There are emoji that represent everything: zombies, wizards, brides, balloons up to the avocado that are so fashionable.
Emoji aims to cover the complexity of human experience in a unique and synthetic graphic form.
Among the myriad of emoji immediately available to anyone with a smartphone, there were very few that identify African culture.
O’Plérou Grebet, a 21-year-old graphic design student from Ivory Coast, has noticed this. According to him, there was something to be done to remedy this lack of representation of his people and his culture.
After a period of research, in 2017 O’Plérou Grebet started his project by making portraits and exploring the identity of Africa through a series of experimental digital works. But this was not enough to promote everything behind this culture. Thinking of the simplest and most direct ways to celebrate Africa, as he was browsing through WhatsApp’s chats, he came up with the idea of creating his own real emoji.
Following this intuition, O’Plérou Grebet decided to produce one every day until he created an impressive amount of more than 200 emoji.
These represent objects, symbols, food, clothing and much more that identifies African culture.
Although created as a way for Africans to “communicate more accurately using instant messaging,” the emoji are also designed for non-Africans so they can discover a new culture with a modern and innovative approach.
Text by Anna Cardaci