14 March – Lagos, Nigeria: Africa No Filter and Meta today announced the next generation of Extended Reality (XR) creators in Africa with six recipients selected from the Future Africa: Telling Stories, Building Worlds program.
Selected from Mozambique, South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Cameroon, and Kenya, the XR creators will use music, multimedia installations, films and sculpture to explore projects around spirituality, heritage, the Cosmos, memory, imagination, masculinity, and fluid spaces.
The Future Africa: Telling Stories, Building Worlds is a partnership between narrative-change organisation Africa No Filter (ANF) and Meta, aiming to centre African stories in future technologies. The program, launched in December 2021 as part of ANF's work of supporting storytellers, also sits at the convergence of innovation and storytelling and how XR can tell compelling African stories that are contemporary, narrative-shifting and immersive.
The artists will be supported with funding of up to $30,000 and also participate in XR-industry events to improve their creativity and drive interest in their projects. They will also access mentorship from Electric South and Imisi3D.
Jessica Hagan, Arts and Culture Program Lead at ANF, said, “It’s reassuring to see the amount of incredible XR talent on the African continent. The creativity and innovation we encountered in the selection process has been very exciting. It shows that Africa is also on the pulse of global innovation and tech trends that are redefining how stories are told and experienced. XR content creation is costly, but African creators are not falling behind.”
Sherry Dzinoreva, Meta’s Public Policy Programs Director, Africa, Middle East, and Turkey, said: “The Program is an opportunity to get African storytellers on board the next evolution of social technology. We understand the power of Extended Reality and how it can be used to tell stories that shift narratives about and within the continent.”
The participating storytellers are:
- Cameroonian multimedia artist Pierre-Christophe Gam is working on a hybrid art installation that fuses VR, film, photography, and mixed-media sculpture to imagine the future of Africa from the perspective of an African family living in 2070.
- South African writer, performer and new media artist Xabiso Vili’s visual album is a speculative fiction piece that explores reconciliation and healing. Vili hopes to turn toxic masculinity into compassionate masculinity.
- Nirma Madhoo is a fashion filmmaker, XR creator and PhD candidate from Mauritius. Her work explores African cultures as technologies, which she illustrates through ancient practices like cultural astronomy.
- Kenyan film editor XR creator Michelle Angawa’s short tragicomedy depicts a day-in-the-life of a Nairobian boda boda rider, exploring desire and the complexities of Nairobian life.
- Nigerian multimedia artist Malik Afegbua is curating a virtual heritage experience of the Kofar-Mata dye pit, a cultural and historical site in Kano, Nigeria.
- Mozambican director and producer Lara Sousa uses the journey of Lemanjá, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of wisdom, to explore the ocean as a sacred site of spirituality.
Enquiries and interview opportunities:
Africa No Filter: Lerato@africanofilter.org
About Meta: Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.
About Africa No Filter: We’re a donor-collaborative shifting stereotypical and harmful narratives within and about Africa through research, grant-making, community building and advocacy by supporting storytellers, investing in media platforms and driving disruption campaigns. Our funders are Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, the Hilton Foundation, the British Council and Hewlett Foundation.
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