In a few short hours it will be African Digital Art’s birthday! So many years and quite a few tears have been shed over ADA along with sleepless nights, panic attacks, tantrums, and deep sighs. Overall it has been a crazy wonderful ride. I seldom share anything personal on this site but I feel driven to do it, so I will trust my gut, here it goes…
6 years may not seem like a long time. But for the internet I am basically a grandmother. (ok those people who were using the internet in the 90’s settle down, we know you were the true pioneers). I can confidently say that I have been out here for a while. Please don’t expect me to make a Facebook timeline video now but I am warning you I am gonna get a little soppy and nostalgic so cue emotional music.
Working on ADA has changed my entire life and led me into projects that I would have never envisioned. It has led me to so many people who have had such a great influence of my life. ADA is a testament of persistence, when so many things on the internet are short lived and phased out.
Don’t get me wrong there have been times that I wanted to detonate ADA (wiley coyote style) but your show of support, your emails, invitations, tweets have kept me going when I felt like there was not much more to give.
As an accidental curator I have made many mistakes along the way and I have taken shortcuts that have led to some serious #fails but I have been enriched by the artists, projects and creativity of all the artists that I feature every week.
This year.. the celebration is a little somber. I recognize that ADA is no longer in the space that it was 6 years ago. We are no longer the few who are featuring African and African inspired continent. There are others that are doing a much better job than we are and I am humbled by the level of curatorship that I have seen online. I recognize that I have not pushed myself to the level that I should, mainly because of fear. Fear that I am taking on an entire continent, fear that I may get something wrong, fear that art and creativity is so subjective who am I to tell you what is great or noteworthy. This may seem like nonsense but it is something that is quite tangible in my day to day dealings with ADA.
With that said there are few things that I have learned, that I can confidently say to you.
The power of collaboration
You are out of your mind if you think that you can do it alone. I know you may want to start something from complete scratch but I implore you rather than re-invent the wheel find those who you admire and join their bandwagon. The strength of any good enterprise is when people work together towards a common goal. You are probably not the only one who wants to start that blog reach out to those who have been doing it for a while and give your skills to those who you admire. I promise you it will change your life.. it has mine.
Perfection is your enemy.
I have been paralyzed by my need to have things perfect. Theoretically I know that It is impossible to get it all right and mistakes are inevitable but somehow I can not seem to shake the need to try to perfect things that are beyond my control. This has led me to wholly avoid projects, and relationships. I know that I will undoubtedly mess up so I avoid things all together. Yes I am a chicken! its ok you can call it that. But I am slowly recognizing that chaos, spontaneity are the things that bring me much joy and fulfillment and that I should abandon my paralyzing obsession with perfection.
Create more than you consume.
The internet is engineered for you to consume. To flip through, to “save image as”, to like.. But at some point too much inspiration and too much noise can poison you. I am not saying give up the internet (what are you crazy!!!) but dedicate most of your hours to creating rather than perusing and collecting. Be conscious of your time spent taking in and be mindful of how much energy you give to others, to the projects that you do and are involved with. Now don’t get the idea that I have it all figured out, I am still learning how to do this myself.. I have not figured out the balance myself.
There are so many more things I can drone on about. But that is all I can safely say from the heart today. Happy Birthday African Digital Art!
A big thank you to you. You have made me not give up. It is because of you, yes YOU, that I continue to grow creatively beyond what I thought I was capable of.