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Fred Abami is portray trendy Africa along with his up to date tackle pop artwork


written by Nadia Leigh-Hewitson, CNN

For the previous decade, Fred Abami has been blowing a path for a mode he calls “New Pop” – digital pop artwork by way of an African lens.

The Franco-Cameroonian artist, aged 45, creates optimistic pictures starting from the on a regular basis to the enduring, with a specific emphasis on the African continent and the worldwide African diaspora. His work are a wealthy combination of iconography, symbolic patterns, slogans and interpretations of traditional Pop Art imagery.

His works, created totally on computer systems, goal to deliver Pop Art into the twenty first century, and have been exhibited on the Tate Modern in London, the Champs Elysees in Paris, and Art Basel in Miami. Last November, Abami debuted a retrospective in Lagos, Nigeria, and her work is at present being proven at an exhibition titled “New POP” in Brest, France.

Fred Abami's portrait – often inspired by Andy Warhol – celebrates African icons.  The work features Nigerian musician and Afrobeat innovator Fela Kuti.

Fred Abami’s portrait – usually impressed by Andy Warhol – celebrates African icons. The work options Nigerian musician and Afrobeat innovator Fela Kuti. Credit: Fred Ebamy

drawing on partitions

Abami’s life as an artist was painted on the age of seven on the partitions of his childhood dwelling in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, France. “I wasn’t a very talkative person when I was a kid,” he mentioned. “Drawing was my way of talking.”

Abami needed to specific himself by way of pictures, to make the on a regular basis extraordinary with the colour and drama he noticed in comics, movie posters, and pop artwork. He first discovered the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat as a toddler and was so impressed with the thrill and surprise that their bursts of colour drew from pretty widespread themes.

“Andy Warhol was the first pop artist I met,” Abami mentioned. “He was taking everyday life, everyday people and making them more beautiful, more interesting.

“When I noticed his work, that was precisely what was going by way of my thoughts. But I needed to discover my very own method of doing it,” he said. “Those three guys, they have been like a jump-start button to me.”

Abami hopes to honor original pop artists using a computer mouse and screen. In addition to sculpting and a handful of experiments with paint, Abami works digitally – he sees his computer as an extension of himself. He says working like this allows him to create work whenever he gets inspiration.

Fred Abami opens his first solo exhibition in 2020 at the MAM Gallery in Douala, Cameroon.

Fred Abami opens his first solo exhibition in 2020 on the MAM Gallery in Douala, Cameroon.

Everyday Superheroes and African Legacy

In May, he’s set to launch a graphic novel that tells The sad true story of two teenagers who died of hypothermia in 1999 while traveling from Guinea to Brussels. A letter was received from him requesting Europe to help the children of Africa.

While Warhol was famous for his color screen prints of rockstars and supermodels, Abami often draws inspiration from the extraordinary acts of ordinary people – he prefers to create compelling images of everyday heroes.

“My art is a mix of everyday life and society and comics – because I always wanted to represent superheroes,” Abami said. “As I grew up, I noticed that superheroes weren’t like Spiderman and Superman. They’re real-life folks like nurses, firefighters, troopers.”

But his work also celebrates African stars, such as Cameroonian composers André-Marie Tala and Manu Dibango, and in place of the simple, pointillist background made of dots of color, favored by many pop art masters in the mid-20th century. It uses patterns from Abami fabrics linked to their African heritage.

Growing up in France as a child of Cameroonian descent, Abami observed that interactions around Africa in the West were always negative – after living in Douala, Cameroon during his teens and returning to Europe as an adult, his To say that very little has changed.

“The narrative is that it is solely poverty, solely warfare, solely dangerous folks, solely folks being killed,” he explained. “But we now have a brand new era that should present we’re superb, want to point out that we’re tremendous. I wish to present you a brand new aspect of Africa, and if I can do this with my artwork , then I’ll do that till I die.”

Pop Art in the Digital Age

Since the start of his professional career, Abami has faced criticism of his form. He says some in Africa struggle to appreciate his digital work as “actual artwork”, although attitudes are beginning to change.

Despite continued resistance from more traditional art circles in Africa, Abami has shown work throughout the region, and has taught digital art master classes in Cameroon, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Morocco.

“People in Africa are realizing how highly effective digital may be,” Abami said. “It’s the language of tomorrow and so they have to hitch in if they do not wish to be left behind.”

“I do not goal to be the one one,” he said. “My goal is to encourage the brand new era and present them one other method to talk. Another method to keep related to the world.”



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