Just last month we hosted our first Young African Creatives Conference and had the pleasure of having creator Anthony Bila aka The Expressionist share his viewpoint of what it means to be an African in a modern context.
Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do?
Anthony Bila: My name is Anthony Bila also known as The Expressionist, I am a creator. I have always and use various mediums at various points in my life to express myself and share an alternate viewpoint of what it means to be an African in a modern context.
What does a normal day look like for you?
Anthony: A normal day is not normal for me, between working as a photographer, director, brand consultant it varies. One day I could be travelling to Facebook headquarters with Shomadjozi to speak on a panel about reshaping the African narrative, the next day I could be on a photography shoot for Markham or Sportscene and the next I'm in
Talk to us about your photography, what do you hope people take away from it?
Anthony: My photography should always make you feel something. I merely want to share my perspective with the world but at the same time, I want the world to share its perspective with me. I am not a technical
What is your creative process, talk us through it?
Anthony: My process is really fluid and no prescriptive, again it really depends on what I'm trying to do or what objective I'm trying to meet.
What are your thoughts on African Stories, do you think we’re doing it right?
Anthony Bila: I think nobody has the monopoly on how to tell the African story, or at least no one should, except ourselves, Africans. There are so many stories and so many nuances to being an African that get swept away with the broom of generality or sacrificed at the altar of stereotypes. We are sometimes in danger of seeing ourselves through the gaze of the West because we consume so much of their content and inevitably it becomes how we see ourselves through their eyes instead of our own.
Which African creative’s work have you been looking at lately? Who should we be looking at now?
Anthony Bila: I don't follow any particular artist of narrative, I think that limits where inspiration comes from and it can come from anywhere, and everywhere. I do have a penchant for young creative minds that are carving their own paths unreservedly and are changing what it means to be an African. Our narrative has been often bastardized,
What advice do you have for young African creatives?
Anthony: My advice is simple. Start with what you have at your disposal, however much or little. Just begin. It will make sense along the way, persist, persevere and be patient. There are no shortcuts to achieving dreams.
What does creativity mean to you?
Anthony: Creativity is a way of life, it should be part and parcel of your being, there is on and off switch. You should eat, breath and sleep it a way of thinking, it's a lot like a muscle. The more you use the muscle, the stronger it gets.
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