But what exactly is ‘magic realism’? It’s been called an ‘amalgamation of a rational and an irrational world view’ by author Amaryll Chanady. In essence, it combines ‘realism’ and ‘fantasy,’ creating what academic Maggie Ann Bowers called a mixture of opposing cultures and a third space. Popularly used by literary authors such as Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, magic realism uncovers the uncannies of everyday life.
With the development of new technologies, magic realism seems to attract a large community of artists. While some ‘magic realists’ use symbols and allegory, many have relied on juxtapositions between objects, distortions of space, or hyperrealism to convey the mysteriousness of everyday life. By focussing on the everyday, instead of purely fantastical or made-up elements, contemporary artists create spaces that are universally understood.
In literature, most magic realist novels describe Eurocentric colonial powers. For Sudanese magic realists, another layer of colonial power that is Arab-centric is applied. This unique layering of colonial power allows them to explore magic realism in new ways.
Elnayal applies this context for ‘magic realism,’ in the visualisation and concept of Afrabia. In Elnayal’s piece, magical realism is used with digital media to develop ideas and styles that resonate with a contemporary world.