O’Plerou Grebet: Illustrating Culture

Since the advent of the World Wide Web in 1990, globalization has changed the way we think about cultural identity and representation -- or so many of us would like to think. Despite increased connectivity around the world and exposure to cultures on every continent, many lesser-developed countries still receive short shrift on the world stage. Last year, 22-year-old student O’Plerou Grebet noticed that the emojis on his Apple iPhone reflected a bent towards Western civilization, portraying few images he saw in his day-to-day life as a citizen of the Ivory Coast in Africa. Determined to provide his friends and family with emojis that represented their culture specifically, he honed his Photoshop skills by watching YouTube tutorials and set to work. He never expected his homemade emojis to take off the way they did. 

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