Afrofuturist artist creates photos of mysterious ‘Humaliens’ – CNN

January 11, 2023 by No Comments

Written by Ollie Macnaughton, CNN

These photo portraits might look like designs for the next Star Wars film, but they are actually the vision of Ivorian artist and graphic designer Eric Adé Tanauh.

Going by the pseudonym Rickii Ly, Tanauh blends the features of human beings and aliens to create “Humaliens,” otherworldly characters that are defined by their exaggerated long necks and arms.

Tanauh, aged 28, takes his inspiration from the art movement known as Afrofuturism, an aesthetic that combines different African and diaspora cultures with elements of science fiction. Though the movement has been around since the late 20th century, it has recently experienced a revival, partly as a result of the hit 2018 film “Black Panther.”

With a degree in graphic design, Tanauh has been working for four years as the art director at Blue Lions, an advertising agency in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city. Outside work though, he explores his artistic ambitions. “That’s what keeps me creative,” he said.

Tanauh’s work is created through photographs of models that he manipulates and edits using Photoshop. As he never studied photography formally, most of his education about the discipline came through simple YouTube tutorials.

“Djeneba – Portrait,” by Eric Adé Tanauh. Credit: Eric Ade Tanauh

Of his pseudonym, Tanauh says Rickii comes from a nickname he had in school, whilst Ly is a Senegalese name that he likes. “I think Rickii Ly is different from Eric. He is my creative alter ego. With this, I get into the skin of this character, I am much more inspired.”

Tanauh says that when he started making art that was reminiscent of Afrofuturist themes he didn’t know that the style had a name. It was only after stumbling across other Afrofuturist artists on the internet that he discovered the wider art movement.

“I saw some artists who were doing the same kind of thing on their Instagram, and they had added the hashtag afrofuturism,” he explained. “I clicked and discovered a community of artists. I was amazed and got a boost of inspiration. I was now sure that it was what I wanted to do.”

“A much more evolved extension of our species”

The term Humaliens came from an Instagram poet that Tanauh greatly admires. Writer Rune Lazuli coined the term Humaliens (Half Human, Half Cosmos) to define the physical and spiritual duality of human beings. Tanauh has adapted Lazuli’s definition to fit his stylistic sensibilities; he describes his Humaliens as a more evolved version of humans, which live in a nearby …….



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