Malik Afegbua: The Artist Re-inventing the Art of Storytelling Using Artificial Intelligence

  • Malik Afegbua [Image from Technext]

Through the use of realistic images and videos of old Africans going down the catwalk and on the beach, a Nigerian artist is employing artificial intelligence to re-imagine life for these individuals.

Because so many senior citizens are marginalised in society, particularly in the fashion industry, Malik Afegbua, a filmmaker, says he started to picture what they would look like as models.

Projects by Afegbua are not your typical works of art. His artwork is really peculiar, so even if you use the same art-generating AI engines or answer the same prompts, the outcomes will not even come close to matching. This is because his method is more deliberate and time-consuming than the typical AI user’s. Thanks to his expertise with AI techniques and his artistic imagination, Afegbua’s efforts are already rewriting the African story.

Afegbua began sharing some of his work on social media, and it quickly gained popularity. He created the “Elders Series,” a collection of images and movies that feature white-haired women and bearded men walking the catwalk for a fictitious fashion show while wearing Afrocentric clothing, including decorative arm and neck bands.

In a chat with Reuters, he revealed his motivation behind the “Elder Series”. Afegbua said, “I wanted to imagine the elderly people in a place that is not either in a sad space or in a suppressed state. However, when I was making it, I kind of knew there was something there. I was like this is dope. I’m loving what I’m seeing.”

An AI creation by Afegbua

Afegbua wasn’t always a creative. In college, he majored in business, but after receiving a camera from a buddy in 2011, he began making movies. He stated that when his elderly mother became unwell, the notion to investigate a separate environment for seniors first emerged. He began producing content depicting a more positive side of ageing using an artificial intelligence programme.

Ngochola, another collection by Malik Afegbua, is inspired by the Wakanda troops in the Marvel Studios film Black Panther. He describes a hypothetical advanced and intelligent African-descendant civilization that has existed for 250 000 years and has learned to converse with technology.

The collection is a part of a global movement that has been on the front lines of a cultural war to dispel myths about Africa at a time when black people from Africa and throughout the world are starting to band together.

The objective of Ngochola is to transform the collection into a motion picture. He explained, “So when it comes to Ngochola, you should think of Hollywood and the kind of set they make, and the kind of clothing they have.

His work has already caught the interest of some notable Hollywood figures. Ruth Carter, who created the costumes for the Black Panther movies, has already commented, calling his work “so dope.”

During a session with Technext, he talked about his plans and projects lined up for the year.

“I have three projects coming out this year. Two documentaries and one tv show. When it comes to AI, I have exhibitions that we are going to be doing around the world. Hopefully bring the fashion show to life too. I have an NFT show in Brazil. America, Paris as well.”

Afegbua’s website features a number of his series. 

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