The African digital art scene

African digital artAfrican digital art
African digital artAfrican digital art

The African digital art scene

Contemporary art comes in all different shapes and sizes through the use of different methods and production techniques. And then we have digital art. An art form that is, sometimes subconsciously, known to all who consume visual media. And an art form that is more popular and accessible than others because of the channel it’s distributed in.  


What is digital art?

Digital art is new media art that makes use of technology to create and/or present an artwork. Digital art is contemporary art and is constantly being developed and innovated as technological trends change and capabilities improve.  

There is an argument that digital art is a “cheat” compared to traditional art methods and that digital artists don’t have or need as much skill as a traditional artist would. The truth is that digital artists do face constraints in regards to what their software allows them to do. And, although the majority of production processes are more convenient, it’s still an art form that comes with difficulties and limits that a painter or sculpture wouldn’t have to deal with.


What makes digital art, art?

Digital artists still go through the same innovative and creative processes that traditional artists do when it comes to creating a work of art. There is just a different skill behind their names, just as a painter, sculpture and craftsman have different skills to one another.

Every artist chooses their preferred platform and there are even areas where traditional and digital art combine to create a new and more unique feel or visual experience for art lovers of all kinds. Digital art is, therefore, a specialised art form where digital artists use technology and digital media to create and distribute its artworks.


African digital artists

If you take a look at the African art world and all the contemporary artists out there who specialise in the digital art scene, you’ll realise that there definitely is a market for digital art and you’ve likely come across it in your everyday life. Here are some names to look out for.

  • Jepchumba: A digital artist from Kenya and the creator and developer of African Digital Art, the online publication. Jepchumba is known to explore the effects of digital media and how it affects African culture.
  • Paracosm: He is a self-taught digital artist who specialises in surrealist digital portraits.
  • Keya Tama: Keya is a South African artist who does street art, animation, illustration, music, videos, and comic books. His latest artworks are an effort to include different languages, patterns, symbols and cultures from around the world.
  • Seun Adeyemi: Seun is a concept artist and illustrator from Nigeria whose artwork is inspired by futuristic African characters.
  • Manzel Bowman: This digital artist is famous for depicting African people in an over-exaggerated futuristic, outer-space or grand landscape environments. "I am trying to bring about a correction to the misrepresentation of my people.” And he achieves this through his digital masterpieces.
  • Anda Mncayi: He is an illustrator and graphic designer from Cape Town, South Africa. He creates wild characters and pays extreme attention to detail in his works.
  • Udegbunam Tochukwu Bernard Johnbosco (TBJ): TBJ is a Nigerian digital artist who uses line, pattern and design inspiration from Ankara fabric in his artworks. Contemporary Africa is his muse and themes of Afro-futurism or symbolism is the result.  
  • Meriem Bouderbala: Originally from Tunisia, Meriem went on to study in France and London, and now lives and works between Paris and Tunisia. In her artworks, Meriem transforms the female forms and the conformities of women in some cultures.  

What you’ll find is that most of these digital artists try their hand in the traditional art forms like painting and drawing as well. The concept of creating something new from certain materials is the same for any and every art form.


African Digital Innovation Festival

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival celebrates technology in the line of arts and culture and invites everyone to enjoy artistic innovation in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Their 2017 programme included free workshops, conferences, parties, exhibitions, installations, hack-a-thons, music, films, artists, games and so much more. Fak’ugesi, translated from isiZulu, means “add power” and that’s how this festival represents urban youth culture – through the power of technology for Africans.


African Digital Art

African Digital Art is an online publication that promotes all digital art in Africa. Created by Jepchumba, this platform is for digital artists who create audio and visual production, animation, interactive projects, web, film, graphic art, illustrations and design to have their artworks showcased.

It is where African culture through art, design and technology is celebrated and highlighted in the online African community. Successfully established and “new kids on the block” artists can be promoted on this site as long as their work is innovative, sophisticated, individualistic and able to push digital boundaries.

African digital art