Artist Thompson S. Ekong’s new Visual capsule titled ‘Studying’ is a two part study focusing on his new found concepts in his home continent of Africa- which is growing into a new scene Thompson is calling ‘New Age Africa’.
This series captures Africa’s New Age: of create a new home, re-shaping the culture which has been defined by a lot of bad tradition, bad governance and inability for artistic expression, creativity and innovation by external factors. This first part of the study is titled ‘Feel At Home.’
The second part of the study- How Far Can We Reach?” is a conversation between Thompson and humanity. ‘I was amazed by the amount of things we’ve done in this generation globally, social media, the Apple Company which gave us Steve Jobs, self-driving cars, Netflix, all these little things that shape each process in humanity’s understanding of their world and life on this planet, the distractions and aids all in one foundation. It’s all so fascinating. I was drawn to putting this down and giving it a little focus.” he explains his inspiration.
Both pieces offer insights into Thompson’s frame of mind; a capsule to store moments of his self-education on both his homeland (Africa) and the people of his world (humanity) from his consciousness through his lens.
Below are explanations of each study by Thompson S. Ekong including visual work to each each project.
Feel At Home.
There’s hope and power in believing we can change things for the better in Africa. I’m one of those voices sending this message in my art. It’s a revolution happening right at the heart of every black soul living within Africa. There’s a consciousness going around influencing our views and ways. It’s a new way of thinking, a new way of creating more innovative perspectives; having more intelligent content & conversations on how we can help reshape and move our environment across all forms of individuality and expression forward.
Feel At Home is broken down into three statements. The first is titled ‘Raw’ which shows Africa growing in its natural element; one not compromised by the pressures and influences of the external world. It’s how I stumbled on the term ‘New Age Africa’- one situated around expressing ourselves as who we are, creating our own culture around what makes us African. And through the invention of the internet, which has given us a channel to the global world, as well as access to more tools and information this leads to the next statement “Control”
“Control” is the revolution taking place; a revolution establishing more avenues of self-actualization and confidence in what we have to contribute, both to our environment in order to improve and restructure the chaos brought upon by our uncertain past and humanity as a whole.
“Raw” and “Control’ with its intertwined statements on the essence of feeling at home (New Age Africa), the last statement “Experiment” encourages us to embody both our new understanding (via the New Age of Africa philosophy) whiles being confident about our ideas and vision-tools that allow us to explore our world without any conformity. This allows us to create and innovate the narratives coming from Africa more aesthetically. A freedom of making decisions on what we represent as a new age of Africa, curating our every step and advancement as a continent.
Everything should reflect how much I want to inspire the kids to open up their minds and hearts to a New Age. ‘Feel At Home’ is a project reflecting this very freedom. It is my way to impacting the culture. Each image created is a gaze towards our future.
We’re looking forward with hope, with our women more empowered and our men more focused. I used women to portray this directly as they embody the entirety of our values and their image is a celebration of the glory shelved in our continent.
How Far Have We Reached?
Humanity is an evolving specie (constantly growing) as each generation breaks more boundaries and limitations. Our evolution is so fascinating. We’ve overcome so much regardless of the form each obstacle takes. There’s so much to learn from and we’ve taken it all in by improving on our world with sequences of ideas which help shape lives of every human.
It’s something that’s never truly spoken about in conversation around African constructs and settings especially on how this influence from the global world reflects on the African narrative as we grow with the world around us.
Little things like social media and its influence in bringing humanity closer through exchanges and conversations via twitter, Instagram or Snapchat (where pictures or videos are shared) makes the world feels closer. We’re therefore, experiencing things as one now because we’re all channeled under one source sharing dual experiences. These tools have put Africa in a more expressive world, showing our own views and growth through the glass frame over the internet. Advances in technology like Apple, through their innovative line of products have helped give minds all around access to tools for exploring our creativity even more. Also, self-driving cars brought by Elon Musk through Tesla, or SpaceX taking on the challenge of humanity being a multi-planetary species.
Sometimes, these things are beyond the reach of most African minds stuck in third world states but as we grow, we’re getting access and also control of these avenues; pushing ourselves to create ours by adopting these tools as ways of improving our own state. As a young creative in Africa, I’m consciously reacting to all these changes in my world, the need explore them using a black subject as a frame.
With Africa being a continent that’s always left behind, we’re finding our own avenues and placing ourselves more in the center of the world as our New Age grows. These tools are metaphors showing us we can take hold of humanity’s prowess, and improve in what we’re lacking. It’s a study I use to call out more minds from our New Age, to take hold of everything around them. This begs our curiosity to ask “How Far We’ve Reached?”