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ANA Spotlight: Chuma Anagbado Bridges Realities Through Phygital Art

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Amidst the shifting landscape of the art world, visual artists are seamlessly weaving technology into their creations to captivate both visually and physically. A prime exemplar is Chuma Anagbado, a versatile Nigerian-born Artist & Designer. Positioned at the vanguard of this fresh artistic domain, Chuma masterfully marries creativity with technology. His focus centers on crafting motifs and moods that underscore each artwork’s intent.

Body Canvas hybrid performance at Maitisong Theatre, Botswana. Image courtesy of Instagram.

Presenting in London, his recent exhibition, “BODY CANVAS,” seamlessly wove together Art, Poetry, and Dance. This fusion established a robust platform for collaborative impact. This human generative art project illustrated body-art displacement and served as a pinnacle of his creative expression.

The Hybrid performance Is a brainchild of the Lost+Found artists‘ research residency program, which brings together 16 artists from diverse corners of the globe. Within this expansive canvas, a selection of notable digital art pieces from the past two years emerges.

One stand-out piece, titled “The Long Way Home,” allows the artist to delve deep into the interconnected narratives of the historical slave trade. Additionally, it allows the audience to understand modern global shipping routes. This debut animation was uniquely crafted to align with a performance. Chuma collaborates with Moratiwa Molema and Ade during the immersive Lost + Found hybrid residency experience.

Chuma – The Long Way Home, 2023. animation. Image courtesy of Instagram.

Chuma’s artistic vision finds deep roots in his cultural heritage. He creates works from indigenous cultures’ tangible and intangible facets across history. An illustrative instance is the breakthrough project “Tracing the Wild,” which marked his entry into the Kenyan industry. Collaborating with data architect Daria Smakhtina and Sovereign Nature Initiatives Director of Creative Engagement, the data-driven venture presented at Nairobi Design Week visualizes predator data from Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) through a series of digital and physical data-based ‘portraits.’

The project enlists tech enthusiasts – developers, designers, and story gatherers – who collaborate to harness the territorial movement of lions and data on human conflicts. Their combined effort yields phygital art, vividly depicting the Maasai Mara predator ecosystem.

Sintamei, Mama Kali & Naramat Lions presented at Nairobi Design Week, 2023. Image courtesy of Instagram.

His creations invigorate traditional concepts, notably the age-old Igbo carved doors and the ‘Uli’ line aesthetic. He reinterprets these patterns interwoven with the human form. This fusion orchestrates a spiritual interplay between the abstract and the figurative. He forges a profound connection with ancestral heritage and contemporary narratives. Revolving around the notion of identity, his artistic themes intertwine the tangible and intangible elements of indigenous cultures.

Chuma Anagbado is not merely an artist but a trailblazer who defies artistic conventions and blurs the lines between the tangible and the digital. With his ‘phygital’ masterpieces, he invites audiences to explore new dimensions of creativity, and his work stands as a beacon illuminating the boundless possibilities that arise when art and technology dance in harmony.

Author

Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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