September 26, 2023 – Redge
The renaissance artist who paints the world with music, movement, and inspiration.
Creativity and innovation often emerge from intersections of disciplines. As a multi-talented artist, performer, fashion virtuoso, creative visionary, and entrepreneur, and philanthropist, it’s easy to believe why Xander Pratt’s artistic brilliance, shines. What weaves these disparate titles together however, is the fact that his life is an intricate tapestry of experiences spanning continents— from Zimbabwe to South Africa, Australia, Morocco, and recently, a mesmerizing performance in the Philippines. The extraordinary narrative of an artist who defies boundaries and tirelessly crafts a new vision of Africa is one certainly worth exploring.
He was recently awarded by Gawad Pilipino as Ambassador of Peace Culture and Tourism, having been honored by Manubu tribe as the first Afro-Asian Dato.
States of the Art
Born on November 16, 1990, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Xander Pratt's upbringing was a tale of two worlds. His father, a Ghanaian diplomat, and his mother, a Zimbabwean residing in South Africa, is a fervent feminist writer — would shape the landscape where Xander would embark upon his life’s journey — one that would count no less than 13 different schools. It was a nomadic childhood that would force him to survive with an ignited curiosity about the human psyche. Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia would become the primary scholastic foundation for his future creative realm.
Xander Pratt's artistic journey commenced with the language of movement.
“Since I could walk, all I did was dance,” recalls Pratt, “I love to dance, and dance became my blueprint in understanding the structure of artistry and expression.” At the tender age of 18, he stepped into the limelight when he was discovered by renowned fashion photographer Peter Coulson at Dayglow — the world's largest paint party. Coulson was instantly captivated by Xander's mesmerizing dance skills, the vibrant characters he embodied would birth Xander's artistic odyssey — one that would seamlessly blend Afrobeat, hip-hop, krump, liquid wave, Egyptian tutting, as well as various other genres.
With dance, Xander became a living canvas, one which conveyed stories, emotions, and boundless vision.
Reaching out towards professional modeling, Pratt would be featured in the first-ever 3-D campaign for Jay Jays, which showcased his incredible versatility and unique presence. His style soon found a niche in the world of body painting, marking the industry with his inimitable approach. “I'm blessed to have phenomenal friends who always are with me during my wildest ideas, reveals Pratt, “be it the best body painters or photographers in the world.”
In 2016, Xander’s photoshoot for South Africa Men's Fashion Week,"Reconcilable Differences," would underscore his extraordinary talent for bridging cultural divides through art — a theme that would become central to his body of work.
Yet Xander Pratt's talents, extend far past the visual arts.
He is a master lyricist in electronic music rap, his collaborations "Going In" and "Punch the House" making waves in the Australian music scene. Aussies found themselves inundated with themes of love, self-discovery, and transcending boundaries. On another side of the world, Moroccans would know him as a DJ adept at crafting immersive experiences. Melding music, dance, fashion, and theater, his single "Casablanca" captures the essence of Morocco's rich cultural history . . . and nationwide acclaim.
“Which part of my being or my artistry has inhabited my body, each of us have a different time schedule,” he remarks, “the musician sleeps late, because he loves to work at night and the silence of the night makes the voice of God and creation much louder.”
In recent years, Xander Pratt's artistic prowess has expanded to painting, drawing in patrons and collectors with art exhibitions with Moroccan Olympic gold medalist Wafaa Mezouar and the CreatiVerse Exhibit. Each showcased his ability to fuse the digital and physical worlds in breathtaking ways.
“The progressive things that I'd like to push in the world right now are really quite simply freedom,” Pratt quips, “Freedom redefined, freedom that is not confined, freedom that is refined, freedom that is boundless.”
States of His Art
“Art is simply the beginning,” he states.
Xander Pratt defines himself not just as an artist but also as a visionary entrepreneur. Founding The Xander Pratt Collection, this first black-owned luxury clothing brand celebrates the majesty of culture and heritage and is a testament to his commitment to offering iconic, culturally rich fashion to the world.
Beyond entrepreneurial and his artistic endeavors, Pratt is also a passionate philanthropist. The forthcoming Who Are You: The WAY Tour foundation, in honor of the single mother who raised him, is poised to empower youth, women, and artists worldwide with his mentorship and inspiring persona.
“I've been put on a path where I meet beautiful people every day,” Xander shares, “I trusted my path and I trust where my path is going.”
Xander’s zeal has drawn considerable attention. Notably in 2020, CNN recognized him as one of the top Avant-Garde artists in Africa. His innovative art installations, including one at the Headquarters of the Islamic World Cultural Educational Scientific Organization (ICESCO) in Rabat, Morocco, have garnered international acclaim.
In the Philippines, he will be launched in a meeting genre called “Afro Asia Musician.” There will be concert at Rizal Park after the music videos are launched. His next stop includes a Kpop-Afro Beat collaboration.
Under Africa, Xander is preparing to star in his first Black-produced superhero Hollywood film. The original theatre show “The African Dream” will be performed around the Global South under UNESCO International Theatre Institute. He is produced and managed by AsiaTV studios, where he also sits as Chair of the Board.
While Xander Pratt's artistic journey is nothing short of spectacular, it is his recent performance in the Philippines that has taken the world by storm. A premier single, "Way Up," serves as a no-nonsense, self-love RnB anthem shot against the mesmerizing backdrop of Basilan, Philippines.
“The Philippines has been so dynamic. Me understanding the the nuances between Africa and Asia— I understand that both continents are actually very regal.” His favorite places include artistic Baguio and laid-back Siargao.
His piece, ”Vogue,” is an artistic masterpiece challenging conventional representation. Featuring children from the Philippine ballroom community and the Voguers from the Iconic house of Mizrahi, Philippines, Pratt’s work defies conformity and champions freedom of expression.
On the other hand, ”In the Blue" whisks us away to a 90s love story between Xander Pratt and a girl named "Blue." It weaves a romantic tapestry while exploring the freedom of youth. "Way You Move" delves into themes of love, transcending borders, and facing challenges head-on. It is a dance-infused reflection of self-love and unwavering commitment.
The album also includes tracks like "Ninja," "Oxyfire," and "Don't Hold Back," with each of the 17 songs representing the 17 regions of the Philippines. This musical journey, co-sponsored by the Earthsavers UNESCO Artist for Peace organization, is a unique fusion of Afro and Asian influences.
His tour is officially hosted by UNESCO International Theatre Institute and AsiaTV.
Yet at heart, Xander Pratt chooses to symbolize a "New Africa”— an avant-garde Africa that “shatters conventions, celebrates diversity, and boldly presents groundbreaking, progressive ideas to the world.” He is an unapologetic champion of individuality and a testament to the boundless possibilities of the human spirit.
“The new Africa is (composed of) expansive minds, minds that have no limitations. Minds that have no bounds and minds that are cultivated from a younger age.”
And this vision ties in with something Xander is truly grateful for.
“The one thing I'm grateful for is always wearing the lens of a discoverer, always willing to climb trees, small flowers, and playing balloons. Because my general character is very playful.” Empowered with the eternal curiosity of youth, Xander Pratt's life becomes a canvas where, each creative stroke tells a story of freedom, unity, and the boundless potential of the human soul.
“We are born in the world as world citizens and we are born to find the different pieces of ourselves in a world.” Words of someone whose journey of finding his pieces, seems linked to finding his peace.
Real stories. Real people.
We believe that life isn’t about a binary of ones and zeros - but about the sum of our hopes and dreams, our struggles and heartaches, our tragedies and triumphs.
The things that unite us are far stronger than the things that divide us.
And those stories are why we are alike.