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Derived from a blend of three words according to Hamed Maiye (Afro: Of afro/Caribbean culture, Portrait: a visual representation of someone, usually through painting or photography, & Ism: a practice or movement), Afro-Portraitism is a movement focused on how African youth in the diaspora represent and identify themselves. The contemporary arts movement which began as a concept, was birthed with the aim of creating a common ground for the sudden boom of young competitive creatives of African/Caribbean descent to unite. It also aims to express the many, different sides to being a young afro/Caribbean individual devoid of the stereotypes that have been/are still being attached to people of afro culture by the Western peoples.
So, in collaboration with stylist Umps Machaka, videographer Tunde Awoyemi and photographers Hannah Faith, Liz Knuckles and White Negatives, Hamed Maiye brings alive his paintings with an exhibition and a film project, which introduced the Afro-Portraitism movement. The short visual showcases afro uniqueness through several black models who with their different styles, different poses, different looks and even different shades of black express a sense of regality, serenity, confidence and poise in the beautiful flower-themed settings. This film was perfected with a profound song, Pedestrian by Dylema which acting like an adhesive, brought the film together and at the same time became the cherry on the top of the cake by celebrating strength of self and oneness in diversity of people of the afro culture.
It is safe to say that with the birth of the Afro-Portraitism movement, young African people, from different walks of life, all over the world, can now come together in solidarity to express themselves not just as black people, but black people with the power to be independently unique.