Amani Village Traders in EPCOT's World Showcase gets a new look with vibrant murals

Jul 20, 2023 in "Amani Village Traders"

Amani Village Traders overview
Posted: Thursday July 20, 2023 9:53am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Amani Village Traders in EPCOT's World Showcase has a new look featuring a colorful and vibrant art display.

The new murals were painted by international street artist Bhupi Jethwa, known as WiseTwo from Nairobi, Kenya.

WiseTwo says, "My artwork takes a critical view of social and cultural issues. Often referencing ancient civilisations and the invisible connection between people and cultures, through intricate colour palettes and symmetrical shapes and forms that create a universe of masks. Having engaged subjects as diverse as ancient languages, scripts, shamanic mask rituals and dying tribes, my work reproduces familiar visual and aural signs, arranging them into new conceptually layered murals and paintings. While I use a mix of acrylic, ink and spray paint in my artistic processes my methodology is consistent. During research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work."

The area serves as an open-air marketplace featuring African-themed musical instruments, wood carvings, and soapstone sculptures.

You can see more of WiseTwo's work here.

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wdwmagicJul 26, 2023

I heard the artist had a rather good time working at EPCOT - very different from some of his other work locations.

IncomudroJul 24, 2023

Yes. It's different as a representative - and a very small representation at that - of an African location in a theme park vs what I might theoretically encounter in an actual African location.

yensidtlaw1969Jul 21, 2023

And yet you still said it breaks the theme for you. As if what you imagine Africa to look like should somehow supercede the truth of the matter.

IncomudroJul 20, 2023

I understand that, and said so.

DrdcmJul 20, 2023

To be fair. The building it is on is intentionally designed to be aged and weathered. It’s built to look like a mud hut. I do like the murals though.

yensidtlaw1969Jul 20, 2023

Not everything in Africa is aged and weathered . . .

Sir_CliffJul 20, 2023

In principal, I agree it is better to have everything open. In this specific case, though, I think I actually prefer using this space as a showcase for an artist like this rather than another store.

castlecake2.0Jul 20, 2023

Looks good but would look better if the store was actually open

networkproJul 20, 2023

It wasn't just the Spaniards, internecine warfare started with the Teotihuacan civilization and continued its bloody path to the Aztecs who were running rampant across everyone until the Spaniard's arrival. Mayan, Toltec, Mixtec, Purépecha, Zapotec, Aztec... it was a very messy thousand years of empires expanding and being destroyed. Theres plenty of wonderful contemporary talent that can populate and dress Epcot's world showcase (and the rest of the park as well), it doesn't need to be stuck in any one temporal milieu like a dusty museum. Museums are all about WAS.

Sir_CliffJul 20, 2023

Yes, I agree this is a better approach than the "Harambe" look. It's also more in keeping with World Showcase more generally, which tends to present all the countries as fresh and clean. The Mexico, pavilion, for example, isn't crumbling ruins but brightly painted to approximate how such a pyramid may have looked before the arrival of the Spaniards. In that context, it makes sense to make this look more like how you would probably find street art that has been recently painted.

wdwmagicJul 20, 2023

Here is how his art looks Uganda.

IncomudroJul 20, 2023

Yes, I get that - but the stand still "takes place" in a village in Africa. Granted, such a place could have all of its doors painted brand new and overnight by a single artist. That'd be unlikely though. This breaks the theme for me.

AylaJul 20, 2023

Well, that's a shame, but makes a whole lot more sense on why the murals were painted on the doors.

wdwmagicJul 20, 2023

Yep I think you are correct