Stories of the Future Past: Osborne Macharia

31 July - 21 August 2020

 "Osborne Macharia: Stories of the Future Past" showcases two distinct and breathtaking series - "Magadi" and "Nyanye" - from Vancouver-based, Kenyan-born Afrofuturist Osborne Macharia. Macharia's unique brand of Afrofuturism suggests not just an attempt at historical revisionism, but a way to draw attention to issues - from gender abuse to FGM to dwarfism to elderly care - that too often fall out of the limelight. His extraordinary countermove is evidenced in his dreamlike images, where viewers are transported to an alternate realm; where the subject at hand is conveyed without distraction, shedding preconceived notions of what is possible and what is fantasy. 


In his series "Nyanye," which translates to a non-pejorative slang for "an old woman" in Swahili, Macharia's metaphorical literacy flexes its muscles to flip our assumptions of ageing to showcase the style and swagger of our elders. Set under the stunning light of an Hargeisa sunset, each protagonist represents an elderly woman who held various positions of power in her career - now settling into a life of leisure and reclusive adventure as part of the League of Extraordinary Grannies. 


Similarly, although calling attention to issues such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, is Macharia's breathtaking "Magadi" series. It features an Afrofuturistic presentation of a group of retired female circumcisers (FGM aides) who have abandoned their careers to become ethical fashionista's in the hot and arid plains of Magadi, Kenya. They rescue young brides who are escaping child marriage and nurture their fashion sense while teaching them practical skills for survival.