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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Recent Art Adventures: Appreciation, Inspiration and Making

One of the things I'm really enjoying at the moment is all the art that I'm discovering, experiencing and making. Here are some photos from recent adventures …

1-Mandela-Street-Art-Manchester-Akse-P19

 

While in Manchester recently, it wasn’t all about plant photography. I chanced upon graffiti artist Akse (P19 Crew) working on a Mandela portrait.

 

2-Return-of-the-Rudeboys-Exhibition-by-Dean-Chalkley-Harris-Elliot

 

A few days later, I finally checked out the Return of the Rudeboy exhibition at Somerset House. Created and curated by photographer and filmmaker, Dean Chalkley, and fashion-industry creative director, Harris Elliott, the exhibition “showcases a sartorial subculture through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces” (exhibition site). Beautiful photography and amazing style – inspiration to up my own game!

 

3-Return-of-the-Rudeboys-Exhibition-by-Dean-Chalkley-Harris-Elliot

 

The exhibition features a few rudegirls too. Here: Zoe Bedeaux.

 

4-Return-of-the-Rudeboys-Exhibition-We-Are-Cuts-Installation
 

I was digging the colours, textures and patterns in this corner of the We Are Cuts barbershop/salon installation.

 

5-Asilia-Team-En-Route-Pangaea

 

A few days after that, the Asilia UK team went to check out Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, at the Saatchi Gallery. You’d think from this picture that I forced them to go!

 

5b Boris Nzebo Art Pangaea Exhibition
 

I loved the colour, lines and layering in the work of Cameroonian artist, Boris Nzebo.

 

6-Asilia-Team-Pangaea-Exhibition-Saatchi-Gallery-Aboudia-Art

 

Kathryn and Lusungu mesmerised by a painting by Ivorian artist, Aboudia.

 

7-Vincent-Michea-Art-Detail-Pangaea-Exhibition

 

This is a detail from a piece by Dakar-based artist, Vincent Michea. This and the piece below celebrate African music. Vibrant, simple but striking.

 

8-Vincent-Michea-Art-Pangaea-Exhibition

 

Over in my maker's corner …

A couple of years ago I shared my desire to spend more time creating. Even though I own a creative business, over the past few years, I’ve found that I haven’t been doing as much making as I’d like. You may have caught my post from a couple of months ago – "Beyond Making" – explaining all the other things that are involved in running a creative business. 

I’m happy to declare that, things are changing! Particularly since June. I’ve been getting my hands ‘dirty’ much more and not only has it brought me much creative satisfaction but, opportunities too! I’ve been receiving such a great response to my illustrated portraits, for example. Here are a few snippets of things I’ve worked on recently.

 

9-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Asilia-Design-Work-in-Progress-Painting-Patternmaking

 

I’ve been designing the upcoming album cover for musician, Namvula. I created a pattern, inspired by some kitenge (wax print) fabric on a dress she owns. The first step was painting the elements that would make up the pattern.

 

10-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Asilia-Design-Work-in-Progress-Pattern-Making
 

I then played around with them on the computer and the pattern began to take shape. It was a really hectic week for me – moving offices and preparing to travel, while trying to keep on top of the usual demands. For the first time ever, I took to working on the bus, between meetings and errands! I prefer taking the bus to the tube anyway, especially when it’s as hot as it has been lately. Since the bus usually takes longer, I thought I’d capitalise on that time and be productive.

 

11-Lulu-Kitololo-Art-Drawing-Work-in-Progress-Illustrate-Me-Asilia-Design
 

Above, detail of a drawing I made to be used as a background for an illustrated portrait I was working on …

 

12-Lulu-Kitololo-Illustrate-Me-Asilia-Design-Illustrated-Portraits-Lizzie
 

… for marketing whiz, Lizzie Phillips. This is the final product. Another satisfied Illustrate Me customer!

 

And that's all for now. Follow me on Instagram (@lulukitololo) for daily adventures in appreciating, finding inspiration for and making art.

 

What are you working on this week?

 

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RIP to the Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

Maya-Angelou-Art-Illustrate-Me-RIP

 

Maya Angelou lived such a full and creative life: poet, dancer, film and television producer, playwright, film director, author and actress. Not to forget the creative acts of educating and changemaking, in her work as a teacher and civil rights activist.

I remember reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings when I was younger and feeling like I'd found a role model who I could relate to. Maya Angelou's spirit of adventure, her prolific creative output and her positive mindset are all things that inspire me and that I aspire to.

 

Above – an illustrated tribute that I made today – to the phenomenal woman. Below – some more of my favourite Maya quotes:

"Nothing will work unless you do." 

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." 

"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be." 

 

(Check out more powerful Maya Angelou quotes on policymic.com)
Illustration by Lulu Kitololo

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