Comics are at the crossroads of literature and visual arts – with strong connections to animation movies and video games
With three themes – “Autobiography”, “Heroes and History” and “Folklore and Future” – the Afropolitan Comics online exhibition, born of the coronavirus pandemic, is the second project from the French Institute of South Africa to tackle comics and graphic novels, after the the Art of Comics exhibition held at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2019.
The online exhibition reaches out across the continent, showcasing the work of 16 artists including from South Africa, Algeria, Cameroon, Congo and Zimbabwe.
The French connection here will surprise no-one familiar with the book market in France, where comics (bande dessinée ) make up 16% of all book sales, and comics are reverently referred to as the Ninth Art.
Across Africa comics still have a way to go to being taken seriously by the mainstream publishing industry, but things are moving in the right direction.
As the Afropolitan website notes,
Comics are at the crossroads of literature and visual arts – with strong connections to animation movies and video games.
Comics are accessible for people of all backgrounds, youngsters or adults, men or women, and offer a very diverse range of styles and topics, from science fiction to superhero stories, from historical accounts to contemporary narratives.