Reflections on the Self – Five African Women Photographers

Nonkululeko

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and part of the Southbank Centres WOW festival, Reflections of the Self features five contemporary African women photographers whose work deals with women’s narratives, either through self-portraits or portraits of others: Hélène Amouzou (Togo, Belgium); Majida Khattari (Morocco, France); Zanele Muholi (South Africa); Senayt Samuel (Eritrea, UK); Lolo Veleko (South Africa).

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Quote of the week & talk of love

Quote-love

To jump on the Valentine's Day bandwagon somewhat, I chose a quote that talks of love. Then again, ultimately, everything on this blog talks of love. Particularly, self-love. It is with that focus that I share with you this week's quote:

"When we can meet ourselves where we are and treat ourselves with compassion, then we are able to meet others where they are and to engage with the world with compassion.
… We are all capable of great things when we find our own authentic and unique place in the world."

Marianne Elliot, Zen Peace-keeper and change-maker (definitely check her out)

Reflecting in my morning pages earlier, I came up with a new mantra for myself that is quite appropriate here. The context was largely work-related, being that my services are charged according to time spent. People who are not used to thinking of their time in terms of money, sometimes don't appreciate that mine is literally worth money. One related consequence is being shortchanged and another is that it's often challenging to find enough time for myself. So, by heaping and asserting all this value around my time, I can hopefully get across just how valuable it is. Long story short, this is the mantra and I think it applies to several other contexts as well: "By valuing myself, I confirm that I am valuable." 

Indeed, by valuing ourselves, we confirm, assert even, that we are valuable. As our comrades in Tunisia and Egypt have recently shown!

Quote of the week – connectedness & self-reliance

Maya-angelou
"If it is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, isn't it also true a society is only as healthy as its sickest citizen and only as wealthy as its most deprived?"

— Maya Angelou, global renaissance woman

These words bring to mind two things:

  1. Each of us is an integral part in our society, and the universe at large. We all have a role and a purpose. And we are all connected. A nice thought to remember if you ever feel slighted or unheard. The well-being of everyone and everything, depends on the well-being of someone and something else. That's definitely a good one to remember next time you're about to do something you think will have no consequence!
  2. Charity begins at home and everything starts from the self. For example, launching a big effort to get people to take better care of themselves is an unsustainable feat if you haven't first worked on doing that for yourself. I have observed and experienced this kind of thing firsthand. Reminds me also of something I read last week, about relationships being easy. That, rather than frustrate ourselves attempting to change things that are out of our control, it is wiser to focus on the thing that we canchange – ourselves. If everybody subscribes to this, all the links will be taken care of. 
So while this quote appears to talk of selflessness, I think it can be read to speak more about self-reliance. Whether on the individual scale or, in terms of nations focusing on ensuring that the needs of all its people are met before letting complacency set in.

Do you agree or disagree?

 

 

Week in review and refreshing “resolutions”

It's reached that point of the year where the beginning is blurring out of sight, along with all the resolutions to  do things differently. After an incredibly busy week, on the verge of being out of comfortable control, I find myself needing to pause and reaffirm my mantra for the year. Making time for myself. Thanks to an insightful gift from a friend, daily doses from the book, The Artist's Way Every Day, are helping to remind me of the importance of giving my creativity play time and, giving myself quiet, solitary time. This coming week, I'll be making more of a conscious effort to put myself first. 

How are your good intentions for 2011 panning out?

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On the lookout

Arise-mag-issue-11

This week I treated myself to the current issue of Arise, Africa's Global Style and Culture Magazine. I can't wait to sit down, undisturbed, and soak it all in. There's loads in there, including an article on one of my role models, artist Wangechi Mutu, and Gordon Brown talking about Nigeria's future … hmmm, should be interesting …

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Last week on the blog

Adidas-herd

Here is a quick recap, in case you missed anything:

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Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get blog updates as well as extra links, ideas, news and info via facebook (afriloveblog) and twitter (@afrilove).

Have a great week everybody, be proud and be inspired!

Lulu x

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Image above: Adidas ad

 

Quote of the week

Quotes-black

"Most people want to change their behaviors or more commonly the behaviors of others. Without first understanding themselves."

Lolly Daskal

Came across this quote last week (as a tweet actually) and, it perfectly summed up one of the beliefs behind this blog. The idea that, in order to create positive change in our communities and for our beloved continent, we need to look inwards first.

New year, new mission, same big picture

Reflection

"2010 is all about doing and discovering." I am happy to say that this mantra worked better than any resolution I could have fooled myself into making. Vague enough to reduce the possibilities of failure and inspiring enough to pull me out of bed especially on dark, cold winter mornings. I started last year with an optimism and energy that propelled me through the tougher days. I did, a lot, and I learned a hell of a lot about myself, life, business and more.

It was exhausting!

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Quote of the week – love first

Blooming-cabbage

"In today’s world, people experience two types of poverty: the poverty caused by lack of food, clothing and shelter, and the poverty caused by lack of love and compassion.

Of these two, the second type needs to be considered first because if we have love and compassion in our hearts, then we will wholeheartedly serve those who suffer from lack of food, clothing and shelter."

Mata Amritanandamayi, Hindu spiritual leader and teacher.

Reaffirming the power of love (and emotion) and that, it all starts with the self. See related posts: Anything We Love can be Saved and The Selfish African. May your week be full of love and compassion!

Our standards will only be met when we assert them

Reflection

Last week, I was all excited, preparing to go to a Kenyan party-slash-concert. It was less about the particular musician visiting and more about being with my fellow Kenyans and experiencing a little taste of home. 

First impressions: the venue was quite obscure – an Indian restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Further impressions: my little stereo could put the sound system to shame and the wine tasted of millet porridge. Crucial impression: the musician did not show up until 4am! At this point, we were leaving so, I'm yet to find out if he actually performed at all! On my way out, a man who I presume was one of the organisers, restrained me to make this plea – that I stay for, even if the artist performed for 2 minutes, it would be worth the wait.

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Week in review

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Senga-K-Designs-women wir

 Simphiwe Dana wir

Hope it's been a good week for you all. It's been another extremely busy one for me and the craziness helped me to realise a few things. Namely, the importance of making time for yourself even in the most frantic of times. This knowledge has been so useful in keeping me sane and focused on what I'm keeping busy for! Talk about synchronicity: amidst the melee, I discovered Zen Habits blogger, Leo Babauta's, latest book – Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction. There's a free version available for download here (where you can also purchase a version with additional multi-media content). It's a fantastic read and I've already began my simplification mission.  

Here's a round-up of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

 A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebook, twitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

This coming week, look out for:

  • Quote of the week
  • Moving beyond defiance through design and investigating design for good
  • What do a Tanzanian artist and Japanese architect have in common?
  • Interrogating some assumptions about African food
  • Yet another interview with another Africa-inspired talent
  • More music to give thanks for Friday

Have a fantastic week! Be proud and be inspired.

 :)

Images above: 2nd from top – Senga K Designs; bottom – Simphiwe Dana (see links for image details).

Week in review

Week-in-review

Fela-Kuti-art

Rafiya CD Amazing

Chaz-Maviyane-Davies-wir

Rachel-Stewart-jewelry-wir

I hope you've all had a fantastic week. Mine's been hectic and it's great to exhale a little, take stock and get revved up for the week ahead. It was busy on the blog too with multi-media inspiration! The week ended on a high note with a taste of the continuing influence of Fela Kuti's spirit.

Here's a round-up in case you missed anything:

 A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebook, twitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

This coming week, look out for:

  • Quote of the week
  • Moving beyond defiance through design and investigating design for good
  • An interview with an incredibly funky and Afri-fabulous London-based designer
  • Inspiration from a handful of my role models 
  • TGIF! a look at African music's new classics
  • A celebration for Zambia's Independence Day 

Have a fantastic week! Be proud and be inspired.

 :)

Images above: 2nd from top – Fela-inspired art (see Fela post for details); 3rd from top – songstress Rafiya's CD, Amazing; graphic defiance from Chaz Maviyane-Davies (see post for details); bottom – jewelry from Rachel Stewart.