Most people usually want to be rebellious on the sensitive subject of slavery. In this series we explore, visually, this topic and more, both objectively and subjectively in a liberal way.
Trans Atlantic had been a shelf idea for a little over two years and when we brought it out and breathed some life into it a few weeks ago, there could not have been a more valid time. Initially, our original idea was to visually discuss topics such as race, slavery and class both subjectively and objectively from an academic reference point while drawing inspiration from the Trans Atlantic Triangular trade of 16th -18th Century.
And by the time we were almost done putting the project together, Libya had successfully single handedly revived the memories of this turbulent part of history all over again in the most vivid, practical way.
So as a result, and as our duty as being conscious global citizens, we decided to add our own independent voice into this global conversation that is currently taking place. Not necessarily as a social commentary like how generally most creative artists would want to, but more simply as a visual illustration of some of the interchangeable themes and mixed feelings that come to mind on the subject.
It is fascinating and particularly dreadful, as is in this case, to see how history has some kind of incurable endemic effect and just when you think we have made some considerable progress as a human race; suddenly we are back to where we started.
For the vast majority where most of us find ourselves, it is absolutely frustrating every time! That after all is said and done; we quickly realize how powerless we are. Incapable of affecting any meaningful tangible change and that at the end of the day all we have is a mouth to speak for or against certain issues on social media and a heart to hate or love.
Initially, when we were thinking about the best fashion to narrate the Trans Atlantic as a story in the modern time we live in, we were inspired by a hypothetical scenario of an old man who had lived through the days of slave trade and now many years later, he was sitting with his great granddaughter telling her this history of mankind.
A story of horror and triumph, hope and fear, a story of pain and joy living side by side, of how the mighty and strong gang up against the weaklings, with the weaklings, for the weaklings on a carefully crafted fallacy.
We were particularly interested in discussing the profound similarities between history and the modern time we live in on a lifestyle level and how technology and other socio-economical factors have changed and continue to change but mentalities seem to possess some kind of durable irresistibility to change.
Our initial concept was ballooned by the current state of affair of some kind of organized turmoil on our planet. When you look at what’s happening around the world at the moment in some places in the Middle East and Africa specifically, it’s completely heart breaking to say the least. On the other hand, it is impossible and almost dangerous to buy into a single story.
Every story has a right to be told and heard in its entirety. You cannot, for example, talk about Libya or the Middle East or Europe or slavery etc in isolation without recognizing a bunch of other socio- economic factors. But fundamentally the political climate and its power to change the composition of these landscapes. (As a case study)Who is Libya? Who inflicted the pain on Libya? What do we know and what do we really not know? These are some of the questions that come to mind, especially when you rely on digital media as the primary source of information like most of us.
It’s daunting to realize how quickly and easily a gift can become a curse. How and why havoc only seems to wreck places that are rich in natural resources and places where leaders have an independent way of thinking for their country.
Further than that, the toughest homework of our generation is the internet. That everything happens so quickly so fast and we have to consume all this information at the same time, it gets numbing. You are not done with one hashtag then another one comes up and another and another...an endless cycle of sad news.
With time you begin to see these great injustices as regular occurrences and a part of life. That’s really the dilemma of our generation.
Anyhow, however things play out, and from whichever sides of a story you stand on, ultimately we are one huge family of the human race. And we should, despite of such painful realities, continue to nurse the hope for a better planet.
We're incredibly thankful to all our team members who helped us pull off this project, we appreciate each and every effort you put towards making this a success.
~Words by Haji Mutonye
Photography: Pekat Photography
Styling: Dress Creative Agency
Concept Development: Haji Mutonye & Patrick Kamau
Co-producers: Peter Njoroge & Ismail Akuku
Makeup: Annrose Njoroge
Assistants: Nick Mitalo, Brian Gathu
Talents: - Gabriella Msimbi
-Al Amiin Akuku