19 February 2018

Kenyan Photographer Does Concept Art for Marvel's Black Panther

Photo: ThisisAfrica
Osborne Macharia’s 3 blind elders “The Chosen Ones” project

To coincide with the launch of the wildly anticipated and already acclaimed film Black Panther, Marvel commissioned Kenyan Afro-futurist artist Osborne Macharia to create an exclusive art project. Macharia has titled the project "Ilgelunot", which, in Maasai, means "The Chosen Ones".

Marvel Studios could not have found a more fitting artist to commission than Osborne Macharia, arguably one of the most dynamic and iconic photographers on the African continent at the moment. His composite photographs employ elements of history, science fiction and digital photo editing to depict historical narratives and social issues, giving them his signature twist that revises, interrogates and re-examines the topics.

Macharia's past projects include:

Magadi This is the story of a group of former female circumcisers who abandoned this practice and now live on the vast salty plains of Lake Magadi, where they have taken up ethnic fashion as an alternative livelihood.

Macicio The story revolves around the Mau Mau, the guerilla fighters in Kenya's struggle for independence.

Melanin (0) This project deals with the dreams and aspirations of people living with albinism.

By focusing on such topics as albinism, discrimination against street children and the elderly, Macharia has introduced a whole new cast of hip-hop grandfathers, extravagant grannies and freedom-fighting opticians to the Kenyan art scene.

It is easy to see the synergy with Black Panther: The film's Afro-futuristic elements challenge the stereotypical on-screen representations of race and gender and embrace a cinematic experience where blackness and Africanness are equated with advancement, cybernetics and sci-fi fantasy.

"The Chosen Ones" project tells the story of the three elders of Maasai origin who were Black Panther's most trusted advisors. The elders were saved during World War II by the old king of Wakanda, T'Chaka, after they wandered across North Africa in search of refuge. And even though exposure to the fictional metal Vibranium had made them blind, the woman and two men gained supernatural abilities and acumen. For the photo project, Macharia also created a custom typography inspired by geometric tribal patterns.

Leader "Saiton" from Osborne Macharia's "The Chosen Ones" project The Tall One "Koinet" from Osborne Macharia's "The Chosen Ones" project Manly "Kokan" from Osborne Macharia's "The Chosen Ones" project

In a Facebook post, showcasing his project, Macharia said, "A proud moment to be part of the most important Afro-futuristic movie of my generation."

We knew it was only a matter of time before the world discovered the marvel that is Osborne Macharia.

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