Funke’s Africa is Dynamic

Stranded in Canton via Dynamic Africa

 

It was somewhere back in 2012. While digging through a stack of Tumblr pages, we stumbled upon FUNKE MAKINWA‘s Dynamic Africa.

Indeed, it is. A stroll-in-the-garden, mad mix of images, writings, sounds and videos by and about African folks. It’s fashion lush. But also a spot to hear some good roundabout track or peep a curious film trailer. You know that shit that will consume a good third of your day if you’re not careful. But that’s Dynamic Africa, chale.

We got a glimpse into Funke’s world a bit with this conversation. Here she traces the thread of contemporary African art to digital media. Funke also shares places she digs on the continent and hips us to the life of a digital curator.

 

FUNKE MAKINWA, Curator of Dynamic Africa

FUNKE MAKINWA, Curator of Dynamic Africa

ADA: People want to know about Funke’s art. What are your specialties?

FM: Funnily enough, and I’m sorry if this comes as a disappointment, but I am not an artist in any capacity (though I wish I were). I’m an avid consumer and admirer of art – hopefully a future curator and collector, too. The latter has been even more inspired within me after learning about Eric Edwards.

 
ADA: Do you dream in English or Yoruba?

FM: Haha, oh boy, you’re putting me on the spot here, exposing me too! I dream in English. I’m, sadly, not fluent enough in my mother tongue to dream in it. One day, one day.

 

ADA: Which African artists are you checking out lately [from visual art to film and literature] and what about their work do you dig?

FM: I recently visited the Nike Art Gallery in Lekki (Lagos) and it’s teeming with hundreds of art works, in various forms, by a number of artists from all over Nigeria – too many to name. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that amount of work from Nigerian artists in one place, and on Nigerian soil too. There’s so much to love about that in itself, I don’t know how I could possibly summarize my feelings on the work I was fortunate to experience in such an environment. But it certainly roused my interest in local art in Nigerian, from known names to the guys you see selling paintings and sculpted works on the roadside.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

Third Culture Kids by Atong Atem via Dynamic Africa.

ADA: Dynamic Africa is one of the most extensive archives of contemporary art and digital media from the continent. How did it all start?

FM: It all started from the backstreets of Tumblr. I began using the site for personal reasons but after combing through the ‘Africa’ tag on the site, I was both fed up and motivated enough to make a blog about what I’d like to see and share on the site. Not to mention that whenever I leave the continent, I’m always homesick. I’ve spent most of my life living outside of Nigeria, but still mostly living in African countries, namely Senegal, Kenya and South Africa.

 

ADA: What’s the hardest part of running the site? The best part?

FM: Trying to stay consistent, relevant and responding to emails. The best part? The writers who are currently making this a lot easier. Many of the recent articles on Dynamic Africa have been written by a wonderful team of content contributors based around the globe. They’re all fantastic!

 

ADA: What are the striking differences between South Africa and Nigeria?

FM: The only difference that matters to me is that in one, though I feel at home, the law reminds me constantly that I’m not. In the other, I simply am. But I love them both.

Caven Etomi headdresses via Dynamic Africa

Caven Etomi headdresses via Dynamic Africa

Caven Etomi headdresses via Dynamic Africa

Caven Etomi headdresses via Dynamic Africa

ADA: What was the last film you watched?

FM: The last film I watched was Teboho Edkins’ Coming Of Age. Rarely do we ever see films of that nature from Lesotho. It’s beautifully shot too.

 

ADA: How did what you studied in school prepare you for life after school?

FM: I studied Communications, Media Studies, Sociology and Anthropology in school (most recently, the University of Cape Town). They’ve all helped me greatly in shaping my approach to how I consume information, exercise my critical thinking skills, and in my interactions with other people. Is this a good time for me to say I am 100% employable?

 

 

ADA: What places on the continent have you traveled? What were those experiences like?

FM: I have loved everywhere I’ve found myself visiting and living in on the continent, struggles and sour experiences aside.

Egypt – this was a quick historical visit which is a unique and must-have experience for everyone. Giza is real but unreal.

Kenya – five years of my life spent here, and I deeply cherish every single one. Best childhood ever.

Tanzania – a fantastic and picturesque road trip from Kenya.

Ethiopia – I’m still hooked on Ethiopian cuisine, coffee and music. Not to mention the beautiful historic sites I visited and touring parts of the lush SNNPR region.

South Africa – another large chunk of my life spent here. Blessed to have lived here.

Other places include Congo-Brazzaville, Senegal and Benin.

 

2MANYSIBLINGS x Yasiin Bey via Dynamic Africa

2MANYSIBLINGS x Yasiin Bey via Dynamic Africa

2MANYSIBLINGS x Yasiin Bey via Dynamic Africa

2MANYSIBLINGS x Yasiin Bey via Dynamic Africa

2MANYSIBLINGS x Yasiin Bey via Dynamic Africa

2MANYSIBLINGS x Yasiin Bey via Dynamic Africa

ADA: What food could you eat every single day?

FM: Plantain. Injera with doro wat. Fruits. Pounded yam with efo.

 

ADA: What’s your favorite day in the week?

FM: There’s just something about Friday nights in any big city, as stereotypical as it sounds.

 

ADA: When the load shedding takes place in your area, what do you do to occupy yourself?

FM: Haha, mostly sleep. I’m keeping things PG.

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