Recently, Absolut Vodka created a campaign called One Source Live, an initiative that celebrates different African art styles and artists. The campaign draws on Absolut’s ‘one source’ philosophy and aims to show those who view African art simply as ‘curios’ that the continent is the ‘one source’ of all the world’s creativity and design.
The campaign culminated in a festival that was held in March this year. It showcased the artists that can be seen on their unique website, and it also offered outstanding African musicians for the easy-listening of those who attended. One Source Live is a veritable plethora of unique and creative African artists, with both local and national creators being showcased. Below are just some of the artists and musicians that One Source Live highlights.
Who was a part of the festival?
The Explorer: Trevor Stuurman
Trevor Stuurman is a South African fashion photographer who draws his inspiration from ‘the idea of home’, both celebrating and understanding it. The most important aspect of his work is not the lighting, composition or even the lenses he uses, but the story that his work tells.
Stuurman believes the One Source Live campaign is in line with his own values, and focuses on the changing perceptions about African art styles and how artists are seen by the world. His fashion photography is about more than just the clothes as he aims to provide a shifting emotional experience. For Stuurman, Absolut Vodka is more than just the ‘coolness’, but has a conscious message to send to the world. The videos and music that were shown at the festival also impacted Stuurman and showed him that change is being made that will affect how African art is shown and seen.
The Eye: Osborne Macharia
Osborne Macharia is a Kenyan photographer who is making waves in the African art world with his Afrofuturist photography. He has an astute ability to bring images to life with visual storytelling, and has been in the art industry for several years.
Macharia believes that creating art needs to have more than just a creative flair, but should have a message and meaning behind it. His work is rooted in portraying culture and identity, and his hope is that the African people, more specifically the Kenyan people, will see their culture and heritage as beautiful. Macharia is a huge fan of the One Source Live project and is delighted to be a part of something that is actively working towards subverting the traditional views on African art, music and design.
The Iron Warrior: Fabrice Monteiro
Fabrice Monteiro is a Benin-born photographer who makes art which uses the power of images to question society and invite the viewer to a conversation. He believes the One Source Live campaign is sincere and is much-needed for many young African artists.
Monteiro believes in promoting Africa and African creativity, and this can be seen in his unique pieces that highlight the way the continent has dealt with modernisation and Westernisation. Because he is mixed-race, he feels that his heritage of being both Beninese and European offers him a unique perspective.
Who will you find on the website?
The One Source Live website is still open for people to visit and upvote their favourite African art on. Here you will find an exciting variety of local and national artists, some of which are described below:
Mary Sibande: Mary Sibande is a South African artist whose work portrays satirical messages about post-apartheid South Africa. The focus of her sculptures is on ‘Sophie’, her own alter-ego and mannequin that is based on Sibande’s face. Her work shows a domestic worker and her dreams of freedom, shown by dressing ‘Sophie’ in an elaborate Victorian version of traditional domestic worker garb.
Laolu Senbanjo: Laolu Senbanjo is a Nigerian-born artist who celebrates his heritage through the use of stunningly intricate Yoruba body art. His body art has been featured in a Beyoncé ‘Lemonade’ music video, which has brought a significant amount of media attention to his work and African art in general. Many of his pieces have women as the central figure, thanks to his work as a human rights lawyer in Nigeria, and he addresses woman’s rights in much of his art.
Thandiwe Muriu: Thandiwe Muriu is a Kenyan photographer with a passion for fashion. She aims to highlight African beauty in her work by showcasing the different textures and tones of the diverse social groups across the continent. She uses African textures and patterns in a fashion-forward context and is changing the perspective that is traditionally held about African fashion and art.
One Source Live is a celebration of African art and creativity, and its purpose is a noble one. In order to change what the world is shown when they search for ‘African art’ online, they are asking everyone to take part and vote for the African artwork that speaks to their soul. This campaign is one of the first steps on the journey of creating exposure and awareness of contemporary African art.