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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Inspired: Robert Pruitt’s Women at Studio Museum Harlem

Robert-Pruitt-Art-Free

While in New York earlier this month, I made sure to pay a visit to Studio Museum Harlem, an institution dedicated to showing the work of artists of African descent and work inspired and influenced by black culture. So, if Afri-love were a brick-and-mortar space …

Dreams aside (for now), the feature exhibition was Robert Pruitt: Women – a series of larger-than-life conté drawings of black women. As the official description goes: 

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Africa- and Diaspora-related events this December

The final few weeks of the year are jam-packed with reasons to be merry. Here are just a few Africa- and Diaspora-related events in London (UK), Nairobi (Kenya), New York (US), Paris (France and St. John's (Antigua). If you know of any January events that you'd like to share, please contact me by the 23rd of December. Enjoy the last days of 2011!

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ALL MONTH

Dreams-of-a-Life-film

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In our own hands: an interview with Kesha Bruce for the 6×6 Summer Blog Tour

My exploration of Afri-love has tended to centre around creativity and the creative professions. Mainly because it’s what I do and what I love but, also because of a strong belief that creativity is a powerful way of inspiring and creating positive change. I’ve also been going on and on (and you may be sick of it by now) about how everything starts with the self. Any change we can hope to encourage on a large scale is likely to be futile if we haven’t also considered how to implement it for ourselves.

Enter artists and Baang+Burne directors, Kesha Bruce and Charlie Grosso, and their 6×6 project: their answer to the question “what if there were no more art galleries?” For 6 weeks starting in September this year, artists in New York City will take matters into their own hands and put on exhibitions to showcase their work. What an inspiring concept! What amazing potential such an idea could have in an African context, where the necessary infrastructure for a viable career as an artist is even more scarce …

I thought I’d get more wisdom from the source – the wonderful Kesha Bruce.

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Home around the world: Madiba, Brooklyn, USA

Madiba-Brooklyn-New-York 
A debut post in a new series, "home around the world." Having lived outside the continent for almost 11 years now, there is nothing more uplifting than finding a spot where I can experience a little bit of home. This series is dedicated to showcasing some of those places and sharing the details, in case you ever need a dose. I'd love to hear about any gems you've found. To share your story, get in touch.

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A funky lounge-cum-restaurant-cum-bar grows in Brooklyn. A cornerstone in my 10+ year love-affair with Fort Greene.

Inside, a large painting of Madiba himself; a chandelier made from glass coca cola bottles and; the kind of metal trunk (painted blue) that you may have carried to boarding school, form part of the eclectic decor. Jam jars for glasses and a kiosk-type wall with foodstuffs from home on sale. This is Madiba, a South African Experience, south of the Manhattan bridge.

Madiba-coke-chandelier

About 10 years ago (I wince smile as I realise how old wise I'm getting), before New York's notorious Cabaret License was introduced, many a great night of dancing was had at the corner of Carlton and Dekalb. After the kitchen closed, dining tables would be moved aside, creating an intimate dancefloor. I think that's probably the best word to describe the atmosphere at Madiba. Visiting last summer, for the first time in years, I was delighted to run into familiar faces including DJ Stone* who's still doing his thing on their decks. There might not be the same dancefloor destruction to the freshest house and kwaito as in days gone by but, that warm afri-love vibe is definitely still in the air.


[*link to an interesting short video where Stone is interviewed by Africa is a Country blogger, Sean Jacobs]
Images from the Madiba website