arts
Can you recognize the faces in these combs? Artist celebrates freedom activists through Afro comb
Published 20th June 2016
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Can you recognize the faces in these combs? Artist celebrates freedom activists through Afro comb
It's a well recognized image. Today's modern hand fisted Afro comb. One artist has used its symbol to celebrate black activists jailed fighting for freedom, fairness and social justice.
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The Black Girl Magic series by multimedia artist Pierre Jean-Louis on Instagram, transforms photographs of black women's afros into images depicting nature. Credit: Courtesy Pierre Jean-Louis
Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Fela Kuti amongst others have had their images digitally crafted onto Afro combs, set against a bright orange background. The images, shared on social media, tallied over half a million views in the first 24 hours.
They are the work of Nigerian artist Fred Martins: "I chose orange because it's associated with prison", he told CNN.
Inspiration came from the unlikeliest of places - listening to traditional West African high life music: "It was full of praise for the noblemen" he says.
"I realized that most of these legendary activists, from Marcus Garvey, Patrice Lumumba to Angela Davis among others were at some point jailed for forcing their way to resurrect the African consciousness" says Martins.
The 'Black, Orange and Freedom' art series have been created "to arouse commemoration of the heroes that inspire many people today."
Martins, who is currently based in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, chose jail mug shots to capture a side view of the activists' faces.
As for the comb, he says "Worn in the 1970s by fluffy afroed youths in America as a protest against repression, it's a symbol that goes beyond style and adornment."
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