast, We continue our series of discoveries of African creatives. We are pleased to feature Derrick O Boateng from Ghana.He is a contemporary Art photographer who was born in Ghana and resides in Accra.
Portraying beauty is one of Derrick’s main aims, because he strives to change perceptions about Ghana and Africa in general through his Art.
Hi, can you introduce yourself to our readers… Who is Derrick O Boateng?
I am Derrick Ofosu Boateng. I was born on the 2nd of June. I attended Kumasi High school in the Ashanti Region of Ghana and I am currently a student at the University of Ghana business school. I am a fan of Soccer, music and watching movies.
How did your encounter with photography come about?
My encounter into Photography was quite Unexpected. I realized I was into photography when followers on Instagram kept commenting under my post that I had Good images and should keep it up.
How powerful is photography in changing people’s perceptions about Africa?
Photography has always being a Tool to interact with different people in different places. The stories told with photography are exceptional, emotional and live. Some Photographies portray Africa in a positive way and it strongly changes the perception and mindset about Africa. I have had so many testimonies on the fact that my photography has changed their perceptions about Africa and it feels so great.
Can you talk us througha specific example of a photo you have taken and its “back story”? What inspired you to take this specific image? What specifically about the situation you witnessed did you want to capture?
“The story about this man and lots of people I have listen, who have similar stories inspired me to
create this picture.”
I spoke to Baba Abdul Mohammed about his cloth business and why he came to Ghana. Baba Abdul Mohammed is from Niger and he is in Ghana to make a better living to reach his family in Niger. I asked him why he came to Ghana and he explained to me that making life better in His country is a bit difficult as compared to Ghana. He also said, aside from his cloth business, he does sell herbal medicine and beads.
He ended saying he finds peace and freedom living in Ghana.
Is there a particular story you are trying to tell with your photography?
Who or what influences you?
My main mission as a photographer is to change the bad perceptions and mindset about Africa. Also, I want my pictures to promote love among People. I also want to showcase the rich and extraordinary lifestyles and cultures of We Africans which the world has not recognized.
Where do you see the future of photography heading within the continent? What is the future?
Photography in Africa is growing with Time and it looks great. A lot of young people have started fond interest in it and they are changing the world with their images. I see African Photographers winning all big competitions and changing the lives of people.
What is your creative process like? Where do you start? Where do you get your ideas?
My Creative process is quite simple and easy. Firstly I find concepts and it normally comes from the environment, People, music, and imaginations. I search for the needed materials for the
pictures. I then look for preferable models and locations for the pictures. I personally direct the
models and shoot them. After the shoot, I sit quietly and edit
What is your particularity and your unique selling point as a Ghanaian creative?
I think my unique selling point is the type of images I bring out and the inspiration People get from. A lot of people see my uniqueness as clock blocks and others also think the use of children which are fine.
According to you, what is the way for creative Africans to make themselves known and make a living from their art?
I think the best way to get known as a creative person is to work hard and be very consistent on your work. I believe everyone should have a particular style as a creative in order for his works to be known everywhere. Branding and interacting with people who appreciate your works is also very important
What is it like to be a young creative in your country and whatare your daily struggles as a young Ghanian creative?
The Problem as a young creative is no interest and value from the People in our localities. My struggles are difficulties in finding some needed materials for a project and a lack of enough capital to finish a project.