This Nigerian Visual Artist Uses The Afro Comb To Illustrate Portraits Of African Activists


While surfing through the internet for random scribbles and information and simultaneously perusing some of my fave websites, I stumbled upon an interview on Fred Martins by Design Indaba 

Fred Martins is a Nigerian visual artist and it is his latest project, Orange, Black And Freedom, which he was interviewed on, that captivated me and got my attention.


Fred Martin transformed the Afro comb visually – a comb whose origins dates  back to 1970s, and was at the time, the accessory of a hairstyle that represented counter culture and civil rights during an important/ time changing era for both. The Afro comb was worn in the hair not only as an adornment, but also as a political emblem and a signature of a collective identity of black people. It was widely recognised as a way of saying no to oppression.


Fred uses the symbolic comb to illustrate portraits of our famed African activists such as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Fela Kuti, who were all, at some point in their lives, jailed and under fire for taking measures to establish freedom and fairness for Africans.



The colour palettes used, Orange and Black, also have their symbolic reasons- Black for Africa and Orange for the colour of incarceration which all the activities went through at some point.



For more information and the complete interview on Fred and his inspiration, click here 



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Nimide Ogbeun believes that Diamond was discovered on the day she was born. Although school trained to be an Engineer, she loves nothing more than getting lost in books and rooting for all semblance of love. You can catch up on her shoe fetish on Instagram ( @nimyde ) or roll your eyes at her weird attempt at humour on Twitter (@nimyde )








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