“I have been drawing since I was little, it has always been a passion, which since recent years has become something more concrete. As my works are mostly inspired by my childhood in Cameroon and the world surrounding me, it has always seemed obvious to work in black and white, pretty much like VHS : I call it the “Monochromatic Visual Metaphor”. I want to share my cultural wealth through my work in a playful way . “Neals
Who are you ?
Neals Niat. Actually I sometimes meet people asking me what’s my name and always being surprised to learn thats Neals is my real name. It’s funny.
Are you a human being ? If not, what are you ?
Yes I am a human being with a body, emotions and a conscience. Both complex and simple.
Do you believe in intuition ?
I am one of those who believe the first intuition to be the right one.
Are you an optimist ?
It is quite important to be so in any circumstances, because “life is not a cookie”.
How would you define the future ?
My vision of the future has been pretty much influenced by my reading of science fiction stories such as Orwell’s 1984, or the Brave New World by Huxley. In these stories, they are already talking about the future, technological progress, social control, the power of machines over humans etc. These readings inspired me a lot graphically in my high school years. Today when I read some extracts of these books I realize that their authors had a definition of the future quite close to everyday reality.
Are magic and technology opposed ? If yes, how / why ?
They both worl along, without technology, magic would no longer operate.
“Dschang Shoes 1”, Neals Niat, 2015
“Dschang Shoes 2”, Neals Niat, 2015
What difference between dreams, desires, projections ?
I see these three “elements” as a logical sequence : We dream of something we desire and put all means possible to project ourselves to reach this thing.
What does the word « fantasy » mean ?
Do you feel like a stranger ? If yes, to what ?
No. I do not feel like a stranger, I’m well grounded in reality. This doesn’t prevent me from taking time to daydream and create though.
“On the road 1”, Neals Niat, 2015
“On the road 2”, Neals Niat, 2015
What does « blackness » mean ?
Maybe the feeling of belonging to a black “consciousness” ?
And « afro-ness » ?
“La Petite 1”, Neals Niat, 2015
“La Petite 2”, Neals Niat, 2015
What is Africa ?
The new Eldorado.
Does it have anything to learn to the world ? If yes, what ?
The essence of life.
What is its future ?
Africa is full of creativity. She can find in her the resources to meet her needs of emancipation. I’m confident about its resilience.
“Chefferie 1”, Neals Niat, 2015
“Chefferie 2”, Neals Niat, 2015
Whats is afrofuturism ?
I would say a movement that allowed black people to empower themselves through their multiple creativity, to assert themselves in society, while transcending reality. A movement that allows black people to plan for an “elsewhere”, a different future that suits them.
Are you an afrofuturist ?
I don’t know, what would you say ?
What is the latest thing you have learned ?
I discovered the concepts of Blackness and Afro-ness while savoring my peanut-sauce rice.
Where were you on friday the 20th of april 2063 ?
I was in Bangangté (my village, located in the west of Cameroon) playing the ludo with my grandchildren and sipping my soursop juice.
“Retour du champ 1”, Neals Niat, 2015
“Retour du champ 2”, Neals Niat, 2015
A soundtrack ?
Lonnie Liston Smith – Astral Traveling.
Describe us how the world ends.
The disappearance of our languages, cultures and customs.
What if you had to do it again ?
“Taxi Love 1”, Neals Niat, 2015
“Taxi Love 2”, Neals Niat, 2015
One last comment ?
Thank you very much for this interview, it allowed me to become familiar with terms like afroness, blackness and afrofuturism which I didn’t really know. I feel like I have learned something. Thanks!.
Discover more about Neals :
Diplomée de Philosophie puis Gestion de Projets Culturels, Mawena fait ses premières armes dans les milieux de l’art contemporain tout en menant de front divers projets : soirées, édition, collectifs artistiques… Fondatrice et directrice de Black(s) to the Future, son objectif est simple : mettre en lumière la part « afro » du monde et performer le futur. | www.mawenayehouessi.fr // @ma.wena
All the team