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Amina Doherty on “The activist artist…”

Throughout (her)story and across our diverse cultures and backgrounds the arts have always played a significant role in shaping our identities. Pervading every aspect of our lives – our languages, our music, our dances, our poetry, our rituals, our celebrations and our struggles. The power of our artistic fiyah is undeniable. As feminists and as activists we use art to reflect our lives and experiences, to build consciousness and in many instances to share our political messages and stories.

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african, artist, feminist…..fierce

So why are you doing this sisters? African women are notoriously “spoken for” in colonial and post-colonial media and art. Yet we rarely hear African women’s own voices in galleries, on the silver screen, or in print. So what are women from various countries, backgrounds and contexts in Africa saying about politics, religion, tradition, their bodies, the future? What happens when African women take up the camera, pen or chisel themselves? What images of their lives and their worlds do they produce? Whose voices do they foreground? Are African women as wedded to culture and tradition as we are led to believe? Or are we challenging these limiting norms, and creating new forms of cultural expression?

There is a vibrant tradition of subversive artistic expression among African women across the continent. However what many artists lack are the platforms to share this work widely. Distribution mechanisms within Africa are dominated by for-profit companies who believe that women’s oppression “sells”.

nyangoma (mother of the drum) is a space for innovative, vibrant, sometimes unsettling, always fascinating expressions by African women artists working against the grain. It is fed by a collective of feminist artists and art-lovers linked to the African Feminist Forum.

This is us! nyangoma. A space for creative dissents * fierce sisters * artistic troubadours * africans in all our complexities * activist because the world needs to change * uncompromisingly feminist because that’s who we are….

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