Photography Cedric Mizero

Manju Journal's 20 hot creatives and collectives

The Ghanaian arts platform is tipping these artists, architects, designers, poets and more for big things in 2021.

by Ryan White
|
21 January 2021, 8:00am

Photography Cedric Mizero

Manju Journal, a culture platform founded in 2015 and run by Orlando Mensah and Kusi Kubi, has been championing emerging talent in photography and other creative disciplines from across Africa. As well as being an incubator for the next generation of standout creativity, they have fostered a supportive community in an industry known for fierce competitiveness. "We're drawn to artists who are able to convey their ideas in really concise ways," the pair say. Anyone who follows them on Instagram can attest to this clear vision; a smorgasbord of new ideas in image-making and style.

In 2020, Orlando and Kusi curated a list of photographers they were feeling excited by, those with a capacity to examine the continent's beauty in unexpected ways. This year they have gone beyond photography, to spotlight a broader range of artistic disciplines. "We are celebrating these creatives that have inspired us over the past year, as well as championing some we have just been introduced to," Orlando says. "Below is a selection and snapshot of some of the creatives we are tipping for greatness in 2021 — from those in photography and filmmaking, to beauty, fashion, architecture and design."

a side profile with deflated balloons hanging on his ear

Kvvadwo

A Ghanaian-American visual artist and photographer who creates dramatic portraits with vibrant colours. Follow here.

a group wearing free the youth streetwear
Free the Youth x Daily Paper. Photography Philip Nkansah Boakye

Free the Youth

A collective and streetwear brand originating in Tema, Ghana. They’ve been earmarked as one of West Africa’s most exciting rising labels by CNN Africa and collaborated with Nike. Follow here.

a woman in black-and-white

Chukwuka Nwobi 

A visual artist and film director based in Nigeria. Last year Chukwuka shot Kenneth Ize’s debut fashion film. Follow here.

a model wearing palmwine icecream
Photography David Nana Opoku Ansah

PalmWine IceCream

A sustainable label from Manju’s Fashion Director Kusi Kubi, that launched early last year. Each garment from the first collection was made from vintage clothing re-crafted into new pieces, in partnership with Ghanaian tailors. Follow here.

baloji
Photography Kyle Weeks

Baloji

Born in the DRC and raised in Belgium, Baloji describes himself as “an artist in motion, a musician, poet, film director, a man of images and ideas”. In 2019, one of his music videos — that he also directed and styled — won ‘Best Styling in a Video’, a category in association with i-D, at the UK Music Awards. Follow here.

a woman against an illustrated backdrop
Photography Nana Poley

Limbo Accra

A global art platform founded in 2018 “as a response to the urban and spatial challenges the city of Accra is experiencing and has been for the past 50 years and more,” as put by one of its founders in Sleek Magazine. Follow here.

amaarae in a car
Photography @joey_lit

Amaarae

Born in the Bronx and raised between Accra, Atlanta and New Jersey, Amaarae’s experimental sound is “a multicultural hybrid that she describes as Afro-fusion”, as we wrote last year. Follow here.

david alabo artwork

David Alabo

Recently presenting his first solo exhibition, artist David Alabo renders his portraits of the continent in hyper-surreal colours and textures, crafting epic landscape laden with symbolism. Follow here.

a collage by lunga ntila

Lunga Ntila

A fine art photographer whose cut-and-paste artworks piece together a spectrum of people, places, feelings and ideas. Follow here.

priya ahluwalia
Photography Dominka Scheibinger

Ahluwalia

Designer Priya Ahluwalia has gone from strength to strength since she graduated from an MA in Menswear and started her eponymous sustainable label, last year becoming the recipient of the joint LVMH Prize. Follow here.

musician muzi

Muzi

South African musician Muzi has travelled across the world thanks to his infectiously catchy and upbeat productions. Follow here.

kadara enyeasi photography

Kadara Enyeasi 

The Nigerian artist and photographer first studied architecture; something which informs his interest in space and form in his dramatic work. Follow here.

portrait of a young girl by rubee samuel

Rubee Samuel 

A London-based Nigerian photographer, Rubee has exhibited her work a number of times, most recently as part of the Lagos Photo Festival in December. Follow here.

surfers in ghana
Photography Michael Aboya

Surf Ghana

A surf and skate community in Accra, who are currently fundraising to build the very first fully functional skate park in the Ghanaian capital. Follow here (and donate here).

Cedric Mizero photography

Cedric Mizero

A self-taught artist, born and raised in a small village in the western Province of Rwanda and now based in the capital, Kigali, Cedric works across a number of mediums. Follow here.

wavy the creator

Wavy the Creator

Jennifer Ejoke – known by many as Wavy the Creator – makes music and art. She’s currently signed to London label Disturbing London. Follow here.

modular by mensah
Photography Frank Lebon

Modular by Mensah

Furniture designer Kusheda Mensah studied surface design at the London College of Communication and since graduating has caught the attention of Vogue, AnOther and Adidas, who she’s collaborated with. Follow here.

lagos space programme
Photography Kadara Enyeasi

Lagos Space Programme

Presenting images of their new collection for Milan Fashion Week just last week, Adeju Thompson draws on feelings relating to being non-binary, queer and Yoruba. Follow here.

Julianknxx
Photography Ruth Kartel

Julianknxx

Sierra Leonean Julian Knox – or Julianknxx – left brings together poetry, art, music and film in his practise to navigate his dual-heritage and identity. Follow here.

epara
Photography Jermaine Francis

Epara

Epara is described as “Premium skincare using the best in highest quality African botanicals”. Founder Ozohu Adoh told Vogue back in 2019: “It’s nice to know the person who is formulating your products has something in common with you and your skin colour.” Follow here.

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africa
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Photography
manju journal