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Jacque Njeri on her ‘MaaSci’ series

Artist and designer Jacque Njeri has always had a close relationship with art, which she expressed through various mediums growing up. She took this experimentation with art as a child and channeled it into formal training when she completed her degree in Bachelors of Art in Design.

The aim of Jacque’s work is to look at everyday scenarios but through a whole new perspective. “It is almost as if to answer the hypothetical question, ‘If not this, then what else?'” she explains.

In contrast to her previous Stamp Series, Jacque’s latest digital series titled MaaSci, a portmanteau of Maasai and Sci-Fi, sees Maasai people walking on the moon and traveling through space on UFOs, as well as sitting on or walking towards celestial objects on earthly terrains. Her strategic use of layering and taking into account the sitting and standing positions of the Maasai people she portrays in her images, allow the final images to come across as photographs rather than digital constructions. Jacque explains that the role of the Maasai people in this series “was to provide that rich cultural aesthetic to the different science fiction themes represented in the compositions.” Her images also speak back to the documentary-style photographs coupled with narratives that highlight African cultures and their traditions as occupying a kind of anachronistic place in the present. Instead the Maasai are seen to be inhabitants of both the past, present and future, playing with linear chronological thinking, and highlighting Maasai cyclical time.

Artists from the continent are often categorized as Afrofuturists. Thinking about the almost immediate categorization, I asked Jacque what she thinks about this. She replied by saying, ‘I love it! It sets an African future apart from other futures. It alludes to a future for us and by us. It shows ownership of a voice in matters pertaining Africa…sort of.  I have been an Afrofuturism enthusiast even way before I started contributing to that genre.”

Jacque has a number of projects that she is working on at the moment, but is planning on extending her MaaSci series given the positive reception that is has received.

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