African cities have been locations of tension and experimentation, as deep histories merge with new innovations and progressive ideas to make new cultures. Blending technology, innovation and art to communicate complex ideas, these creative expressions have reshaped and redefined the African continent. The people at the heart of these expressions are as diverse as the culture, architecture and languages that have emerged through thousands of years, though sometimes obscured by the remnants of history with colonialisms.
Public art has many functions in our communities. It can be an instrument to express community values, enhance the environment, and bring awareness to prevalent issues. We strongly believe that the creative economy is a dynamic mechanism for inclusive development on the continent and it is through public art that we hope to enhance Africa’s creativity.
Growing since conceptualisation in 2020 through the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), RISE Africa is a platform for thinkers and doers, where positive efforts to support the creative industry and African communities are actively reinforced. The emphasis is on bringing everyone together to focus and solve problems, rather than feeding into a system that prioritizes the maintenance of a hierarchy. RISE Africa is about translating Ideas into action. The themes centered around this years action session were Creativity | Agency | Urgency.
Facilitating Africa’s Creativity
On Wednesday 25th May 2022, BAZ-Art hosted an active session exploring how urbanism and public art can be used to stimulate the continent’s creativity. Panelists included Zimbabwean actress Tendaiishe Chitima, leading expert in international trade and investment Dr. Joy Kategekwa, curator Dr. Adewumi Kehinde. The session was chaired by BAZ-Art’s very own International Development Manager, Carla Ferreira. The session sought to recognise innovative yet practical, achievable ways towards a future of our creation. The realizations made between this diverse panel of African professionals forms part of the conceptualization phase of a continental creative project to spread awareness of Africa’s potential. The aim is to create a continental network of murals whilst educating the artists and communities at large about digitalization, and increase awareness about the possibilities of the AfCTFA.
Using open-ended questions amongst a diverse panel of experts in their respective fields, the session delved into the positioning of arts as a tool for communication and transformation amongst the various sectors. The panel called attention to the need to light up creativity within Africa, and reiterated that through creativity, participation and agency, we will not only be able to share our knowledge to materialize a future full of possibilities, but more importantly act to ensure sustainability and growth in Africa. We need to explore applied creativity in Urbanism and include art in certain sectors such as the public sector. To ensure protection for artists and the upliftment of the community, there is a need to formalize the sector, and navigate through the continent’s overwhelming issues to realize the possibilities of the present.
We are a young, dynamic continent who stands at the cusp of re-imagining our identity. Creativity for Africa is about embracing our history and indigenous knowledge, in order to unlearn and rebuild. We must be active in re-constructing our cities’ identities before our story is written for us.
Link to full session here HERE
There is a festival report HERE