Oga, GIF me my change!

African Artists' Foundation

Gif Me My Change!
Every city dweller knows that transport is the heartbeat of a mega city, we set our lives to its rhythms and are at the mercy of its tides. In western Nigeria, the branches and networks of this system are governed by a rambunctious crowd of bus conducters who ferry the human waves of the city from point A to B. A common refrain all throughout the day is “Oga, give me my change!” a refrain that resonates in the heart of every Nigerian that has not only hoped for monetary change but cultural change.

In 2015 African Artist' Foundation gave Francois the opportunity to continue to explore the new opportunities given by GIFs and invited him to Lagos to produce this series of images. He made his first GIFs while living in Liberia in 2014 where he produced a series of over 50 GIFs for a body of work "Monrovia Animated". This series focused in showing "poetic and joyful vision of Liberia" at a time it was being poorly represented in the media during the Ebola outbreak and the rise of child soldiers. In Nigeria, Francois produced a different work, mostly portraits rather than images describing places and movements.

Welcome to the Promised Land is the name of a church at the entrance of Makoko, a famous floating slum of Lagos, that I used for one of the gif of the series. The title of the series can also be interpreted as a reference to the hope that the thousands of migrants who hit Lagos every day in quest of a better future. ~ Francois Beaurain

“For portraits, I animate the part of the picture I want the viewer to focus on. This approach is somehow similar to traditional photo-portraits where bokeh is used to guide the eyes of the viewer”

Chromatin is an animated collaboration between the celebrated photographers Medina Dugger and Francois Beaurain. The series is derived from Medina's "Chroma" series  which celebrates women’s hair styles in Nigeria and was inspired by the late Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere. Chromatin features geometrical and fractal constructions made from Nigerian hair designs which are geometrical and fractal constructs in-and-of themselves.

Fractals used to be at the heart of African design and art. African societies developed recursive patterns (with smaller parts mirroring larger parts), which informed the layout of African villages, hairdos and patterns in African art.

These fractals can be found from ancient Egypt to Sub-Saharan Africa. Braiding is one of the rare contemporary cultural practice where fractals can still be found in Africa.

With Chromatin, Francois and Medina are not only highlighting the geometrical patterns in African hairdos, they’re also reenvisioning fractals in contemporary African art.

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