How we tried to change the face of African art online

Fri, 31/08/2018 - 08:00

African art. When we think about it, we often picture the traditional masks, beadwork and textiles that Wikipedia or Google Image Search shows us. However, this is not what African art truly is. It is an ever-evolving multitude of painting, sculpture and photography which generally aims to challenge the norm and send a message to the world. 

Absolut saw how African art was being viewed by the world at large and they wanted to change it. They wanted to change the Google search results, showing instead the stunning contemporary African art that is being produced today. Their goal was to create a platform where young African artists could showcase their work and where fans could appreciate it. And that’s where the One Source Live initiative came in. 

The idea behind One Source Live originates from the ideals behind Absolut: “One Source. One wheat, one source of water, one location and one reason why any bottle of Absolut, anywhere in the world, has the same distinctive character and taste.” This flows into the fact that they are a torchbearer for African creativity, as their brand celebrates all that is unique. And African artists are currently undergoing an artistic revolution.

How Rogerwilco helped Absolut change African art with One Source Live

*(P)resident Series by Fabrice Monteiro

The One Source Live festival

We can’t speak about Absolut and One Source Live without mentioning the festival that took place earlier this year. One Source Live was a festival that was geared towards celebrating everything about contemporary African art. It took place on 24 March 2018 in Johannesburg and was a huge success. Artists and musicians from African countries, such as Kenya, Ghana and Senegal, came to show off their creations and celebrate their unique ideas. Fans were able to see their favourite pieces on show and discover new artworks to surprise and delight them.

There were musicians such as Bongo Maffin and Sho Madjozi playing for the masses. And artists such as South African stylist and multimedia visual artist Trevor Stuurman, Beninese artist Fabrice Monteiro and renowned Kenyan photographer Osborne Macharia. It was truly a delight for the senses and was one major part of Absolut’s aim to change African art. 

The One Source Live project

The One Source Live project invited people to vote on the website for their favourite artworks. Photographs of artwork by artists such as Laolu Senbanjo, Mary Sibande and others were on display and fans could upvote each one. By upvoting these pieces and by sharing the photos of the art, viewers were able to help Google’s search algorithms find and show the modern African art pieces, rather than the outdated images that were previously being shown. 

Now we get to the fun part, how Rogerwilco helped Absolut use the One Source Live project to fuel the change they wanted to see. Our SEO team spent time analysing data, compiling reports, suggesting technical changes and creating lists of keywords for the content team to use in their copy. 

How Rogerwilco helped Absolut change African art with One Source Live

*The Reign by Mary Sibande

Our content team helped them by creating content using these keywords, helping to boost the visibility of the project online. This content helped to increase the authority of the One Source Live website. The website content was improved and keywords were added, so that the website had a higher SERP (search engine results page) presence.

When we began this project, the top results for “African art” and “Africa art” were (lengthy and outdated) Wikipedia articles about traditional African art and scholarly pieces on antiquated “tribal art”. The image search results were even less appealing, with curios, tribal masks and stereotypical African landscapes being at the top. Now, thanks to our creative initiative and hard work, when you search for “African art”, “Africa art” or “change African art”, the images that you see will be modern, exciting and relevant. 

Need Assistance with Digital Strategy?

Rogerwilco’s team of strategists, business analysts and data scientists is here to help.