Africa is cool. It’s in our culture
Musonda Kabwe is a creative hybrid, multimedia maven, and the epitome of cool. In a sea of digital artists striving to create the new hip, Kabwe stands out. From graphic designer to illustrator, he’s utilising his phenomenal skills to merge modern craft and tradition. “Young artists often see the attention Western trends get and lose themselves and their cultures,” Kabwe explains. Known as Müs, the artist draws us closer to celebrating our identity with his bold designs. “Illustration is an opportunity to tell a new story and release us from this prison of image that we’re stuck in,” Kabwe says.
Born in Zambia, raised in Johannesburg, and educated at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Kabwe’s diverse life experiences guide his art. Wherever he goes, creativity and artistic expression follow. He uses his work to showcase the cultural influences all around him. By tapping into what defines a community, Kabwe deepens his understanding of others. “I think culture is very important as a means of connecting with different people,” he says. Through the process, Kabwe is becoming both a stronger designer and a better person.
Despite his relatively recent entry into the industry, Kabwe has made huge strides. In 2015, Design Indaba listed him as an Emerging Creative. Last year alone, Kabwe took home gold at the Loerie Awards, hosted a solo exhibition at Gallery 57 in Johannesburg, illustrated the cover of a book celebrating African creatives, and customised jackets that turn the wearer into masterpieces. His work reminds us that art is dependent on the people making it, influenced by our evolving cultures and traditions. “My message to young designers is be present and figure out who you are,” Kabwe says. When we acknowledge the unique aspects of our cultures, we sharpen our creativity.