Exploring colourism through handheld 3D printing.

Wakianda Explores the Heavy Realities of Colorism


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Melano is a prefix meaning "black or dark-colored."

'More 'Melano or less? Questions I ask myself' is a series by Wakianda, and curated by Emmaus Kimani that sensitizes and educates audiences on the realities of colorism.

Her exhibit at Nairobi Design Week 2023 explored this form of discrimination that is prevalent in many societies across the globe.

It is a system of prejudice that favours individuals with lighter skin tones over those with darker skin tones. This insidious form of discrimination is not only perpetuated by external factors such as media and beauty standards, but it is also perpetuated within communities and families.

Wakianda's art raises awareness on the harmful practices such as skin bleaching, which is prevalent in many African countries. To tackle colorism in Africa, we must begin by addressing the root causes of this problem. The exhibit through the sculptures and symbols below how it has manifested its way through our daily lives;

Internal and external pressures from stereotypical images of pre-set beauty standards; from bleaching products explored through the ‘Bleaching Metamorphosis’.

The ‘What Shade Will It Be Today?’ shows various skin shades that have been hanged on a clothing rack. It elaborates on how beauty standards have caused us to change the natural color and shade of our skins to what is accepted by the society.

The ‘Unfairly Lovely’ work, glares to the reality of how various brands are capitalizing on darker shades, while giving emphasis on why being lighter is preferred.

_Wakianda is a Multidisciplinary 3D Artist, Fashion Designer/Enthusiast. _

_This project was in partnership with Goethe Institut Kenya _