Repossessing The Spirit Of Myths In Africa Through Film & Video Art
As an ingenious process of connecting the past with the present, mythology offers access to truths which we can interpret for ourselves, and orient the sense of who we are. With the current commodification and exploitation of Africa's cultural histories exhibited within the tourism industry, access to these cultural truths has become a process of filtering through complex industrial perceptions, which prioritize the sustenance of colonial economic models over indigenous cultural values. These negated values are the pillars of all evolutionary ideas of ancestral experiences.
The moral education of Africa's traditional societies, carried forward through myths, was interrupted during the colonial period and replaced with cognitive distorting myths, whose main intentions remain to economically exploit the people. Indigenous cultural narratives were either appropriated for profit, or repressed for upsetting the status quo.
Brothers betrayed each other for a taste of the spoils of national independence.
Today in Africa, modern technology is enabling the reconstitution of these suppressed narratives, giving rise to a new mode of transmitting cultural values. In the recent past, one of our team members made a presentation for Art & Design students at the University of New Haven, explaining the role of myths and indigenous elements of ritual Art in decolonizing Africa. Find below download button for the presentation's transcript.
To highlight the significance of myths in reflecting the experience of people in Africa, and the role of ritual archetypes in the decolonizing process, we're working on producing a series of films which envision folkloric vistas, acknowledging repressed bodies of knowledge contained within the cultural histories of Africa, and the colonial narratives that continue to shape our present reality.
ITUNGATI is inspired by a collection of myths from the colonial period in Kenya, as they relate to the ignition of the anti-colonial movement famously known as the Mau-Mau rebellion. ITUNGATI captures a recurring spirit of dissent, embodied by the current disenfranchised underclass of the republic of Kenya. Below is part of a documentary series that explores the mythical chronotopes identifiable in Kenya's urban neighborhoods, in light of repressed post-colonial traumas.