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 Maike Schimanowski / Magdalena Stotter


Preface

On these pages we aim to contextualise Milumbe Haimbe's artwork The Revolutionist within the realms of Afrofuturism & Science Fiction and comic & cartoon (focused on a specifically African context) by taking into account the multitude of perspectives and critical approaches of intersectional and queer theories.

 


Milumbe Haimbe applies a background of painting to her newer work, digital illustration. The medium fits to Haimbe’s interest in popular media. Specifically, she is concerned with the representation of cultural minorities within the sphere of popular media. The protagonist of the sequential artwork in the form of a graphic novel is Ananiya, a seventeen year-old black female who works as an agent in the Covert Operations Division of the resistance movement. The resistance group calls itself the Army for the restoration of womanhood and fights against the corporate government that has introduced sex robots capable of replacing the need for female humans. Although Ananiya. The revolutionist is set in the (near) future, it undermines current 'cultural gaps' such as stereotyped and over-sexualized women, lack of diversity in popular media, and questions of sexuality. Haimbe’s work is a direct response to the lack of leading female heroes, especially black females, in popular media. It contends with preconceived notions of what a woman 'should' look like and includes supporting characters of diverse ethnicities.

The heroine Ananiya begins to have feelings of affection towards one of the female robots complicating her function within the resistance movement. This exemplifies the struggle between internal and external conflicts. Ananiya grapples with social conformity by being a part of the Army for the restoration of womanhood, but she must also confront her own emotions when they do not match with the social expectations of this resistance group.

See: http://www.biennaledakar.org/2014/spip.php?article136

"My protagonist in this particular comic is female, black, young and gay," says Haimbe introducing Ananiya, an undercover agent operating in a not-too-distant future where the whole world is controlled by a powerful corporation.

"The idea is to help different people to relate to different symbolisms," says Haimbe. "A lot of the heroes in popular media, whether they are comics, movies or novels, are heterosexual white males - nothing wrong with that but I think we need to see another alternative," she adds. "You know, the world is made out of so many people."

See: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/26/world/africa/dakar-biennale-modern-african-art/

 

Introductory quotes on CNN in March 2015:

„So many years later, in the year 2015, it is somewhat bewildering to experience today the same disillusionment when I see so little representation of cultural minorities in popular media. This is a big deal to me."

„I am of that school of thought that believes that radio, television, film and other media of popular culture provide the symbols, myths and resources through which we constitute a common culture."

„It would, indeed, be accurate to read her as the antithesis of the typical hero who more often than not is male, white, straight and privileged.”

See: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/18/opinions/where-are-black-superheroes-milumbe-haimbe/

 

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