There are few compliments a writer can be paid greater than having their work inspire some other great work of art.
This is exactly the case with Nnedi Okorafor and the Nigerian-born and Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous.
Jeyifous who, in the past, has done futuristic re-imaginings of Lagos recently released a new series of images that recast Lagos as a sci-fi universe. In the new series, he uses a photo-manipulation technique to blend actual streets, markets, and buildings in contemporary Lagos with futuristic structures made from grass, sand, and recycled metal. Metropolitan Lagos is lined with skyscrapers rising out of slums. Lagos becomes the location of a strange kind of architecture that blends natural and organic materials with scrap metal.
For Jeyifous, the images point to the idea that development should also come to the less affluent in society while maintaining sustainability practices.
According to a CityLab article, Jeyifous’ vision for Lagos was inspired by the dystopian universe explored in Okorafor’s Binti. Okorafor’s Binti is a beautifully written sci-fi novella about the experiences of Binti, a young feminist heroine who leaves home to be educated at the prestigious Oomza University, the finest higher institution in her galaxy. Coming from a people deeply attached to their home, Binti struggles throughout her journey with acceptance in her new environment. The fictional world in Binti is modeled after the Himba people of Namibia. Their lifestyle, which has been erroneously labelled as indigenous and therefore backward, becomes the basis of creating the vision for an Africa-inspired science fictional world.
Both Okorafor and Jeyifous are committed to helping us rethink various aspects of African life in terms of the future. We admire both pieces for their refreshing take on the current socio-economic realities and commend both artists on their creative endeavors. Kudos to these authors for pushing us to imagine African spaces and narratives differently.
We look forward to even more inspired work.
Order Binti here.
See more of Jeyifous’ work here.
Images by Olalekan Jeyifous via citylab.com