EVENT: Home Affairs – a Cross-Cultural Installation

NOW Gallery Home Affairs Exhibition London Africa

 

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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: 

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Inspired: Anthropologie Habari Dinnerware

Anthropologie Habari Dinnerware Set

 

These 'Habari' dinnerware sets from Anthropologie are clearly inspired by African textiles. I notice some iconic wax print motifs, as well as kanga-inspired text treatment. The vibrant collection includes coasters, plates of various sizes, mugs, coasters and napkins.

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A Summer of Pictures

African Corset Brooklyn Bridge Park NYC

 

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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Raiding My Mama’s Kanga and Kitenge Collection

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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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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: Eva Sonaike Furniture, Home Decor & Fashion Accessories

African Furniture Decor Eva Sonaike

 

As much as I like prints in vibrant colours – I find Eva Sonaike’s latest collection of prints very refreshing. An almost pastel colour palette but far from dainty; these designs pack enough punch and there’s no mistaking the African inspiration behind them!

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Interview with Sustainable Fashion Entrepreneur, Annegret Affolderbach of Choolips

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Last week I had the pleasure of finally meeting Annegret Affolderbach, the founder of London-based womenswear label, Choolips, in person. 

Having featured Choolips designs on the blog before, it was great to meet the amazing woman behind the brand. Annegret's passion for what she's doing – championing high quality craftsmanship; reviving ancient textile traditions; empowering the local artisans and entrepreneurs behind them; operating with small water and carbon footprints – is infectious. She is a rebel, in the best sense of the word, on a mission to make the world a better place. With exquisite style and beautiful stories. Yes, we can have all this!

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Interview with Dayo Forster, Co-Founder of Homeware Brand, Toghal (+ Give-away Every Friday in February!)

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I'm delighted to share this interview with Dayo Forster, Co-Founder of Toghal, a new textile-based homeware brand. Inspired by an appreciation of the legacy of Africa's textile heritage in the world and a love of technology, Toghal is about reimagining traditional textiles to create something iconic and fresh.

The Asilia team and I have had the great pleasure of working with Dayo to bring the brand to life. It's been a fantastic project and the kind of challenge that we thrive on: how to create a brand that is contemporary and global, while at the same time, rooted in or inspired by a particular culture. I am also pleased to welcome Dayo as a sponsor of Afri-love!

Dayo's story indeed exemplifies the beauty of collaboration and also, the crucial importance of preparation – research, learning, planning, and partnership. It's a great example of how, by setting off to solve a problem you've experienced in your own life, you can create an enterprise that serves others.

Enjoy and make sure to check out the 'Free Bag Friday' give-away details, below the interview. 

 

Toghal African Traditional Textiles Reimagined Flyer Design by Asilia

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Inspired: Fashion and Textile Design by Sindiso Khumalo

Sindiso Khumalo Prints Patterns Fashion Textiles

Womenswear textile designer, Sindiso Khumalo is interested in how the fashion textiles industry can create new possibilities and collaborations in the global fashion environment. The brand's vision is “to create a contemporary, modern, textile aesthetic that showcases both the craftsmanship and pushes new ground into future technologies within the textile environment.”

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Camille Walala’s Ndebele-Inspired Prints

Camille Walala Tribalala Wall Print

Camille-Walala-Tribalala-Cushions

UK designer Camille Walala creates tribal pop prints in ludicrous colours. Her prints find homes on textiles, ceramics, furniture and more. I'm digging her Tribalala series of prints and cushions, inspired by Ndebele wall paintings.

Images via Darkroom, where you can purchase Camille's prints and cushions.

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