‘Osborne Macharia: Stories of the Future Past’

Oceane Kinhouande, Artskop, July 28, 2020

Oceane Kinhouande / 2020-07-28


“Osborne Macharia: Stories of the Future Past” showcases two distinct and breathtaking series – “Magadi” and “Nyanye” – from Vancouver-based, Kenyan-born Afrofuturist Osborne Macharia. 


An alternative reality to erase stereotypes

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 aging 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.


About Osborne Macharia


Osborne is a self-taught Commercial Photographer and Visual Artist bor and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and currently living in Vancouver, Canada. His style of photography falls within the genre of Afrofuturism, governed by two key elements – Cultural Identity and Fiction. Through storytelling and social inclusion, it creates a powerful platform to convey important messages on topics such as Equality, Inclusion, Representation, Gender Abuse, Ivory poaching, FGM, Albinism, Dwarfism, Conservation and Elderly Care.