Black Panther studios commissions Kenyan to create art piece for London launch
Prior to the launch of Black Panther in London, Marvel studios commissioned Kenya’s Osbourne Macharia to create an exclusive art piece.
This is a big deal because Black Panther is set to break all the box office records if early projections are anything to go by. According to Reuters, the movie set a new record with a whooping KSh. 21.8 million just over the weekend.
In addition to the new financial heights the movie is setting, there is also the fact that Black Panther just set an unprecedented cultural milestone. Not only is the movie a broad mix of African cultures, but Black Panther imagines a world where black people and specifically Africans are wealthy and technologically advanced with the ability to be their own saviours. Wakanda is not a real place, but the African tribes represented in the movie are real including the Maasai, Zulu (South Africa) and Igbo (Nigeria) to mention a few.
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The commissioning of Macharia is not only a nod to the talent that comes from Africa but an appreciation of one of Kenya’s photographic artists.
For this project, he created ‘Ilgelunot’. Macharia said this of the project, “the title of my piece is called Ilgelunot which in Maasai translates to ‘The Chosen Ones’. I also created custom typography for the names of the elders that was inspired by geometric tribal lines, shapes and strokes in order to give the entire project its own unique identity.
The piece tells the story of 3 blind elders of Maasai origin (originally from Kajiado) who were Black Panther’s most trusted advisors in the Kingdom of Wakanda.
The three were rescued by King T’Chaka during World War 2 after having wandered the vast plains of North Africa for months in search of refuge. As nomads, they got to integrate, assimilate and learn from different cultures and tribes. Exposure to the metallic element #Vibranium made them blind but also gave them extraordinary abilities and insight.”
To see other work by Osbourne Macharia, visit Alliance Française where his work is still on display.