Creative African artists touch down in Adelaide for Sanaa Festival 2019

A diverse set of talented and inspiring artists from various African countries have arrived in Adelaide South Australia for the annual Saana Festival 17th – 23rd of February 2019.

Salt Magazine got in touch with some of the visiting artists prior to their arrival to share with us their creative journey;

Sparrow (Uganda)

street artist, photographer, beat maker, hip hop teacher and dancer

How would you describe your art?

My art is 50% street art and 50%graffiti which is in reflection of African art and designs

Why Art?

Because I use it to speak for the voiceless, create beautiful spaces and represent Africa and its art

What do you communicate through your work?

I communicate positivity and beauty of the African designs like patterns that many call ancient art but in my style I bring them back so they can reflect where I came from.

Is it your first time in Australia, what are you looking forward to most?

Yes it’s my first time am looking forward to exhibit my art style art through Painting public canvases (murals) to the Australians meet up with different artists , teaching, learning and sharing my skills with the world..

Please share a special moment in your creative Journey

One of the special moments in my journey is to be in position to share and learn from each other “each one teach each one”

Thufu Bebeto (Kenya)

Commonly known as Thufu-B the “Lines man”.

How would you describe your art?

Thufuism, my ways of using lines in different ways to make anyone feel something…

Why Art?

Why not. Haha art=life

What do you communicate through your work?

Beauty and acceptance

Is it your first time in Australia, what are you looking forward to most?

Painting, engaging and understanding the culture.

Please share a special moment in your creative JourneY

Every moment is special in its own way.

Mwamba Chikwemba (Zambia)

A self-taught visual artist exploring African women’s identity

How would you describe your art?

In all my work I try to incorporate the use of contrast and good composition. The subject matter in itself emphasizes pride, confidence and beauty. The subject matter in this case is usually young women, more often than not, women’s smiling faces. The colors speak for the vibrating power of the female soul and eyes share the same hardship of being a woman today in a society (Zambia) dominated by men.

Therefore, the interpretation on the whole is kind of an abstraction; rather than a realistic one, of the young woman’s position in society as a whole. When done it often create rather bold, energetic and dramatic images. The head wrap in my art means confidence, power, royal, beauty and respect.

Why Art?

To me art is a very important. During the process of creating, I am generally relieved, happy and sad at the same time – it’s a very emotional moment for me. And when I start creating I don’t want to be disturbed. Art for me is a best way to express and process feelings – whether they are good feelings, like love or inspiration, or sad ones, like a broken heart and loneliness. Feelings overflow in me, and art allows me to unload my heart and soul, and help my mind to process my emotions

What do you communicate through your work?

My art investigates why women wear head wraps in Zambia historically and in the modern world.  I want my portraits to be seen as a collective image of African women who have the power, courage and wisdom to follow their own goals.

Is it your first time in Australia, what are you looking forward to most?

It will be my first time traveling to Australia, am excited and mostly I look forward to the Sanaa festival, meeting new people from different parts of the world and painting the wall which is already set for us. 

Please share a special moment in your creative Journey

One of my special moments in my creative journey is when I was invited to a 3 months residency in Cape Town. It was special because it was my first international residency in my creative journey and am looking forward to more.

Papa Shabani (Uganda)

Artist working with photography as a main medium

How would you describe your art?

I’m a visual artist with an experimentation and documentation between conceptual, portraiture, landscapes and spaces by use of photography and film, and other digital based mediums. Since 2011, I have been actively involved in the graffiti and street art movement at one time as a performer and later on as an archivist of both disciplines in Uganda, and somewhat in East Africa at large.

Why Art? And what do you communicate through your work?

I didn’t choose to be an artist, but if I had not been chosen, I still would have chosen to be an artist. And so I would like the Gods of creativity to know that I’m humbled for this post of messenger-ship. As an artist it is my role to represent myself, and then use my craftiness to address matters for the wellness of Strange- Rock out of space.

I hope my art can make a change. Any slight change towards the misconceptions about the mother ship Mama-Africa, and the new age of African storytelling to the world. I’m one of the tens of youthful African photographers that are using a medium that was introduced to Africa barely 100s of years ago as a colonial tool of documentation, only for us to take up the same tool and use it to tell the new African story from my (our) view.

Is it your first time in Australia, what are you looking forward to most? 

Yes! I’m looking forward to the collaborative possibilities, being accepted and blessed by the Gods of beautiful land that Australia is. I’m also excited to photograph the vast landscapes, I also dream of possibilities to interact with native elders in the Aboriginal communities and everyone at large.

Please share a special moment in your creative Journey?

It’s been quite a journey for me with travels around the world, I must say that the most special moments is every time I get accepted by the locals of  a new place that I have moved to with an open mind, I’m hoping for the same in Southern Australia.


Fatric Bewong (Ghana)

Uuses her painting to raise awareness on how human action is a threat to the environment

How would you describe your Art?  

The work of Jane Bennet entitled ‘Vibrant Matter- A Political Ecology of things’ in which she posits “how would political responses to public problems change, if we were to take seriously the vitality of (nonhuman) bodies?”, has contributed immensely to my art practice and thought-processes.

Since childhood, I have felt connected to non-human objects such as natural sounds, plants, flowers, birds and insects until man-made objects began to take over my environment. My conviction of the vitality of man-made objects such as plastic objects, discarded materials and waste and their ability influence the environment and even human behavior is reinforced any time I am out in landfills or come into contact with accumulated object. I have leant of the immense power these man-made objects have on influencing the way we live on earth and our relationship with the ecosystem.

I collect textile scraps from tailors and seamstresses, and plastic bags, bottles and caps from my community before they enter the waste stream. I painstakingly weave, stitch or adhere these together to create large-scale sculptural drapes, wall installations, or costumes for site-specific performances that address questions of colonialism, cultural authenticity, and globalization as they are played out in Ghana’s communities and ecosystems.

Why Art?

In addition to art being my passion, its importance as an effective medium for addressing contemporary issues such as climate change, pollution, gender inequality, social justice and peace cannot be overstated since it serves as a universal language or tool for engagement that transcends geographical borders, space and time. Art is argued by many including T J Demos in his piece titled To Save a World: Geoengineering, Conflictual Futurism, and the unthinkable that it has the power to create new bridges for both political and ecological engagement.

What do you communicate through your work?

Through my work, I communicate a conscious living lifestyle, impress on ones consciousness on alternative consumer behavior options and create awareness in individuals on the need to take responsibility for the environment in light of a ‘consumer culture’ founded on a capitalist-driven society. In effect, I create a space for mindful meditation. I communicate new ways of engaging and looking at man-made objects that we discard as ‘waste’ which evidently are destroying the world.

It’s your first time in Australia, what are you looking forward to most?

I look forward to meeting like-minded individuals from various disciplines and backgrounds who are working in unison to address issues of environmental degradation and the preservation of indigenous cultures. I envision collaborating with enthusiasts within and outside my area of expertise by utilizing various forms of technology spanning from old and new. I am also looking forward to seeing kangaroos.

Please share a special moment in your creative Journey?

One defining moment in my career that stands tall is my participation in an exclusive gallery exhibition with 5 female artists in Ghana at the Loom Gallery in 2006. In addition to being the youngest among the artists, I was being celebrated as budding talent among these artists. It was a moment of joy to be part of this event at such an early stage in my career as it encouraged me forge ahead and not relent in my efforts against all odd. This experience was very instrumental in my self-discovery journey as artists as it made me re-think the potentials and direction of my art practice. I have since been working to create enabling environment and opportunities for younger generations to identify their passions and pursue them through offering internship opportunities, coaching and mentoring.

Event Details:

SANAA Festival
Saturday 23 February – Light Square
2pm- Midnight
Tickets for Sanaa Festival 2019 can be purchased at the door or online. $10 Adults, $5 Concession, U12 Free

Sanaa: A better world through creativity Exhibition
Monday 4 February – Friday 15 March 2019
Kerry Packer Civic Gallery, The Hawke Centre – The University of South Australia

More information available on their website or on the Facebook page.

SALT Magazine is an African-Australian Community News Magazine, created to provide print and online news and information on a broad range of issues of interest to the African community in Australia as well as to the wider general public. Our main aim is to act as a platform for the voice of the new and emerging African Australian communities, providing an African perspective to Australian topics. We wish to highlight African refugee success stories and encourage community development by exploring the challenges faced by new arrivals.

Be first to comment