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‘Africa is the cradle of mankind, but also the cradle of creativity’: The photographer showcasing its artistry to the world

Updated:2024-06-03 08:36    Views:85

Trevor Stuurman, pictured here in a self-portrait, is a visual artist, photographer and fashion icon from South Africa. His work has earned him global recognition over the years, leading to collaborations with everyone from Beyoncé to Barack Obama. Trevor Stuurman, pictured here in a self-portrait, is a visual artist, photographer and fashion icon from South Africa. His work has earned him global recognition over the years, leading to collaborations with everyone from Beyoncé to Barack Obama. Trevor Stuurman In 2023, Stuurman unveiled “The Manor,” his new creative project that aims to uplift African artistry by “honoring our stories and protecting them,” he says. "The Manor" logo, seen here, includes a design of the letter "M" inspired by the idea of a traditional dwelling. In 2023, Stuurman unveiled “The Manor,” his new creative project that aims to uplift African artistry by “honoring our stories and protecting them,” he says. "The Manor" logo, seen here, includes a design of the letter "M" inspired by the idea of a traditional dwelling. Trevor Stuurman “The Manor” is a multifaceted platform consisting of an online site, art events, and a quarterly publication featuring diverse African creatives. In the 2023 welcome issue, Stuurman photographed the cast of the hit South African TV show “Shaka iLembe.” “The Manor” is a multifaceted platform consisting of an online site, art events, and a quarterly publication featuring diverse African creatives. In the 2023 welcome issue, Stuurman photographed the cast of the hit South African TV show “Shaka iLembe.” Trevor Stuurman Actres Nomzamo Mbatha, from “Shaka iLembe,” is photographed by Stuurman in the volume one issue of “The Manor.” Actres Nomzamo Mbatha, from “Shaka iLembe,” is photographed by Stuurman in the volume one issue of “The Manor.” Trevor Stuurman The February issue of “The Manor” Style Diary also featured the “Meji Meji Takes Johannesburg” partnership with the Nigerian fashion brand Meji Meji. The pop-up collaboration was an "extravagant showcase of Black culture" and nostalgic fashion. The February issue of “The Manor” Style Diary also featured the “Meji Meji Takes Johannesburg” partnership with the Nigerian fashion brand Meji Meji. The pop-up collaboration was an "extravagant showcase of Black culture" and nostalgic fashion. Trevor Stuurman In December, “The Manor” celebrated the launch of the “SPACES at NIROX Sculpture Park” Style Issue to encourage a new artistic experience of design, art, and music featuring emerging and established African artists, including Thandiswa Mazwai, pictured here. In December, “The Manor” celebrated the launch of the “SPACES at NIROX Sculpture Park” Style Issue to encourage a new artistic experience of design, art, and music featuring emerging and established African artists, including Thandiswa Mazwai, pictured here. Trevor Stuurman Stuurman's photographs include striking black and white images, and vibrant uses of color, such as this picture. “My style is, I'd say Afrocentric, I'd say contemporary, I'd say cool,” Stuurman notes. Stuurman's photographs include striking black and white images, and vibrant uses of color, such as this picture. “My style is, I'd say Afrocentric, I'd say contemporary, I'd say cool,” Stuurman notes. Trevor Stuurman He has also captured some of the most recognizable global faces, including former US president Barack Obama, pictured here in Kenya in 2018. He has also captured some of the most recognizable global faces, including former US president Barack Obama, pictured here in Kenya in 2018. Trevor Stuurman Stuurman photographed superstar Beyoncé, and later collaborated on her 2020 visual album "Black is King." Stuurman aims to light the way for other creatives. “We are in the middle of a renaissance ... and it's so important to stay rooted in that energy because it has the ability to inspire people from all over the world,” he says. Stuurman photographed superstar Beyoncé, and later collaborated on her 2020 visual album "Black is King." Stuurman aims to light the way for other creatives. “We are in the middle of a renaissance ... and it's so important to stay rooted in that energy because it has the ability to inspire people from all over the world,” he says. Trevor Stuurman The artistic eye of South African photographer and fashion icon Trevor Stuurman Prev Next CNN  — 

South African photographer, visual artist and fashion icon Trevor Stuurman has become one of the country’s most sought-after creatives by unapologetically challenging the global perception of African cultures through his powerful visual storytelling.

“My style is, I’d say Afrocentric, I’d say contemporary, I’d say cool,” he said.

This narrative shift was fully on display with his work on Beyoncé’s Grammy-nominated visual album “Black is King,” in 2020, which Stuurman knew would reach a massive audience.

“You have to be so intentional with every color you choose and how you frame things and what things could possibly mean to other people outside of their understanding,” Stuurman, 31, told CNN in a recent video interview.

His modern takes on diverse styling, photography and visuals have garnered him acclaim in South Africa and beyond. In 2012, at the age of 19, he won Elle Magazine’s Style Reporter award, and was voted among GQ’s Best Dressed in 2015.

Six years later, Stuurman was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s Next Generation Leaders, and was the photographer behind the “Coming to America 2” Black Is Magic beauty collection, which he says highlighted the decadence of Black beauty in its authentic form.

In 2021, Stuurman photographed the “Coming to America 2” x Uoma Beauty “Black is Magic” collection to showcase African creativity and contemporary cultures. In 2021, Stuurman photographed the “Coming to America 2” x Uoma Beauty “Black is Magic” collection to showcase African creativity and contemporary cultures. Trevor Stuurman

“We are in the middle of a renaissance … and it’s so important to stay rooted in that energy because it has the ability to inspire people from all over the world,” he said.

Now, he hopes to light the way for other creatives to dismantle African stereotypes with his latest endeavor, called “The Manor” – a multifaceted platform consisting of an online site, art events, and a quarterly publication featuring diverse voices.

In the welcome issue, which debuted last year, Stuurman documented the production of the successful South African TV show “Shaka iLembe.” The latest photography edition, titled “Reflecting B(l)ack,” showcased a special Pan-African publication curated by Stuurman.

“Africa is the cradle of mankind, but also the cradle of creativity,” he said. “[My work is] basically my way of honoring our stories and protecting them.”

Stuurman's modern take on diverse styling, photography and visual art has made him a style icon. Stuurman's modern take on diverse styling, photography and visual art has made him a style icon. Trevor Stuurman Reaching the “truest potential”

Through his visual storytelling and partnerships with everyone from international fashion icons such as Naomi Campbell, Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner, to former US president Barack Obama, the United Nations, and the Gates Foundation, Stuurman is unveiling new narratives with a wider appeal.

“I think it’s not for Africans to bring anything to a global audience, I think for us it’s to create and exist to our truest potential,” he said. “The world will always meet us where we’re at.”

Stuurman was commissioned to create a series of visuals inspired by the Disney film "Black Panther," ahead of the movie's premiere in London in 2018. Stuurman was commissioned to create a series of visuals inspired by the Disney film "Black Panther," ahead of the movie's premiere in London in 2018. Trevor Stuurman

Drawing inspiration from his hometown of Kimberley, in central South Africa, Stuurman’s 2022 exhibit, titled “A Place Called Home,” paid homage to his own journey with diverse portraits, themed spaces, and installations.

Last year, he expanded on the creative vision for “The Manor” with “Home Away from Home,” building an experience for the audience and a community for creatives in multiple disciplines.

Also included in “The Manor” is a section called the Style Diary, a visual blog of stylistic creations and images of fashion and art events from Johannesburg and Cape Town to London – another way Stuurman is working to uplift a range of artistic voices from across the continent and beyond.

“Everyone has the artistic ability, but not everyone has the professional tool set to execute and build a long-lasting career,” Stuurman said. “[The Manor] is about extending the table and creating a table as opposed to asking for a seat at the table.”

Watch the full episode of African Voices Changemakers featuring Trevor Stuurman.





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