Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016

Happy new year! I hope you had some time to rest and rejuvenate as the year turned. A good chunk of my holiday was spent in Moshi, Tanzania. I stayed at my late grandparents’ home – resting, reading and spending time with family. I came back to Nairobi with renewed enthusiasm and clarity! There are several big (and slightly scary) adventures – design and otherwise – on the horizon this year, for me and for the Studio. I look forward to sharing them with you.

The first one starts next week, when 3 creative friends and I set off for a 15,000km+ road trip through southern Africa (see below).

As we prepare to set off, I wanted to share some highlights from 2016. Many of you have been a part of these projects and endeavours and I thank you deeply for your different contributions. Continue reading “Lulu Kitololo Studio design and illustration highlights from 2016”

EVENT: Home Affairs – a Cross-Cultural Installation

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NOW Gallery will be celebrating London’s diverse creative landscape in a new cross-cultural installation, Home Affairs.

The exhibition is a collaboration between furniture designer Yinka Ilori, fashion designer Christine Mhando of London-based CHiCHiA and creative consultant Arieta Mujay. It features four theatrical, visually compelling conceptual spaces, brought to life with curated film, archival footage and performance. Framed by the language of traditional Nigerian & Swahili parables, the spaces will be filled with thought-provoking furniture, indigenous plants, designed objects, garments and wallpapers inspired by bespoke Khanga textiles. There will also be artwork by The installation will also be artwork by Jason Barka and Berjo Mouanga; a mural by myself, Lulu Kitololo; hand-carved wooden stools and bowls by artist Gary March and; on opening night, spoken word performances by the Bazaar Bohemian, of Project Tribe.

Art director/brand consultant Ola Shobowale (aka @imustcreatenow) is also on-board, helping to bring it all together.

Dates: 20th August – 4th September 2015 
Venue: NOW Gallery, The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0SQ  

 

Join us this Thursday evening for the NOW Later opening night

You can expect:

Continue reading “EVENT: Home Affairs – a Cross-Cultural Installation”

African style / 1

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I have a Pinterest board called 'African Style' and finding pictures for it brings me much joy. We are truly a creative and beautiful people! I've decided to do a regular round-up of some of my favourites. Here's number 1.

 

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Jewellery by Katra Awad: Artist of Love

I recently came across jewellery designer, global nomad and artist of love, Katra Awad.

Born in California, raised in Europe and the Caribbean and of Egyptian and Hispanic roots, I love her perspective on creativity, in the grander scheme of wellness and love:

 

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During one of my travels someone once said to me, “It is our responsibility in life to pursue our talents to the fullest extent & make every second count.” 

 

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Buy African: Stitch Sainte Luce Embroidered Fashion and Home Furnishings

I managed to escape my stand at the Women of the World festival marketplace last weekend, to have a look at all the other beautiful crafts on offer. I was particularly mesmerised by one incredibly vibrant table – the photo above represents merely a quarter of the space!

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Stitch Sainte Luce produces hand-embroidered belts, bracelets, cushion covers, tablet and e-reader cases, bags, purses, cards and more.

 

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Interview with Screenprinter, Lusungu Chikamata of Creativity and Noise

Today’s interview features screenprinter, Lusungu Chikamata, founder of Creativity and Noise. It’s a great story of persistence and resourcefulness – I think sometimes we think everything has to be perfect before we can begin when actually, just getting started gets you to perfection faster! Find out how Lusungu learned a brand new skill and launched a creative enterprise, all alongside his day job.

Continue reading “Interview with Screenprinter, Lusungu Chikamata of Creativity and Noise”

Buy African: Last-minute Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s less than a week to go until Christmas so, ordering your gifts online is now pretty much a gamble. If the thought of braving the madness shops this weekend makes you want to crawl into a dark hole, fear not – I’ve got some ideas that will hopefully keep you in the festive spirit.

The gifts here are all things that you can buy, right up until Christmas Day. They are organised by interest so, hopefully you’ll be able to find something appropriate for all the people on your list – whatever they fancy!

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A Summer of Pictures

Summer is a distant dream for many of us living in the northern hemisphere (climate change aside, that is – only 3 days ago I was out and about in short sleeves!). Indeed, it’s now 2 months since I returned to London from my trip to a hot and humid U.S. and, I’ve been meaning to share the highlights since. What better timing than when I need a reminder of how good it feels to have the sun kiss my appropriately darkened skin.

My 5-week trip was a glorious respite from what has been a very challenging year, in so many ways (more on that another time).

(Corset by Evie Nix)

Governors Island Hammock NYC View

It was a time for perspective: I find being away from your ‘normal’ environment great for seeing things clearer.

(Hammock grove at Governor’s Island)

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Diana Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion

You may have already come across Diana Opoti’s 100 Days of African Fashion digital campaign. Well, the challenge is soon coming to an end – today is Diana’s 94th day. Find out more about her campaign and see what she’s worn, here and on her Instagram feed, @dianaopoti.

Congratulations on a great campaign Diana!

Above, some of my favourites. Designers (clockwise from top left): Sindiso Khumalo, Bestow Elan and  Chichia London.

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Raiding My Mama’s Kanga and Kitenge Collection

My mother is from Tanzania where it is customary for women to give each other kangas (also known as lessos) as gifts, especially at events such as weddings, send-offs, births etc.

Over the years, my mother has amassed quite a number! Last year while visiting her, I took the opportunity to raid some of her collection, taking photos for inspiration’s sake.

Kangas come in one piece consisting of two matching panels. You may have seen women along the Swahili coast using one panel as a sarong and the other to cover their head and/or shoulders. I often benefit from this when my mother splits her kangas with me. Here’s one I recently received:

 

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Kangas traditionally feature a saying. The one above is fantastic: “We are in love, give us a chance”.

 

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Mama’s collection also includes some kitenge (wax print) pieces …

 

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Mixed in with mum’s kangas, are textiles from other parts of the world such as this Indonesian beauty. Given the history of African wax print, it’s no wonder that this piece fits in pretty well.

 

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I’m really excited about The Kanga Book. Find out more about it here.

Images: Lulu Kitololo

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