Digimodernism (I)

Today, I was conducting research on post postmodernism.  Postmodernism is the theme of the era, that comes after modernism, which is responsible for many of the social and cultural problems we face today. Postmodernism, aims to challenge and distract the modernist ideals and concepts. Although postmodernism has shaped and brought about the world we live today, it has come to an end and we the current generations need to find ways which are both suitable, effective and relevant with what we are currently experiencing.

Therefore, I started looking for what comes after postmodernism. I trebled upon  five concepts: post-postmodernism, trans-postmodernism, post-millennialism, metamodernism and pseudo-modernism or digimodernism,  of defining the era after postmodernism according to each domain.

The first, post-postmodernism was brought about by Tom Turner, a landscape architect and urban planner in 1995. Which was more concern with the physical: urban planning and designing. The second, trans-postmodernism, which was coined by, Slavist Mikhail Epstein, a Russian-American, in 1990. It is more concerned with evolution of concepts of modernity including but not limited to truth, ideality, primary origin, objectivity and subjectivity.

To be continued…


End of year review

Did not have time to upload the end of year review. Seeing that today is the last day of 2017. I will leave this here and update it at a later stage.

A sit at the table

Nawadein Logo-01

Nawadein logo by PriDegree Designs

This week, I have been doing research on my lasted project Nawadein; and funny enough I ran into the Century Guild. It was amazing was to find that fighting get a sit at the table did not start with us and it is not a racial, geographic or social phenomena; it is based on time. With each paradigm shift comes a new challenge.

Below is an abstract from my research. See how

The Hobby Horse was a 1884, Century Guild publication featuring the work of its members and was the first finely printed magazine devoted to the visual arts.  The Hobby Horse sought to proclaim the philosophy and goals of the Century Guild, so as the Nawadein website the Nawadein mission and aims. Its careful layout and typesetting, handmade paper and intricate woodblock illustrations made it the harbinger of the growing Arts and Crafts interest in typography, graphic design and print (Meggs & Purvis  2012: 179)

In the January 1887 issue in an article entitled “On the Unity of Art”,  Selwyn Image passionately argued “that all forms of visual expression deserved the status of art”. He suggested that “the unknown inventor of patterns to decorate a wall or water pot” who “employs himself in representing abstract lines and masses” deserves equal claim to being called an artist as the painter Raphael, who represented “the human form and the highest human interests”’ (Meggs & Purvis  2012: 181).

Sindiso Nyoni

Ama digiafropreneur is not only about African diasporas, but any individual of African descent expressing themselves digitally through any relations to Africa either socially, economically, educationally and politically.

This week we will be looking at Sindiso Nyoni.



Sindiso Nyoni (see figure 2) is a graphic designer specialising in illustrations, of Zimbabwean origin, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Although better known as a graphic artist, Nyoni is an independent graphic design freelancer, supported by a diverse portfolio of commercial work (Hunkin 2015). Nyoni, had direct encounters with colonialism, seeing that he is a social activist, who experienced the Zimbabwean struggle against colonial repression, and internal conflicts between his tribe the – Ndebele (minority) – and the Shona tribe (Hunkin 2015). Furthermore, this situation led to his forced exile to Johannesburg (superbalist.com, 2015). Nyoni has been active since 2005 and his art and designs depict his anger with the militant ZANU-PF party which is ruling in Zimbabwe (superbalist.com, 2015).


Nyoni’s style combines traditional and digital media, while commenting on history. As a result, he named his style Guerilla art and works under the alias R!OT. It is however, the manner in which he comments on social issues that makes him an impactful illustrator (superbalist.com, 2015).

Freeman’s resemblance to African Themes


Figure 18, Lara from Voo

The illustration, Lara from Voo (see Figure 18) depicts a middle aged young African American wearing a half-dress-like garment over her trousers. The ochre colour, shape, design and cut-patterns on the ends of the half-dress-like garment and its extension from the belt, has close resembles to skin loincloth which are usually associated with ancient African tribes specifically that of the Himba tribe (see figure 19) in Namibia, were women wear few clothes apart “from loin cloth or goat skinned miniskirts” (Yalon 2007).

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Figure 19, The Girls

In addition, she wears bangles and has the mark of Ayizan on her left leg. In both Figure 17 and 18, Freeman revives African Voodoo symbols. However, he draws from the African Diasporic version of Voodoo and not the African, seeing that he is closer to the diasporic one in terms of geographic location.


Figure 20, Adze the Sorcerer


Figure 21, The Warriors

In illustration, Adze the Sorcerer (see figure 20) depicts a man with a painted face, Voodoo symbols across his chest, a half-cut cape and a loin cloth across his waist, quite similar to that of the Warriors (see figure 21).


Figure 22, Karo painting

In both Figure 18 and 20, Freeman makes use of face painting, an imitation of the Karo (figure 22), a tribe in Lower Omo Valley area of southern Ethiopia (Afritorial, 2014). The Karo tribe excel in body and face painting as a form of differentiation from other neighbouring tribes (Afritorial, 2014). Freeman has also craftily employed this tactic, as none of the marks are similar in each character.



Nicholas (Nick) Freeman


Nick Freeman is a graphic designer specialising in digital illustrations particularly in  character creation, animation and game development assets and visualFX designs (Freeman 2017).  From his LinkedIn profile, Freeman is an African American designer from Orlando, Florida; and first graduated in 2006, with an Associate’s degree in Design and Visual Communication, from the American InterContinental University. Then later, with a Bachelor’s of Art specialising in media arts and animation at the Art Institute of Atlanta, in 2010. Since 2005, he has worked at several companies (Linkedin 2017). The first, at Atlantic neon, as a Graphic artist, the second, at Humouring The Fates, as a clean-up artist, then as a lead graphic designer at Fending Signs Inc, in 2010, and finally as two dimensional (2D)- and visual effects artist, at n-Space (Linkedin 2017). At present, since 2014, Freeman works as a character- and clean-up artist at Secret Sauce Studios, and freelances as a character designer (Freeman 2017). Freeman is relevant to my practice as create, design and illustrate man of colour cartoon characters.


Figure 17 shows Leon, one of Freeman’s characters on the left is an illustration of 2011, while on the right of 2015. In the one of 2011, the African features are not evident; however, on the right the African Themes are evident, as features of the face and Voodoo symbols. Vodou, better known as Voodoo originated about six thousand years ago, in mainly three Western African countries: Togo, Nigeria and Benin; and was brought to New Orleans, Haiti and other West Indies islands by the slaves (Robinson 2010). In the Leon character (see figure 17), Freeman makes use of the Voo symbol of Ayizan; Ayizan is the loa (pronounced lwa) – spirits of Louisiana Voodoo and Haitian Vodou (Pinn 2005: 229) – of the French marketplace, commerce and herbal healing, that represents love and the initiation of the Voudou rites (Alvarado 2016).

Delano Limoen an African Diaspora

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.

If you like the post or interested click on the like button to keep updated or you can contact me directly if you have questions. Until next time.


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.

The Ife heads

Last week I provided an introduction on the essay I wrote on how Africans and African Diasporas are reviving their African Identities in their creative works.  This week I will continue to elaborate more on the Ife Heads or the Heads of Ile Ife.



“Ile-Ife, also called Ife or Ife-Lodun, town, Osun state, southwestern Nigeria. The town lies at the intersection of roads from Ibadan (40 miles [64 km] west), Ilesha, and Ondo. It is one of the larger centres and probably the oldest town of the Yoruba people” ( britannica.com, 2017).

The lfe heads where crafted, during the 11th century, by an unknown artist of the Yoruba people, under the patronage of Ooni (king) Obalufon the Second (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). According to Henry Gates Jr, while European artists, in the middle ages, were still struggle with perspective and the human form, African artist were making magnificent life-like sculptures (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Gates further elaborates that “it is not just the technical aspect that is so impressive; it is also their shear artistry, and their capacity to capture the human spirit”. There are mainly two features that distinguish the Ife heads: the accomplished mastery, and their social significance.





The Ife heads are from the African renaissance period, and until the 20th century most of the world was not aware of the existence of the Ife heads (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Leo Frobenius was with the native workers that unearthed the Ife heads in 1938 (British Museum, 2017). At first, according to Professor Suzanne Preston Blier of Harvard University, Frobenius had stated that the Ife heads could only have been made by the lost ancient Greek race of Atlantis, as published in the New York Times, but his theory was later challenged by other scholars, and it was decided that only Africans could have made the Ife heads (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017).  Nevertheless, Frobenius was amongst the first to agree and comment on the genius and intelligence of Africans (Miller 1990:16) in a Hegelian-  and Bergsonian tradition idolised society.



Edith Ekunke, from the National Museum of Lagos, explains that one of the most difficult craft that the Ife artists mastered was metal work. Ekunke further elaborates that the conception of Africa, that they are not that intelligent, is challenged by the genius and skilfullness of the Ife heads (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017). Similarly, most of the works of these graphic design creatives aim as well to challenge the notion that African Themes are not acceptable for commercial design works. Blier comments on their aesthetic appeal: “They [Ife heads] are technically amongst the most truly remarkable works of art created any place in the world. These are striking heads that are quite naturalist, but there is also this idealised naturalism, so that none of the warts and wrinkle of the face are shown… there is almost this serenity in them and give a sense of timelessness” (Africa’s Great Civilizations, 2017).

Next week I will provide reference to an African Diaspora who is using the concept of  The Ife Heads in his graphic design.

If you like the post or interested click on the like button to keep updated or you can contact me directly if you have questions. Until next time.


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].

Encyclopædia Britannica (2017) lle Ife. [Online]
Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Ile-Ife [ Accessed 12 May 2017]



Reviving the African Identity

Today, I finally handed in my assignment. It is not what I expected, however, I got the job done. The main aims of the paper was to analyse ways in which Africans and African Diasporas were reviving their African Identities. Identity in this context refers to how one and the agency to be creative.

I wanted to link what current Africans and African Diasporas are creating or designing with what ancient Africa used to do prior to the arrival of the westerners and colonialism.

It was very interesting to find out that contemporary Africans and African Diasporas are indeed making using of ancient African Themes (patterns, styles, symbols and colour and thought processes).

One of the topics I dealt was on Ife Heads.

One of the points I mentioned that I wanted to rectify was the influence of Cultural Hegemony on University  level. The structure or learning path is designed in such a way that studies and theories on Africa are studied towards the end and are not given full attention, comparing to the New York School of Design or the Swiss School of Design or even the Arts and Craft Movement.  During our third year of study, African Aesthetics was the last topic and little or no attention was given to it. It was merely tried as the “I need to expose you to this since its part of the syllabus “, but even if I did, you will not  loss points. Fortunately, something good did come out that exposure.

Next week I will continue with The Ife Heads.

If you like the post or interested click on the like button to keep updated or you can contact me directly if you have questions. Until next time.


Finding ways where there seems to be no ways

170310_100826I will never forget the days, I spend on the school porch, making using of the school WIFI. . I spent there hours, but I did not care, for what I was working on was more important. I was a private University, which closed at 16:30. I had inquired about it, but it clear to me that he University cannot afford, to provide an extra room after hours.

Our school did not provide accommodation. Therefore, we international students had to find residence at student residence, rent a room in a student house ( which were very difficult to get), or rent out a room from someone’s house. Usually student residence is usually expensive, and most of the time unconducive for studies, it always made me wonder what some people went to do there. It’s always about partying, eating, watching tv and more tv and more tv. There was one girl would watch Big Brother 24/7. Before school she is there, after school she is there, even when you take a break. Doesn’t she ever sleep – every time always on that couch.

In 2012, I had an internship at Inkfish Design Studio, and having learnt so much, I had decided that it was better to own my own studio, rather than work for someone else. Inkfish was great, but I thought what will happen when I get back home, and what if I do not get a studio like Inkfish and at what studio will I be working at, for whom, and for how much. In 2013, I started with first year, had accommodation problems – which I will share another day – that led me to get a job at Ocean Basket Kloof Street. Working there just fuelled my ambition even more to own my own studio.

At that point in life, I had never had a computer, my mother could not afford one, my extend family was not interested in assisting or whatsoever. Since 2003, where the dream of BKDS first surfaced, I kept drawing and writing all my ideas on paper and filling them.  One month in the job, I was informed that the Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) had finally paid in. They always pay, but never on time. Since February, when school started, I was informed that I was awarded a “10% bursary” for performing well, in last year’s modules; on top of that, I also got credit exemption for Applied Colour and Design theory.

After, I got the amount which was paid in, and working now. I was determined more than ever to buy my computer.  At first, I just wanted any computer, but then I thought, why not a Mac? When I calculate the reminder, after I had paid my tuition fees.  It would not be enough for a MacBook Pro, but now I was working, even though the rate was not so good – since I could only work in the night, and most of the time I was late, as I had to come first from school, all the way from Claremont to CBD, and then walk from all the way from Grand Parade to Upper Kloof Street (I actually ran most of the time) – I should be able to get it. In addition, winter was approaching – so a few customers and less tourists. I finally got my laptop in May 2013.

During June or July the Adobe GoCreate finally announced their winners (when writing this I just realised that I wrote a post back in 2012).  I thought all my hard work went in vain, but I later got an email that I was awarded a R500 voucher for anything at Digicape and the expiring date was something like the following year.  I waited until I could the R600, and then bought my Wacom graphic tablet.

In August, I stumbled upon a few freelancing sites, including Design Crowd. At first I was not sure, but I sent in my design any way. From there, they kept sending me contest updates. In December, I bought my all in one printer, copier and scanner.

In January new owners took over Ocean Basket, and they just turned everything upside down. They were more money driven, rather than people driven, destroying the whole concept of Ocean Basket Kloof Street. Amongst the changes was: letting go of students who could only be available for night shift. I had a word with the one of the new partners, and by the favour of God, I he agreed to keep me on; but it was second year, and we were introduced to the Animation Workshop, on top of that they removed the wages and I had moved to Kenilworth. So, I could not continue there anymore. My school was more important, and animation-hand-drawing was not so fun. I can still feel my fingers aching from repeatedly drawing the next frame.

Finally, I had my laptop, graphic tablet and printer – nothing could stop me. Unfortunately, when I went to Kenilworth, there was no internet in the apartment that I was renting. Luckily, the whole entire CTI moved to our building (MGI) and wifi coverage was extended. So, I could sit outside and do my work.