Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu took to the stage last week at the 2017 edition of TED Talks, which was held in Vancouver, Canada.
Wanuri, who was identified by Tom Reilly, the Director of the Fellows program, for her unique take on African filmmaking, says she thinks that too much art in Africa has a political agenda – and what’s missing is art for art’s sake.
The accomplished artist has made a short film called ‘Pumzi’, tackling science fiction in filmmaking in Africa, a realm that she is arguably the first to delve into. She christened her style of filmmaking as ‘Afro Bubble Gum’, a new lens through which to view the continent.
Why the name? “Fun, fierce and frivolous art in the name of all that is un-seriously African,” she says. “We’re so used to narratives out of Africa being about war, famine and suffering. Where is the fun?”
Wanuri uses science fiction and fantasy to tell modern African stories – stories about space and robots. But she’s also tackled more stern issues. Her first feature film From a Whisper covers the twin bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Other presenters and fellows at the 2017 edition included Lauren Sallan, a fish paleobiologist who delves into fish fossils to trace evolutionary paths, Biomedical engineer Elizabeth Wayne who has purposed to take cancer drugs to where they need to go and Manu Prakash‘s ‘frugal science’. A lot of the sessions can be found online on the TED Blog.