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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Join the creative revolution

Art can not only say a lot about a person but also about a society. If you put a continent’s name before “art”, your mind will conjure up an image based on the works you’ve seen. Even though that image might not be the most accurate, you’ll be able to clearly distinguish it from works related to other continents. But what happens when that image becomes what everyone else associates with a continent? And even extends as far as search results.
This is currently the case with African art. When you type these words into a search engine, the results will include images that most would expect to see. Whether it’s carved masks, tribal face paint or people in loincloths, it all points to the same underlying perception. And when this image isn’t a wholly accurate representation, it can have a negative effect on the perception of a society. Although these images still have their worth, they don’t show the diversity in African art today. And that diversity says a lot about the continent. 

What it’s fighting for
This is why a creative revolution is in order. It’s necessary to diversify the search results to include works of African art that are representative of the continent at the moment instead of in the past. African art is vibrant, striking and just as good as the rest. And this is what we need to show.

Many African artists stay outside of the limelight because their work doesn’t look like the general perception seen in the search results. That’s why it’s important to get them featured. Not for the sake of making them famous but because it will positively impact how the world sees Africa. Once we’ve shifted the perspective, the possibilities are countless. When the world perceives you as strong and capable, the opportunities start lining up. And our art shows just how strong and capable we are. A perception can either do a lot of harm or a lot of good. When the perception doesn’t match reality and instead distorts it, it’s important to shine some light on the reality. When looking at the current search results for “African art”, it’s clear that this perception is off.

Where to start
Changing a perception is not the easiest thing in the world but it’s possible if you approach it in the right way. That’s why Absolut and One Source Live have created a platform to not only showcase contemporary African art but get it featured in search results. Don’t worry if you’re unsure of the exact mechanics of search result rankings. The important thing is whether or not you believe in the creative revolution and want to be part of it.
The platform features an array of African artists whose work reflects the complexities of Africa and its people. Instead of just painting one, easily digestible picture of the continent, they aim to show diversity and a myriad of different examples of creativity. After all, isn’t diversity what makes both art and Africa great?
The mission is simple – changing what African art looks like to the world. And the platform can only be successful if we all support it and buy into the idea it’s trying to put forth.

How to get involved
Getting involved and supporting the creative revolution starts with going to the site and voting for your favourite images. Yes, it’s that easy. Each vote could mean that an image is closer to being featured in search results. And there’s no limit on the number of votes per person so you can choose as many as you like. While you’re there, take a moment and share the images, or even just the site, to your social platforms. Encourage your friends and family to vote for their favourites too and change the way the world sees African art. The more votes they get, the higher the chances of the images showing up in search results. Finally, be conscious of how you and people around you speak about African art. 

If you see that generic perspective slip through, try to steer clear of it. The only way we can change how the world sees us is by being sure of how we see ourselves.