It is known that knowledge and power both reify and reconstitute one another. Who has the power resources to define what is knowledge, in turn can define knowledge to shore up power. Art, image and cultural representation in the African context carries the same logic. Depictions of Africa, and who gets to depict Africa, condition perceptions of Africa and Africans within global hierarchies, and set the bounds of what is perceived to be possible for the continent. In this manner, art and cultural output in the African context are crucial not only from a social perspective, but also through a developmental and even postcolonial lens. Today, how are African cultural innovators in the realm of media, visual art, film, and more, depicting African identities, narratives, and agency in a way that is shattering existing bounds and frameworks?
This panel is about how the African image can be used to both reframe and elevate the African narrative in a way that can have meaningful financial and social impacts for Africans. The panelists who work in diverse fields including literature, fashion, media and publication will unpack the African image as it is both perceived globally and locally. The panel will discuss how africans can recapture the image of their continent and monetize and endogenize it for their own benefit. The panel will delve into questions of identity, representation and explore the difficult work of breaking and reframing narratives.