Buy African: Statement Necklaces

Buy-African-Statement-Necklaces

 

Accessories are this girl's best friend. Drawing them, making them (way back in the day), working with people who design them and of course, wearing them! I love a good pair of dramatic earrings but, when it comes to really making a statement, nothing beats a fabulously bold necklace. These are a few on my wishlist (from top): Pichulik; Nyumbani Design; Mikuti; Pichulik; Dannijo; Christie Brown.

 

Images via the various online shops linked to above. 

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Design, Music and Good Vibes at Africa Oyé 2014

1-Creativity-and-Noise-Africa-Oye

I spent a wonderful weekend in Liverpool, at the UK’s largest African musical festival, Africa Oyé. This year wasn’t just about soaking up the good music and good vibes (although there was still plenty of that) as I was helping out at the Creativity and Noise + Merkato stall. 

 

2-Creativity-and-Noise-Yebo-T-shirt-on-Tour

It was great to get out of the big city – I love train journeys, exploring new places and taking a breather from the hecticness of London.

 

3-Setting-Up-Festival-Stall

I have enormous respect for entrepreneurs who regularly set up at markets and events. It's demanding work!

 

4-Laura-Merkato-MKTO-Setting-Up-Shop

This is Laura Marano, the lady behind Merkato (fairly traded homeware and fashion accessories). You may remember her from a popular Afri-love interview where she talked about her other venture, Green-Safari.

 

5-Merkato-MKTO-Creativity-and-Noise-Stall-Laura-Marano-Lusungu-Chikamata

Laura and Lusungu Chikamata of Creativity and Noise. All set up and ready to trade!

 

6-African-Design-Tote-Bags-Creativity-and-Noise

It was exciting to launch the new Creativity and Noise t-shirts and tote bags, designed by yours truly and hand screenprinted by Lusungu. 

 

7-African-Design-Baskets-Merkato-MKTO-Taita

Beautiful wares from Merkato. Most made in the Taita-Taveta district of Kenya, where my Dad is from.

 

8-African-Design-T-shirt-Creativity-and-Noise-Drum-Lusungu-Chikamata

Lusungu representing in his new 'Beat It' t-shirt. Look for it on the Creativity and Noise shop.

 

9-African-Design-Knit-iPhone-Cases-Merkato

Knit iPhone cases from Merkato.

 

10-African-Design-Guords-Taita-Baskets-Merkato

It was a visual treat checking out what the other vendors had to offer, such as these guords. Right: a Taita basket from Merkato (and the lady who made it!).

 

11-Kenya-Tanzania-Beaded-Bracelets

I met some fellow Kenyans, Muigai and Anto, who were selling these beaded bangles that had me feeling all patriotic. Kenya and Tanzania represented – perfect!

 

13-Moroccan-Shoes-Leather

A wonderful array of colours at Dry Rain, a stall selling Moroccan wares including these leather slippers.

 

14-Coasters-and-Bangles-by-Craft-Africa

Our neighbouring stall had a massive collection of baskets and other woven goods including these coasters, bangles …

 

15-African-Design-Woven-Rugs-Mats-Craft-Africa

… and mats/rugs.

 

16-Zebra-Print-Van-Safari-Food

A funky zebra-print van belonging to a food stall selling all kinds of African game meat, including my beloved crocodile!

 

17-African-Design-Recylced-Flip-Flops-Upcycled-Fridge-Magnets-Merkato

Butterfly fridge magnets made from recycled/upcycled flip-flops. From Merkato.

 

18-Dancing-Chikamatas-Africa-Oye

Of course, there was time for dancing.

 

19-Africa-Oye-With-the-Zambians

Me with the Zambians, all representing with our Creativity and Noise tees.

 

20-Blue-Skies-Africa-Oye-Liverpool

It almost always rains at some point during the Africa Oyé weekend. This year, it didn't! Blue skies and sunshine throughout. What a bonus?!

 

21-African-Design-Rocking-Merkato-Creativity-and-Noise-Africa-Oye

All geared up and ready for day 2 of the festival.

 

22-Africa-Oye-African-Music-Jally-Kebba-Susso-Joe-Driscoll

We got to watch Joe Driscoll and Jally Kebba Susso  jamming/warming up early on the Sunday morning. The kora on reggae and hip hop tracks sounds amazing!

 

23-Sunset-Africa-Oye-Rose-Tinted-Glasses

As usual, the whole experience was a welcome and wonderful assault on the senses.

One of the things I love about Africa Oyé is that there’s no heavy-handed policing. The police and security presence at this festival is surprisingly minimal – you barely notice them. No gates to walk through where every inch of you is checked, no wall of policemen to intimidate. It just goes to show that if you treat people like human beings, they will act like human beings! 

At some point on the Sunday, I found myself feeling a little bit teary. I know this is going to sound corny but, I was overwhelmed by just how beautiful the moment was. All kinds of people – ages, races, abilities; all kinds of random acts of kindness going on; people talking to strangers … real, tangible joy!

See you there next year!

 

Photos by Lulu Kitololo (and a couple courtesy of Lusungu Chikamata), most of them processed with VSCOcam. View even more photos from the weekend, on Facebook.

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Inspired: Prints by Jamilla Okubo

Jamilla-Okubo-Art-Prints

 

I love the colour, pattern and personality in these prints from Jamilla Okubo’s series, ‘We The People of the Diaspora – Black Culture Exploration’. African-American/Kenyan native Jamilla is an Integrated Fashion Design student and a self-declared painter, textile artist, designer and graphic artist. 

Regarding her prints, her site reads: 

"The prints, fun as they may be, acknowledge a deeper struggle which is rooted in black culture. She acknowledges the history, but similar to an upbeat song about heartbreak decides to shine a different light on the situation by claiming the story back for herself.”

 

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp3_905

Jamilla Okubo Art Print finalp2_905

 

I’m really impressed by Jamilla’s entrepreneurialism. Her prints are on sale online and she’s already received some great press mentions and interviews for her work. In my own experience, the hustling I did before graduation (including spending most of my holidays interning) definitely made a difference when I entered the so-called real world.

Find out more about Jamilla and her diverse work.

 

Images via Jamilla Okubo's website 

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Buy African: Educational Rooti Dolls

African-Rooti-Educational-Language-Dolls

Rooti Dolls create multicultural dolls that can teach children many words and phrases in various African ethnic languages, including Twi, Ga, Ewe, Krobo, Shona, Ndebele, Bemba, Nyanja, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans, Ijaw, Edo, Idoma, Tiv.

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Buy African: Geometrical Accessories from Soko

Soko-Geometric-African-Jewellery

Online store, Soko, sells handcrafted jewellery made by artisans in emerging economies, using natural and upcycled materials. They "fashion a better world" through craft, technology and trade. I'm loving the technological angle – leveraging the fact that online sales overtook retail sales years ago and leveraging how empowering mobile money has been in Africa. An apparent win-win for everybody.

I'm also enjoying the bold geometric nature of the accessories above from Soko's 'Kenyan collection'.  

Watch the animation below for the Soko model. I'm looking forward to checking them out at PURE London today.

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13 of your Favourite Afri-love Posts in 2013

13-Most-Popular-Afri-love-Posts-of-2013

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading these posts and engaging with me. I'm so happy that this blog has given me a platform to meet so many incredible people; to be continuously inspired and; to share the sometimes tough, but always enlightening, lessons that business and life in general throw my way. I look forward to more great discoveries and learning, new relationships and further exchange in 2014!

For this year's round-up, I've decided to do things a little bit different and feature the posts that were most popular each month. Enjoy.

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Kenya is Golden! Celebrating 50 Years of Independence this Jamhuri Day

Kenya-at-50-Jamhuri-Independence-Day-500px

 

I am proud to be Kenyan. I am inspired by the diversity of our land, my fellow countrypeople and our culture.

Much love goes out to you all today. Let us make the most of what we have been blessed with. There is abundance available for us all, and more when we seek it united.

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Inspired: Children’s Entertainment – Tinga Tinga Tales

Tinga-Tinga-Tales-Group-Image-Tiger Aspect

Tinga Tinga Tales is inspired by traditional animal stories from Africa. The aesthetic is inspired by the Tingatinga artwork of Tanzania and I really like how they've interpreted it for the animation medium. 

The show is produced by Tiger Aspect Productions in association with Homeboyz Entertainment in Kenya and the first animation studio in Nairobi trained over 50 Kenyans in design, animation, editing and sound engineering. 

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[Inspired] For the Love of Collage

Ellen-Gallagher-DeLuxe-Collage-Plasticine

I managed to check out the Ellen Gallagher AxME exhibition at London's Tate Modern gallery before it ended at the start of this month. I left making plans about how I was going to find some time, somewhere, to indulge in one of my favourite creative pastimes – collage. 

Why do I love collage so? It can be so many things at the same time: ornate and gritty, playful and provocative. For me, the process is quite cathartic – it forces me to relinquish control because, the end result is rarely close to what I expected or planned. Plus, I do like to get my hands dirty!

Here are some pieces from some artists whose work I'm enjoying …

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Interview with Animator, Editor and Director, Ng’endo Mukii

Ngendo Mukii Animator Editor Director Filmmaker

I've known animator, editor, director – and ultimately, artist – Ng'endo Mukii since our high school days, over a decade ago. I'm so proud and inspired, witnessing her achievements and the path that she is paving for other young, female, animators, filmmakers and artists, who are finding interesting ways to tell important stories. 

Ng'endo's animation portfolio spans advertising campaigns, music videos, children's animated stories and experimental work. However, it is her short film, Yellow Fever, that has really prompted the world to stand up and take notice of her unique expression. Along with screenings around the world and several nominations, Yellow Fever has won awards at the Kenya International Film Festival, Africa Magic Viewer's Choice Awards and the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. In the remaining months of 2013 alone, there are screenings lined up in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the US and France.

In this interview Ng'endo talks about how she settled on her current medium of choice; social responsibility as an artist; the importance of having a caring network to provide you with productive critique and; surrendering to (and preparing for) the path that fate has set out for you.

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