2022’s hottest creatives as selected by Manju Journal
In celebration of Africa Day, the global arts and culture platform have chosen to spotlight these designers, image makers and artists.
Photography Kojo Anim
Having collaborated with the likes of Liz Johnson Artur, Ruth Ossai, and Nadine Ijware, the Ghanian publication Manju Journal has established itself well over the years as an authority on the visual culture of the African continent. Their inaugural HOTLIST was published with us in 2021: a now-annual directory of new and exciting creatives who champion African artistry while simultaneously disrupting the status quo. These are 20 individuals from Africa and the global diaspora whose skills have transcended their country’s borders to influence wider popular culture.
From Ghana to Nigeria, South Africa to Uganda, Ethiopia, the Congo and beyond, every member of Manju’s creative community shares a common goal: to uplift and communicate the creativity coming out of Africa. “Creativity and community are at the forefront of what we do and we believe that as the world is gradually coming back together from the recent pandemic, it is totally essential to continue celebrating these amazing voices,” founding director Richmond Orlando Mensah says. “It’s a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in.”
The Lagos-based self-taught photographer takes surrealist and dreamlike images which focus on the human form as a pivotal point in their creation. “The idea of photography caught my eye because I didn’t have to say anything to express myself,” he says. “In other words, I never have to explain myself.” Follow here.
The founders of Kaalag, Ivorian sisters Anta and Asna, launched the brand in 2019 with an eye to the value of community. Their designs are a celebration of the African generations ready to own their narratives. Follow here.
The interests of this London-based visual artist lie with investigating Black experiences, masculinity, and queerness within the context of Afrofuturism. His body of work is mixed media, combining photography, film and curation. Follow here.
Superjazzclub is an Accra-based collective pioneering indie music in the country. The group comprises producers, DJs, photographers, filmmakers and artists, who blend jazz variations into their music. Their output is a window into what it feels like to create something special with your friends. Follow here.
Eniola Olanrewaju, also known as Korty, is a Nigerian YouTube sensation and multidisciplinary talent. Her videos lean towards self-reflection, evaluating personal experiences to compelling effect. Follow here.
A fast-rising young Ghanaian-American filmmaker, Kuukua’s work raises awareness about mental health and social issues. She has built a legacy of telling stories that express strength and dominance through accessing spaces of feeling and sensitivity. Follow here.
A pair of movement directors from Lagos, Victory and Marvel Ebinum use dance as a tool to remind us of the importance of human connection. The duo’s poignant and captivating dance films transport the viewer into a world full of harmony and belonging. Follow here.
The Slum Studio
The Ghanaian-based platform and creative community founded by Sel Kofiga uses unconventional mediums to explore the narrative surrounding identity and the politics of clothing. “By creating a visual dialogue through the medium of wear; we use the dynamic power of colour, illustration and abstract expressionism as a language and mapping to reintroduce our audience into our immediate space,” the brand says. Follow here.
Island Gals Shred
This South African female skating community empowers women and has remained at the centre of promoting female youth culture in sport since its founding. Follow here.
Oroko is an online radio founded by Kikelomo, Nico Adomako, Naëmi Ada and Truseye to promote and highlight the diverse range of Ghanaian musical talents, and that of the global African diaspora at large. In just a few months from their launch, the collective has served as a cultural incubator in supporting local musicians, DJs, thinkers, moderators, and content creators. Follow here.
The Ugandan fashion designer and activist Bobby Kolade is redesigning secondhand clothes and redistributing them to the global north with his brand BUZIGAHILL and project Return to Sender. His dual aims are to help better establish Uganda’s fashion industry, and to draw attention to the problem of secondhand clothing waste in Africa. Follow here.
Cinthia Sifa Mulanga
The Congolese artist explores the politics surrounding the domestic space and notions of beauty within the Afropolitan. She works in several mediums, including painting, collage, drawing, printmaking and was recently tapped by Gucci to create an artwork inspired by its latest range of bags. Follow here.
Sarfo Emmanuel Annor
This young visual artist celebrates Ghanaian culture and heritage through his vibrant, colourful portraits. Often shooting on his iPhone, Sarfo hopes to represent the culture and customs of his native home Koforidua, a town in the Eastern part of Ghana. Follow here.
London-based material designer Ella Bulley creates work that crosses multiple disciplines including textiles, products, art and set design. The former London Design Museum fellow’s work focuses on a cross between sustainability and how objects can be designed within a home to have more cultural value. Follow here.
The Kenyan photographer and cinematographer is influenced by his own life experiences, a combination of the buzzing Nairobi city and the rural areas outside. “My work reflects a progressive editorial edge across the realms of documentary, portraiture and fashion, while maintaining a personal and intimate touch,” he explains. Follow here.
This Ghanaian photographer’s compelling imagery is inspired by his dreams and the intent observation of people’s day-to-day activities. Kojo’s goal is to communicate the notions and aspects of his native culture that he finds are often overlooked. Follow here.
The Ethiopian-French musician’s work navigates between Afro rhythms, polyphonic singing, pentatonic and tonal harmonies exploring the link between intimate and universal, organic and digital. She continues to explore her Hamar roots through polyphony, accompanied by simple guitar chords. Follow here.
Ibrahima Kewe Ndome
Ibrahima is one of the members of Atelier Ndokette — a collective that uses photography and fashion design to situate conversations about the contemporary socio-cultural ecosystems that inform the issues within those disciplines. In his work as a model, he likes to celebrate his Senegalese roots. Follow here.
Gcobisa is a South African film director and writer whose passion is depicting underrepresented stories about rural life, and exploring the beauty of the ordinary lives of marginalised people, particularly within the Black experience. Follow here.
This Accra-based art collective and creative consultancy tackles social and environmental issues through art, education and entrepreneurship. Their ongoing project, The Revival, launched in 2018 as a community-led initiative rooted in upcycling culture, and continues to be an innovative and engaging way to manage global textile waste in West Africa. Follow here.