Imran Tilde at 234 Art Fair — An Afrofuturist tale

Imaran's work lives in a setting blending his visions of the future with the present while striking a delicate balance between profound exploration and lightheartedness.
Art & Design
April 7, 2024
Written By
Chidiebube Dim
In this Article

Immersed in worlds beyond our own, Imran weaves tales of humanity's exodus from Earth due to its inhospitable climate caused by climate change. Grounded in traditional aesthetics, his science fiction narratives offer a unique blend of past and future.

In the first sculpture Gwagwarmaya, Imran portrays travellers, on a great journey who have stumbled into a massive patch of quicksand. The floor slowly engulfs them until they are chest-deep in it. The sand looks like lava describing how dangerous the situation truly is. Despite their precarious situation, the travellers keep moving, pushing their way through the fluid sand, epitomizing the essence of the piece's title, “Gwagwarmaya” which directly translates to “struggle” in Imran’s mother tongue, Hausa. The perseverance of the travellers is the heart of this piece.

Imran’s vision for a world where present-day traditions exist harmoniously with a futuristic technology-driven setting is not only present in his output but also in his technique. He is a traditional acrylic painter, and his sculptures are made either through traditional paper sculpting methods or 3D printing. This relationship with technology lends layers of complexity to his creations.

The second showcased piece further deepens the connection to tradition and history. Titled "Amina," the sculpture pays homage to Queen Amina, the renowned ruler of the pre-colonial Hausa city-state of Zaria. Documented as an expertly trained and well-seasoned warrior, she was crowned Queen after the passing of her brother, the King. However, the piece does not show Amina in one of her many battles, but instead captures a moment during her travels. As she braves the harsh realities of her world, the sculpture hints at her journey towards the future, symbolized by the distinct Hausa architecture.

The condensed space within the sculpture serves multiple purposes, partly to serve as a reminder of her destination, but also driven by Imran's fascination with architecture and the preservation of cultural design codes. While advocating for modernization, Imran emphasizes the importance of maintaining cultural identities as the cornerstone for shaping the future.

Imaran's work strikes a delicate balance between profound exploration and lightheartedness, allowing him to delve into profound themes while maintaining an air of playfulness. In essence, his art serves as a testament to the enduring human spirit and the timeless relevance of cultural identity in shaping the course of the future.

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