In his imagery he manages to capture a sense of nostalgia, whilst staying in the present at the same time. Lakin Ogunbanwo, 27 years old, former law student and self-taught photographer, has seen his work featured on the pages of British GQ, iD magazine, WSJ and the New York Times. Most recently his work was exhibited at São Paolo’s Mário de Andrade Library, preceded by exhibitions in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London and his native Lagos.
The topic of LGBT rights remains a sensitive one in his birth country Kenya. Nevertheless, Tahir Karmali was eager to enter into that dialogue through his controversial Value exhibit, which he opened in Nairobi last year. Value is a portrait series focused around a group of Kenyan male sex workers. For the project, each male sex worker was photographed posing with an item that is of special value to him. Currently based in New York, the 27-year-old has exhibited his works across Cape Verde, Morocco, Tunisia, Malaysia, Spain, Germany and Switzerland’s Art Basel. In his next project, Karmali will explore racial prejudice and the interracial identity.
He started drawing at the age of 5, inspired by some of his favorite Cartoon Network characters. Born and raised in Ghana, 23 years old, illustrator and animator. Gyimah Gariba got noticed internationally when his visual adaptions, based on each song from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne album, started circulating around the web. The same thing goes for most of his celebrity artwork by the way, in which Rihanna, the “Yoncé girls” and an Oscar-winning Lupita Nyong’O have each served as protagonist. More recently the Accra-native partnered with Marvel, for a superheroes-meet-hip-hop art project.
The Zimbabwean mixed media artist slash political activist, was forced to leave his country after using art, as a way to voice his disapproval regarding president Robert Mugabe. Today, at the age of 34, Kudzanai lives and works in South Africa, while ever discussing politics and a variety of other issues through his works. Chiurai became the first black student to graduate with a Bachelor degree in fine art at the University of Pretoria, and may consider Richard Branson and Elton John amongst his buyers.
Though currently a fashion student at Ghana’s Radford University College in Accra, Papa Oppong’s claim to fame comes from his work as an illustrator. His fan art of names including Rihanna and Kelly Rowland – which he avidly shares across his social media platforms – have turned his instagram account into a must-follow amongst various celebrities. Furthermore, the 23-year-old has worked on commissioned projects for cosmetics giant M.A.C. and Dutch wax fabric company Vlisco. His next project? Becoming an internationally recognized fashion designer.