In recent months, I’ve been extremely critical of Corporate America, as has Black Twitter, for the stereotypical and defaming representations of African and African American women in advertising campaigns. Deserving immediate attention, majority of the visual artifacts and frameworks I’ve produced in studio this semester has been an attempt to address this unethical design issue, among others that are dear to my heart. I’ll share a synopsis of my semester’s work in future Yes& blog posts. For now, let’s take this moment to celebrate some African beauty.
As scrolled down my facebook timeline a week ago, I came across a CNN article that had been shared by one of my favorite design anthropologist, Dr. Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, Canada. She captioned the article, “Do you know who Mnyazi wa Menza (Mekatilili) is? Beautiful photography to help you find out.” I thought to myself, “nope, never heard of her, but I sure would like to be informed of her legacy.” Thus, I happily shared the article on my timeline with the caption “Priceless,” for later read.
In summary, Mnyazi wa Menza is Kenyan female icon who is celebrated for her unprecedented stand against European colonists in the early 1900s. Photographers Rich Allela and Kureng Dape immortalized the Kenyan icon for her heroic actions in a series of photographs that recreated the life of Mekatilili. I was delighted to read a positive news article about a beloved African Queen as I admired the priceless, picture-perfect work of art by Rich and Kureng.
Here are my favorite photographs from the article. Captions credit: Munachim Amah, CNN.