As promised last week, here an African Diaspora who is using the concept of
The Ife Heads in his graphic design.
Delano Limoen is a graphic designer from Amsterdam, Netherlands, and both the co-founder and creative director at Nozem; and art director at Air . Limoen began his career as an illustrator at Venhuis in 2010, then moved onto Abovo media in 2011, he later joined Air, in 2014 where he started as a freelance designer and at present he works there as the art director. In 2012, he co-founded Nozem with Lorenzo Pinto. At present Limoen specialises in branding, illustrations, custom typography and film. Limoen is relevant to my practice, because his works incorporates African Themes in his logo designs. Since, 2015, I have begun to make use of African names for start-ups, trademarks and platforms, including in logos.
The Original series of Hip-hop heads, is one of Limeon’s illustrations, which is a collection of Hip hop artists heads, featuring Snoop Dogg (Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr.), Nicky Minaj (Onika Tanya Maraj) and Jay Z (Shawn Corey Carter) who are some of the most successful and influential rappers in the music industry. Although Limeon is not near an African community, he draws from the social influence which he is exposed to, as Clive Kellner (2007: 23) explains they are “informed by differing socio-historical factors and influenced by the process of globalisation” as well as Marcel Daniels (2014: i) statement an Afropolitan contemporary artists explore ways on how to survive in their current worlds or realities through redefining race, their ethnicity, and what otherness means to them, to form their new identity.
In this case he draws from Hip hop, which has strong roots in the African culture, and more specifically African Diasporas. Since in 1973, Kool DJ Herc, of Jamaican origin, is observed to cultivate Hip hop in South Bronx, New York city (Blanchard 1999). Hip-hop music is considered to have been pioneered in New York Dozens can be traced back to Igbos of Nigeria and referred to as Ikocha Nkocha (Chimezie 1976: 403). Similarly, in my culture and mother-tongue, Oshiwambo, Dozen is referred as okutema. Furthermore, there is another speech that is similar to Hip-hop, however this one does not aim to ridicule, but to praise. I was unable to locate books or articles on it, nevertheless it is referred to as okwii tanga or to praise speech, and it is usually done by Awambo men.
Biggie with his crown, is an illustration part of the Hip hop head series, which pays tribute to Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie. Limoen imitates the social significance of the Ife heads which were created to honour both the living and deceased Ooni (Nigerian kings) (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Similary, Limoen illustrates Wallace’s crown, just as the Ife heads maintain their crowns.
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Africa’s Ancient Civilization (2017) video, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) 27 February, viewed: 9 April 2017. Available at: http://www.pbs.org/video/2365943926/ [Accessed 12 April 2017].
Chimezie, A. (1976) ‘The Dozens: An African-Heritage Theory’. Journal of Black Studies. 6 (4) June. pp. 401–420.
Childs, P. & Williams R.J.P. (1997) An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory. London: Prentice Hall.
Kellner, C. (2007) ‘Notes from Down South: Towards Defining Contemporary African Practice’. In Njami, S. African Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent. Johannesburg Art Gallery: Johannesburg.