We’re so excited to announce that Ghana-based influencer, photographer and art director, Daron Bandeira, will be our guest curator for the #PICHAfuturefocus exhibition! He specializes in visual works with a focus on portraiture, lifestyle, travel and adventure. He is a story teller with an eye for finding beauty in people that he likes to transform into images that challenge your perspectives. In 2013, Daron founded the premier contemporary creative platform, Afrobougee, to support artists and creatives of the African continent and diaspora.
What first attracted you to photography?
In my previous job at a contemporary African magazine, Canoe Magazine, I
worked in production. I organized photoshoots and that’s how I started off
trying out some of the cameras and processing pictures. But one of the main
inspirations for me was Tumblr. I was just going through a lot of images,
looking at the aesthetics and was inspired to start creating myself.
What drove you to start Afrobougee?
I came up with the idea of the Afrobougee platform in 2012. While I was still
working at Canoe, I had picked up the camera and started creating my own
content but I was struggling to find a way to get it published. I realized that a
lot of other artists with great content had the same problem because there
weren’t many platforms for African inspired art by Africans. African Digital Art
and Okay Africa were doing a great job at that time, but I wanted to create
another platform to push publishing this specific niche of content. That’s when
I decided to start Afrobougee, a platform especially for African creatives and
African diaspora creating African-inspired content.
How do you think the African visual creative scene has evolved over the past year?
There has been a major positive shift in African storytelling and storytelling in
general. Amongst Africans themselves, there is a lot of motivation to create on
the continent itself because finally there are ways to publish and the work is
being recognized and appreciated on an international level. We see more and
more African influences in music, video and fashion. This has brought eyes to
the great work that is coming from here and gives opportunities to turn
creativity into something that brings money to the pockets. I believe this is
encouraging especially for the new generation to take it up more than ever
What’s your thoughts on the current Afrofuturism trend?
I love the Afrofuturism trend because it is often so visually appealing to watch.
We are finally claiming our spot in this niche and I love the mix of the colorful,
vibrant and traditional that really makes a lot of the Afrofuturism work stand
out. Another great thing about this trend is that it gives young digital artists the
opportunity to create with photographers, which is a great thing.
What key factors will you be considering when curating the entries in #PICHAfuturefocus?
Looking into Africa currently and what is coming out of the continent, I am
looking for something different that I haven’t seen before. As always, it has to
be visually very strong: composition, manipulation and the delivery of the final
art work should have that ‘WOW’ factor. But just as important, I want it to
challenge my thought process. Just as when I pick content for my platform, I
find it important that you can see the artists’ thought process behind the
artwork. I love art that has a message behind it, especially when it comes to
social themes. It could be from the past, present or future but for me, the best
images always combine the visually stunning with some form of depth.
Any particular big projects your followers expect to see from you in 2019 that you’re excited about?
I have two exciting projects coming up this December that I am currently
focusing on. I’ll have a big exhibition of my work in Ghana and I will be visiting Afropunk in South Africa. From early next year onwards my focus is to channel
Afrobougee into an inflight magazine that has a flowchart of African creatives
that you can work with across the continent. I’m also looking into a whole lot
more collaborations with existing platforms that have been a force on the
continent. I want to push Afrobougee on an international level by putting
together culturally diverse editorials. This will lay the foundation to include South
America on the platform as well in the future.
If you could give young African photographers just starting out one piece of advice, what would it be?
Think, create, and find out how to market it later. That’s how I started as well. I
feel we spend so much time on considering if something is going to work out,
that we don’t end up creating. Too much focus on how to market your work
can take out the value of the work you’re trying to do. Start creating open
minded, without doubts and find a way to market it later!
For more information about entering your work into the #PICHAfuturefocus exhibition, check out THIS blog post.