Today’s modern hand fisted Afro comb is easily identified when sighted in and around the African continent. A fashion tool as it is, has however been crafted into a deep-meaning work of art by One artist as a symbol to celebrate black activists jailed fighting for freedom, fairness and social justice. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Fela Kuti amongst others have had their images digitally crafted onto Afro combs, set against a bright orange background.
The images, shared on social media, tallied over half a million views in the first 24 hours. They are the work of Nigerian artist Fred Martins who expresses his views on African social justice and freedom through historic egyptians afro-comb illustrations against bold orange backgrounds in a series that include potraits of Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumbumba and Fela Kuti.
“I chose orange because it’s associated with prison”, he told CNN. Inspiration come from the unlikeliest of places – listening to traditional West African high life music: “It was full of praise for the noblemen” he says.
“I realized that most of these legendary activists, from Marcus Garvey, Patrice Lumumba to Angela Davis among others were at some point jailed for forcing their way to resurrect the African consciousness” says Martins.
The ‘Black, Orange and Freedom’ art series have been created “to arouse commemoration of the heroes that inspire many people today.”
Martins, who is currently based in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, chose jail mug shots to capture a side view of the activists’ faces.
As for the comb, he says “Worn in the 1970s by fluffy afroed youths in America as a protest against repression, it’s a symbol that goes beyond style and adornment.”