Jomo Fray


For The Love Of Art

October 31, 2023

2023 has not only been the year of the celebrity divorce but the year of strikes across medical, academic, civil and creative professions. The nearly 5 month long writers strike ended in September while SAG-AFTRA continues to negotiate on behalf of its union members. The rise of AI poses a threat not only to these careers and industries but also to the the craft of art. AI versions of artists’ songs, both living and dead, are constantly surfacing online alongside AI photos, art and even people. This refusal to respect, adequately compensate and create the rooms and spaces that produce a lot of the work we see and experience today is one such way of showing the disregard for human lives that we see on the daily. Art is not a frivolous enterprise that any and everyone can do, the media landscape continues to grow direly inaccessible, a convoluted collection of conglomerate owned enterprises, like a game of Monopoly. 

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

The point of the past is to inform the present and make space for the future, there will always be someone after and we have a responsibility to ensure there is space for growth and development of art and art programmes beyond us.

During my time with AFROPUNK, I’ve written extensively of art and the different ways it functions in our day to day lives. I debuted with Akwaeke Emezi and the multifacetedness of creation in their works and how that breathes new life (sometimes literally). Regarding Insecure, I covered themes of letting go. Visual media as a storytelling craft is so key in playing out the struggles of decision making and knowing the time to leave. One of my favorite directors, Tayarisha Poe has been key in exploring the expanse of Black girlhood while Talk To Me explores the darker emotion of grief. 

Selah and the Spades / Image credit: Jomo Fray

Nigerian creators like Lolu and Fadekemi Ogunsanya are cultivating community, archives and access to spaces that reflect Nigerian culture and the current zeitgeist. Interrogating and dissecting the world around us is key to defining our politics – a key facet of Decolonial Thoughts and part of the legacy of Art  For Justice.

Artwork by Fadekemi Ogunsanya / Image by Rob Harris

With the The Age of Pleasure, Janelle Monae has contributed to the body politics of gender, autonomy and sexuality.. Cam Kahin speaks to the experience of becoming an adult today. Jessica Udeh as DJ and artist shows how discipline informs creation, politics and everything in-between. Simply put, we cannot be without art and as it stands, art cannot put commercial appetites above integrity.

Is this a list? Yes. Does it also show the expanse and need for support for art? Also yes. At the end of the day, the point is simple. The love of art translates to the freedom to create truly and honestly. It seeps into our everyday in collected moments both big and little. For the love of art, we keep creating, we keep preserving and we keep fighting. 

Not For Sale Photo by Chris Gardner

Not For Sale / Photo by Chris Gardner

Header image by Jomo Fray