“When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain…we shall be able to communicate with one another instantly…as though we were face to face…the instruments which we shall be able to do all of this with will fit in our vest pockets.” – Nikola Tesla (1926)
Wouldn’t it be cool if…is probably the biggest question answered by the invention of life-changing and useful things. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could talk to people miles away from home instead of seeing the village priest? VoIP.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we celebrated art for all in the streets of Accra? CHALE WOTE. Wouldn’t it be cool to see what a textured knot of African culture and technology could be like? NANDO NKRUMAH.
Nando Nkrumah is a Ghanaian-born artist and designer from Kumasi based in Cologne, Germany, who loves to explore contemporary tools of visual art and design. He is an Afrofuturist whose 3D designs and crafts not only weld the Adinkra symbology of the Ashanti people and cultures with technology. He takes it all the way up by racking the symbols by overlapping contexts.
Unhappy about the pervasive negative reportage of the continent, Nando plays with space and time and transports African art into the present/ future/past.
He elaborates in a 2013 interview,
My intention is directly connected with the Akan philosophy of Sankofa, what it means to go back and take something from the past to create a better future. The future is something I love to explore. Imagine African spaceships in the sky and a planet in world peace – everything is possible if we can imagine it.
True to this, his designs bridge the peripheries of both worlds, the new and the old, 3D visualizations and centuries old symbols. He is a 3D artist who through his Litchblick studio, makes 3D printed Adinkra inspired jewelry and furniture. He is also an animator with quite the skill to show for it.
Nando was a panelist at the LABS @ CHALE WOTE last year and discussed a graphic novel that is currently in pre-production and features elaborate art and an incredible premise: Imagine how the legendary priest, Okomfo Anokye would operate in a hyper-technological future. What new lessons could we learn from this time-old icon positioned in this way – a future not too distant from our present moment?
For CHALE WOTE 2016, Nando’s project, Into the Light, shows a series of places and portraits of people and exposes their stories by the use of computer-generated imagery. The resulting digital prints are witnesses of the presence of black identities in Europe. The process of capturing, restoring and exposing identity contains the experimentation with synthetic light.
Nando shares this about how his project links to Spirit Robot:
The robotic aspect is the technical frame of the creative process. Machine-driven technology and computer graphics software act as human-made. Their lifeless bodies contain the spiritual essence of the intention and human-made reflection of life and identity in the core of this process.
Hear Nando speak about his work at The LABS on Thursday, August 18th, 8-9pm at WEB DuBois Centre and see Into the Light on display at Brazil House in James Town on August 20-21.
By KADI YAO TAY.