Exploring African-orientated aesthetics in Garth Walker’s i-jusi issues of Afrika Typografika
This study investigates the decolonial aesthetics in Garth Walker’s typographic designs in the i-jusi editions of Afrika Typografika. For this purpose, selected typographic designs from Afrika Typografika I, II and III have been analysed and interpreted. Afrika Typografika is a series from the i-jusi magazine (Nos. 11, 17 & 26), consisting of three parts in which Garth Walker explores typographic themes, handwritten types and typographic designs stemming from the telling of individual experiences typically within the broad African culture. This means that in this series Walker is searching for an answer to his question "What does being African look like?" within the framework of an African-oriented aesthetic within typography. The research forms part of a growing body of research on indigenous and postcolonial knowledge that investigates decolonial perspectives and priorities within the South African design practice. These investigations take place within the context of the second phase of decolonisation in South Africa. The first phase of decolonisation only applied to white people when the country became an independent Republic in 1961. The second phase of decolonisation relevant to this study has taken place since 1994 with the first democratic elections in South Africa when black people could also legally participate in the political activities of the country. It is this second phase that has resulted in drastic socio-political transformation. Walker’s production of i-jusi falls within the context of the second phase of decolonisation in South Africa, embracing different cultures and languages. A gap that has been identified is the lack of creative approach to conveying African-oriented perspectives, themes and design in South African typography. This persists despite several multifocal changes and developments within South African visual practices to challenge the dominance of Eurocentric aesthetics. This means that typographic designs within the South African and African context should give priority to postcolonial thought strategies and alternative research registers supporting aesthetics in which Africa is central. This research attempts to investigate Garth Walker’s African-based typographic designs against European designs. The intention is not to compete with or to replace the aesthetics of Western typography, but rather to challenge it, thereby contributing to a body of knowledge that can highlight both common similarities and differences. In doing so, the research aims at explaining Garth Walker’s typographic design practices and contributing to the discourse on decolonisation and the addressing of colonial legacies.
- Humanities