Interview with Fine Art Photographer Paul Sika

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Paul Sika is a fine art photographer based in Côte d'Ivoire, whose psychedelic creations have gained attention from around the world. Paul's work has received glowing press from the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Forbes Afrique, ARISE Magazine and many more. Furthermore, his self-published book, At the Heart of Me, is an Amazon Bestseller.

Today, Paul shares his journey and inspiration and discusses the "visual linguistics" of our continent.Paul. His story proves again what several other Afri-love interviews have: following a traditional training path (e.g. pursuing a particular course of study in an educational institution) is not always necessary in order to successfully follow your dream. It may be more powerful to interrogate your excuses and perceived barriers and, destroy the illusions you hold.

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Interview with Musician Fatoumata Diawara

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It's a great honour to present this interview with musician, actress and activist, Fatoumata Diawara. Born in Côte d'Ivoire to Malian parents, Fatoumata moved to France to pursue acting – she appeared in the films La Genèse and Sia, le Rêve du Python and played a leading role in the musical Kirikou et Karaba. She later began composing her own music, blending Southern Mali traditions and international influences. 

Under Fatoumata's belt is her debut album, Fatou, and her EP, Kanou. She has performed around the world and recorded with acclaimed artists including Oumou Sangaré and Dee Dee Bridgewater and recently participated in the "30 Songs / 30 Days" campaign to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women

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Interview with Percussionist Adriano Adewale

 

** Adriano is performing at the first of the Afri-love Sundown Sessions, tonight – Friday 16th October, 2015 – in London. There are still some £10 tickets available**

 

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Today I'm very pleased to share this interview with the dynamic percussionist, Adriano Adewale. Before I went to one of his shows, I didn't really appreciate how exciting, intriguing, magical and satisfying a percussion concert could be.  If you've seen Adriano perform, you'll know exactly what I mean. Adriano pushes the boundaries of what we consider musical instruments to be (bucket of water anyone?) and tells musical stories with charm and an endearing playfulness.

The London-based Brazilian-born musician discusses his journey and reflects on the necessity of putting in the work to make things happen.

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Interview with Daphne Kasambala, CEO of Online Ethical Fashion Store, Sapellé

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Today I'm pleased to bring you an interview with Daphne Kasambala, CEO of UK-based, online ethical fashion and accessories store, Sapellé.

Sapellé is setting a new standard in curating and presenting elegant, high quality contemporary African fashion. Working with suppliers in the UK, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda, Malawi, Congo, Mozambique, Mali and Swaziland, Sapellé only features work by artisans, design labels and social enterprises that work to ethical production principles

After an extensive and successful career in banking, Daphne decided to return to her original passion – fashion.

Her story demonstrates that you can return to your oldest dreams and use your new skills to facilitate their pursuit! In the end, nothing is lost and instead, a world of valuable experience is gained.

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Interview with Writer and Editor, Nana Ocran (In Anticipation of Afrofuture at Milan Design Week)

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Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor who specialises in contemporary African culture. Under her belt is the Time Out Group's series of guides to Lagos and Abuja (Nana was Editor-in-Chief) along with consulting gigs for established publications on West African culture for the Danish Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts. Furthermore, Nana was nominated for CNN's African Journalist of the Year in 2011. 

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Interview with Make-up Artist and Entrepreneur, Muthoni Njoba

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If you're in need of a mid-week (or even mid-career or mid-life) pick-me-up, today's interview with professional make-up artist, Muthoni Njoba, may do just the trick. It is possibly one of the most inspiring interviews I've posted on Afri-love yet.  

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Interview with Social Entrepreneur Laura Marano of Green-Safari

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I'm happy to introduce you all to Laura Marano, the driving force behind Green-Safari, a social enterprise that offers volunteer-tourism packages in Tsavo East, Kenya. With Green-Safari, not only do you get to experience the beautiful fauna and flora of one of Kenya's largest national parks, along with a stint at the Coast for some sea and sand – you also engage with local communities and support local social enterprises which contribute to the local community infrastructure (e.g. schools, sanitation, farming practices). Furthermore, Green-Safari is working on making the beauty of our wilderness accessible to all, no matter your abilities or diverse needs.

In this interview, Laura shares how she's gotten her social business off the ground. It's an inspiring story of how you can turn a negative situation into a fulfilling career by pursuing your passions, taking initiative and believing in yourself. 

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The Best of 2012: Art, Design, Interviews, Commentary & Music

It will be 2013 in under a week and that means it's time for one of those lists summing up the highlights of the year! The following is a selection of posts that you found most interesting (as per the analytics); posts that I most enjoyed creating; exciting discoveries and; some off-blog but on-topic articles.


Baytail Ajaib Lamu Interior Design

Art and Design

Interview with Artist Toyin Odutola

Interviews

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Interview with artist Toyin Odutola

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You may recall a recent post showcasing the work of Toyin Odutola. Today I'm pleased to bring you an interview with the artist.  

Born in Ife, Nigeria and now based (and largely raised) in the US, Toyin holds a BA and an MFA in Painting and Drawing. She has featured in a couple of solo exhibitions and several group exhibitions across the US. She has been mentioned or had work featured in several publications including ARISE Magazine, ARTFORUM International, BOOOOOOOM!, Pop Africana: The Africana Global Book of Style, The New York Times, Think Africa Press, Vogue Italia and many more. Her work is held in public collections including the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, The National Museum of African Art, in Washington DC. Toyin has also recently published her first book, Alphabet, which she discusses below.

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3 Years of Afri-love: Top Posts from the Last Year

I am embarassed to say that Afri-love's 3rd anniversary just slipped by me! On June 11th, I was on a train back from London after modelling in the Shape Custom Creations Afrika Milele show (one of the most exciting fashion shows I've experienced – the epitomé of good vibes!). In my exhaustion, I forgot what a great moment it was.

As they say, better late than never. It's quite timely actually because, after 2 months or so of travelling, returning, catching up and getting back to 'normal' routine, I'm finally back in the groove of things. You may have noticed that post frequency is starting to pick up again! It's fitting that we get things going with, first, some thanks – a HUGE THANK YOU for reading and interacting with me, here on the blog, by subscribing and via Twitter and Facebook too – it all makes this labour of love so much more satisfying and; second, a little reflection with a look at the top 5 posts from the past year. In reverse order:

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5. Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori

A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!

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4. African inspiration on Pinterest from artist Robyn Gordon

Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.

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3. Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty

The passionate Amina, aka sheroxlox, is one of the lovliest people I've had the honour to meet in recent years. Find out what drives her. 

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2. Interview with fashion designer Adele Dejak

I've been working with the East Africa-based designer for a little over a year now and I feel so lucky to be collaborating with somebody who creates beautiful things and has such a good spirit too. Today marks the launch of her new website and online shop, created by yours truly and the rest of the Asilia team.

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1. Dream Homes: Swahili-inspired architecture and interior design in Lamu, Kenya

One day I will finally visit Lamu in person (and hopefully before the new port is built as, I worry that it will change the nature of the town). Until then, I will lust over all the beautiful homes I've discovered, thanks to my best friend, the internet. More Lamu finds on the blog.

What posts did you enjoy most over the past 12 months?

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For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time: 

  1. Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
  2. Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
  3. 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya