From #WellnessWednesday to #NordicEquality, there really is no limit as to what new, trending hashtag will go viral on Twitter. But this week, we were pleasantly surprised to see #WeAreNigerianCreatives trending- a collective effort to showcase the talents of Nigerian artists.
It all began when Bunmi Olaloye, a Nigerian artist and self-proclaimed ‘art addict, weirdo, dreamer, and wannabe ninja’ according to his Twitter bio, posted a tweet calling for all Nigerian creatives to use the hashtag. In a world where contemporary art continues to be dominated by eurocentrism, the hashtag was intended to shed light on African artists and showcase their talents.
Starting a hashtag to celebrate and appreciate Nigerian creatives✊🏾
— Olaloye Bunmi (@gangwolf360) February 23, 2018
The rules were simple: be Nigerian, be a creative, tweet 3 examples of your work, include a bio, and use the hashtag. And soon enough, the hashtag went viral. Artists ranging from photographers and videographers to painters and even shoemakers began showcasing their impressive work.
— mohammed agbadi (@mohammedagbadi) March 12, 2018
My name is Sheyi Alabi,
from Nigeria. I'm a visual artist. These are my drawings.
— Sheyi Alabi (@Sheyi_pencilz) March 13, 2018
— osazuwa benjamin (@mr_bereal) March 12, 2018
— aare ona kakanfo (@Cyphher) March 5, 2018
— Ohab (@OhabTBJ) March 13, 2018
— _ (@Elleyiaa) March 14, 2018
And of course, we’re stoked about this showcase of talent, especially considering the fact that the West tends to project a rather simplistic narrative of African art.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Nigerian artist Peju Alatise spoke out on this issue, stating, “The notion that art from Africa cannot utilize modern materials and forms of expression and should instead be characterized by the use of traditional and generic materials from the local environment.”
But #WeAreNigerianCreatives sheds light on contemporary African artists, showing the world that the previous Eurocentric narrative of African art is outdated and trite. It’s time we start showing support for our fellow African creatives, and proving that African artists are indeed a burgeoning force to be reckoned with in the contemporary world of art.