TNG: Your artwork beautifully blends traditional elements with futuristic technology, creating a unique Afrofuturistic theme that emanates joy and peace. Could you tell us more about what inspires you to combine these contrasting elements in your compositions?

FL: My art fuses Afrofuturism by blending traditional African culture with futuristic elements. I draw inspiration from African traditions and the sleek future. This blend of past and future defines my work.

At the core, I aim to reflect African cultural motifs alongside science fiction, creating a unique mix. My pieces feature African symbols, patterns, clothing, and characters, representing history and innovation.

Science fiction fuels my creativity, allowing me to explore rationality, scientific possibilities, and the miraculous. When combined with African inspiration, it opens up new perspectives. I visualize futures that embrace heritage while evolving in visionary directions.

My goal is to craft settings rooted in African culture yet advanced and surreal. The beauty lies in merging vibrant African communities with high-tech backdrops. I aim to transport viewers to these Afrofuturist worlds while maintaining a realistic human connection to the culture depicted.

Ultimately, my Afrofuturist art celebrates African knowledge and technology, past and future. By blending science fiction with African essence, I offer imaginative new futures that honor tradition, inviting audiences to explore these rich cultural possibilities.


TNG: How do you believe your work challenges existing portrayals of Africa and contributes to a more diverse representation of the continent in the art world?

FL: Growing up in the diverse and vibrant city of Dire Dawa in Africa has deeply influenced my art. My Afrofuturist work aims to celebrate Africa's rich history, culture, and imagination, which often go unnoticed in mainstream media.

I blend traditional African elements like clothing and symbols with futuristic elements to envision a future that embraces our roots. By mixing sci-fi with African aesthetics, I highlight the creative potential of Pan-Africanism.

My goal is to share the beauty, complexity, and technological prowess of African cultures past, present, and future. I want to inspire a deeper appreciation for our history and the limitless possibilities it holds.

My art celebrates Africa's magnificence and encourages people to embrace its untapped potential. Through my Afrofuturist visions, I aim to make African creativity more visible to everyone and rewrite the narrative. Join me in celebrating Africa's brilliance!


TNG: You are a self-taught artist in the digital realm. How did you embark on this journey of digital art, and what were some of the challenges and breakthroughs you experienced along the way?

FL: My journey into digital art kicked off around my third year in art school, and it was a bit of a surprise for me. I hadn't really dabbled in it until then. But about 8 or 9 years ago, right around the time when "Black Panther" graced the big screen, something clicked. That movie was a game-changer. It highlighted the underrepresentation of Africans in cinema, despite our incredibly rich culture and countless untold stories. It struck a chord with me and ignited a creative spark.

I realized that even when our stories were told, there was room for improvement in terms of the quality of the art and production. So, I made it my mission to be part of that change. Along this journey, I discovered my unique art style and honed my creative concept.

Over the past few years, I've witnessed my artwork become a defining standard in Ethiopia's creative industry. It's been an incredible source of inspiration, propelling me to push the boundaries even further. I'm excited to keep pushing the envelope and telling our stories through art in new and captivating ways.


TNG: Your vision to re-awaken and inspire other African artists to tell their stories in their own way is commendable. How do you hope your art and journey as a self-taught digital artist will encourage and empower other creatives in Africa?

FL: I aim to be a catalyst for fellow African artists and storytellers through my Afrofuturist art. My hope is that when they see the worlds I create, it ignites their own imaginative tales. This is why the quality and authenticity of my designs are paramount to me.

I constantly push myself to maintain a dynamic creative standard, ensuring my artwork remains fresh, original, and thought-provoking. Grounded in my own experiences and perspective, my pieces have a genuine foundation. I aspire to transcend the boundaries of our physical world, envisioning surreal yet soulful futures.

My work is a call to action for African creativity, spanning mediums and genres. I firmly believe our well of untold stories is bottomless. By painting vividly imaginative worlds, I hope to embolden African minds to breathe life into their own inspirations. My art is both a personal outlet and a launchpad for others' self-expression.

I want my fellow Africans to encounter my work and be compelled to think bigger and bolder, to envision possibilities beyond limitations, and to share their visions born from their lived experiences. That's the true power of Afrofuturism—to unlock portals to our collective imagination.


TNG: Living and working in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, how does your environment and cultural background influence your artistic expression? How do you incorporate elements of your surroundings into your digital artwork?

FL: Ethiopia, rich in history and tradition, serves as an abundant source of inspiration. The country's diverse nationalities offer endless wellsprings of creativity. Significant historical events like the Adwa Battle have left an indelible mark on my work. Additionally, the old Ethiopian church, a cornerstone of tradition, and the myriad African tribes with their captivating cultures are constant sources of inspiration.

My art is also deeply rooted in my upbringing and the stories I've absorbed. Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, where I grew up, is a bustling city where hundreds of nationalities coexist in vibrant chaos. Growing up there has profoundly shaped my identity as a visual artist. The colors I infuse into my pieces and the vibrancy they exude draw inspiration from the kaleidoscope of experiences in Dire Dawa.


TNG: Afrofuturism is a theme that runs strongly through your art. Can you share some specific examples of how you depict this theme and the stories you aim to convey through your work?

FL:As I mentioned before, my pieces blend both the futuristic fantasy and the traditional world. It is usually hard to perfectly blend these both worlds that seem to contrast each other but usually it turns out to be something mesmerising and unique. I am creating a world of my own with my own characters and elements. My artworks always revolve around characters and their relations with their world. The characters are defined by what they are wearing, their pose and the accessories. Most of them are African, with elements and outfits from all over the continent.


TNG: Your artwork exudes a sense of joy and peace. How do you infuse these emotions into your compositions, and what do you hope viewers will experience when they engage with your art?

FL: I've coined the term "souvenirs from the future" to encapsulate the essence of my Afrofuturist art. It's about yearning for experiences and memories that haven't yet happened. I blend surreal and abstract elements to evoke deep emotions.

My art transports viewers into imaginative worlds that are both fantastical and oddly familiar, like recalling a dream or a distant life. Through these vivid "souvenirs," I aim to immerse people in the surreal futures I envision. They offer glimpses into parallel dimensions, hinting at untold histories that stir nostalgia for untapped possibilities.

My Afrofuturist art is a surreal journey that unlocks hidden emotions and ignites imaginative thoughts. Each piece serves as a portal to impossible memories from beyond time, weaving together past and future, reality and illusion, and evoking boundless feelings. As people gaze at these imaginary souvenirs, I hope their creativity and emotions are stirred by the universal language of the surreal.


TNG: Technology is rapidly advancing, and it often plays a significant role in your art. How do you see the relationship between art and technology evolving in the future, and how do you plan to continue incorporating technology into your work?

FL:  Tech plays a pivotal role in my Afrofuturist art, both as an inspiration and a creative tool. I aim to showcase how African traditions endure beautifully in our rapidly changing, technology-driven world.

In my work, I combine real contemporary technology with futuristic elements, highlighting how tech is reshaping African societies while emphasizing the enduring strength of our communities. I continuously explore new digital tools to enhance my art and expand the possibilities of the visions I create.

Moreover, I aspire to not only integrate technology into my art but also create immersive Afrofuturist experiences through AR, VR, and 3D. Ultimately hoping to spark discussions about the graceful fusion of modern tech and tradition in Africa.


TNG: How do you see your art evolving as you continue to tell stories through your distinct Afrofuturistic lens?

FL; I'm always exploring new styles and techniques to elevate my art. I want to bring more attention to the culture and traditions I highlight. I see my pieces evolving into larger narratives in the future.

Experimenting with different mediums, software, and artistic approaches fuels my progress. I'm eager to master new methods that can make my visions more vivid and impactful. Pushing my boundaries is what keeps me excited.

Creating art on a grander scale that captivates a wider audience is what I strive for. I want to ignite fresh perspectives and discussions through imaginative Afrofuturist storytelling. I plan to expand the worlds and characters in my pieces into multifaceted stories full of meaning. I believe I'm just scratching the surface of my creative potential. By constantly refining my techniques and broadening the scope of my projects, I aim to produce innovative Afrofuturist art that resonates far and wide. I want my work to serve as a catalyst for cultural awareness and inspiration beyond my wildest dreams. The more I experiment and dream big, the closer I get to realizing that vision.


TNG: What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 

FL: I'm on an electrifying journey, exploring new styles and techniques to turbocharge my artwork. My mission? To spotlight the vibrant culture and traditions I hold dear. I envision my art evolving into captivating narratives.

I'm diving into diverse mediums and cutting-edge tools to make my visions burst with life, all while pushing my own boundaries. I'm gearing up to command attention on a grand scale, sparking fresh perspectives and invigorating conversations with my Afrofuturist storytelling.

I believe I've only scratched the surface of my creative potential. By refining my methods and taking on ever-expanding projects, I'm poised to deliver Afrofuturist art that resonates widely. My work is a catalyst for cultural awareness and boundless inspiration. Get ready for a breathtaking journey!