Archives for the month of: March, 2015

Good morning, Afrika! Enjoy!

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As has been well documented, I love Maki Oh. I cannot think of a single designer on the continent, or indeed globally whose work better embodies my love of shape, textiles and understated style.

Often in African fashion we see the use of beautiful ankara and kitenge fabrics, which although have long been identified as being African, in fact hail from Europe (Vlisco Dutch Wax being a well known example) and are produced more often than not these days, in countries such as China & India.

From the label’s conception, Maki Oh has made a point of using fabrics indigenous to Africa, such as adire, aso-oke, akwa ocha, oja, etc. The Nigeria based label’s new ready-to-wear collection is no exception, using beautiful quality fabrics, traditionally & skilfully handprinted to further explore cultural appropriation – in this case, the concept of mermaids. Their incorporation into some Nigerian & Diaspora belief systems (an example being the widely venerated Mami Wata) is explored through colour, texture, silhouettes and the collection’s film above.

Reading further into the symbolism of the collection, Nigerian Visual Curator, Yagazie Emezi writes,

This total adoption of foreign ideas inspires the silhouettes, prints and embellishments in the AW15/16 collection, which is packed with hidden meanings in the same vein as traditional Nigerian attire. A traditional adire print ‘Omi’, (water) covers a dress with a fish-like fin, mirrored-fishes swim across dense cotton trousers, an iridescent fin flows down the sleeve of a silk blouse, a floral Guipure lace skirt which symbolizes her beauty, is backed with a mirrored glitter cotton canvas and a silk crepe dress is flanked by ekpaku ubok (an Ibibio arm band used during a traditional fertility dance).

It is therefore clear to see that Maki Oh should be celebrated as more than just the label that dressed Michelle Obama, as that it has the substance to bring Nigerian fashion and textiles to the forefront, with the potential to broaden the horizons for African fashion as a whole.

Source: Yagazie Emezi.

To see my 2012 post, An Ode to Maki Oh, click here.

Warri native & soul/reggae star, Nneka speaks briefly on what Bob Marley and his music means to her. See also the two videos below from her 5th studio project, ‘My Fairy Tales’, of which she says ‘I don’t need awards. I know my album is good’. Enjoy! Sources: Nneka & Young Voices.

I am interested in the concept of skin and race, and what they imply; in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet. In my film, I focus on African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews; using mixed media to describe this almost schizophrenic self-visualization that I and many others have grown up with.

– Kenyan Filmmaker, Ng’endo Mukii on her powerful multi-award winning film, ‘Yellow Fever’.

Check it out above!

New music by King Tha aka Thandiswa Mazwai is finally here! The two new tracks have been released to celebrate South Africa’s Human Right’s Day. Listen here!

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Nominees for 2015’s Man Booker International Prize have just been announced, with four of the ten writers hailing from Africa. The prestigious award, which recognises an author’s continued creativity, development and overall contribution to literature, rather than a single work, comes with a wapping £60,000 prize. Today the Chair of Judges, Professor Marina Warner, of the University of Cape Town said,

The judges have had an exhilarating experience reading for this prize; we have ranged across the world and entered the vision of writers who offer an extraordinary variety of experiences. Fiction can enlarge the world for us all and stretch our understanding and our sympathy. The novel today is in fine form: as a field of inquiry, a tribunal of history, a map of the heart, a probe of the psyche, a stimulus to thought, a well of pleasure and a laboratory of language. Truly, we feel closer to the tree of knowledge.

Chinua Achebe is amongst those who have won in previous years (2007), and this year’s winner will be announced in London on the 19th of May. Writers in the running are;

  • Mia Couto (Mozambique)
  • Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
  • Alain Mabanckou (Congo-Brazzaville)
  • Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)

I implore you – watch & listen to one of Afrobeat’s pioneering fathers, on La Blogothèque’s A Take Away Show series! The Lagos born percussionist, songwriter & composer, Tony Allen, takes you through a blissfully talented 7 minutes of rhythmic wonder! Click play, sit back & listen…

Source: La Blogothèque.

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From March until September, one of the world’s leading centres of design, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein will be exhibiting the work of over 120 artists and designers from across the continent.

Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, illustrates how design accompanies and fuels economic and political changes on the continent. Africa is presented as a hub of experimentation generating new approaches and solutions of worldwide relevance – and as a driving force for a new discussion of the potential of design in the twenty-first century.

From photography by Mozambique’s Mário Macilau to eyewear sculptures by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru and furniture by Mali’s Cheick Diallo, Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design looks like an exhibition for art and design lovers of all kinds to make a b line for!

For more information, visit the Vitra Design Museum website.

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Source: Nina Manandhar.

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Skirt & blouse by Nigerian fashion house, Rukky Simone.

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Self designed jumpsuit made from ankara fabric, bought at Balogun Market, Lagos, Nigeria.

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Bag by Nigerian designer, Zashadu. Dress fabric bought at Balogun Market, Lagos, Nigeria.

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Head wrap of ankara fabric bought in Lagos.

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Wrapper & top by Nigerian designer, Itunu.

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Shorts by Nigerian label, Jewel by Lisa.

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Dress by Stella Jean & head wrap of ankara bought at Nsukka Market.

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Bag by Nigerian designer, Obsidian and trousers are self designed & made in Lagos.

Throughout the month of March, Vogue UK is featuring Nigerian feminist, novelist and short story writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fantastic sense of style on their website’s ‘Today I’m Wearing’ column. Pleasingly, her wardrobe hosts a plethora of Nigerian fashion, as shown above, to compliment the global brands she also wears! The focus on Adichie is set to continue for the rest of March, so to keep with this fashionist’s sense of style, click here!

Source: Vogue UK.

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