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‘Isintu: Afro Sci-fi’ exhibition looks at Western ideologies vs African traditions

Viwe Mfako’s artwork. Picture: Supplied

Viwe Mfako’s artwork. Picture: Supplied

Published May 15, 2022


Local artist Viwe Mfaku’s latest “Isintu: Afro Sci-fi” exhibition challenges Western ideals that have influenced African traditions, currently showcasing at Mangrove, Braamfontein.

Mfako blends his passion for African culture and heritage, art and design with his love for science fiction, and he hopes his work creates a new dialogue about Africa in the digital future.

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Mafako says he uses “Isintu: Afro Sci-fi” as a vehicle to counter this corrupted interpretation of what it means to be Black in the 21st century.

“AfroSci-fi”, in the context of “Isintu”, is an alternate reality where we re-imagine how we would have progressed without the disruption of colonisation.

“It stands for the potential to output quality innovation, without losing those vernacular principles in the way we think and live as Africans,” says Mfako.

“The technology is an extension of the tribes and clans, with better WiFi, resolution and precision …‘Isintu: Afro SciFi’ is an expansion of the African way of life to the rest of the world and universe.

This exhibition seeks to start a dialogue about what the art industry can offer Africa and its people.

On why he thinks South Africans would enjoy the exhibition, he explains: “I think, as South Africans, we have a very expansive way of thinking because we are so diverse.

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“We have the range to not only think vertically but horizontally, this means we can be South African or African, from anywhere in the world, without losing our source.

“Our taste level is high, but we always keep a level of humility and charm, and that’s what this exhibition is expressing.”

Viwe Mfako’s artwork. Picture: Supplied

The Eastern Cape born star says, his work aims to inspire the African youth and remind them of who they are.

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“Isintu looks to harness the power of the youthful optimist in all of us and use science fiction as a vehicle to re-shape consciousness, allowing us the unrestrained freedom to critically examine the power of our creativity and trajectory as a people, at any given moment in time.”

Some of the themes and messages that he portrays through his works include “term thinking, self-worth, and unapologetic patriotism or Panafricanism.”

“If we collectively grasp those, we will be unstoppable as Africans, from art to everything art is inspired by.

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“There is a saying I love that haunts me since the day I read it: ‘The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed,’ by William Gibson.

“I love that because it is still true today as it was 30 years ago. ”We have everything, we just have not organised it properly. I believe African science fiction will inform African science reality.“

“Isintu: Afro Sci-fi” is currently on at Mangrove, Braamfontein, and it runs until June 8.