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The Power of Images to Empower Their Subjects

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Learn more about Wanuri Kahiu: https://www.thelavinagency.com/speake... We’re so used to narratives out of Africa being about war, poverty and devastation, says filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu. What happens when we disrupt the expected narratives with stories of fun, whimsy, and romance? In this wonderfully buoyant talk, Kahiu introduces her self-invented genre of “AfroBubbleGum”—African art that’s vibrant, lighthearted, and pointedly without a political agenda. As she explains, showing characters who are happy, in love, financially stable, and healthy is an irreverent way of telling African stories, by virtue of how infrequently they are told. “Fun is political, because imagine if we have images of Africans who were vibrant and loving and thriving and living a beautiful, vibrant life,” she says. “What would we think of ourselves then? Would we think that maybe we’re worthy of more happiness? Would we think of our shared humanity through our shared joy?” Drawing on her love of science fiction and pop culture, Kahiu will show your audience why it is important to go against the grain to tell stories that complement, and sometimes even contradict the conventional stories we tell. If we do that—rethink the value of all that is “unserious”—we can learn to capture and see the full range of human experiences, in art, and in each other.

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