Ghanaian Artist El Anatsui, First African Appointed at London’s Royal Academy
This month we’re teaming up with INVISIBLE BORDERS, an amazing cadre of photographers from Nigeria and other countries across the continent, as a part of The Accra Project. The group is stopping through town to show some of their work, share with us a short film about the project and participate in a chill conversation about art and photography.
Join us TONIGHT Friday, 19th July from 6-9pm for the Talk Party Series. We’re meeting up at the WEB DuBois Centre in Cantonments [behind the U.S. Embassy], Multipurpose Space.
Kobby Graham will be our moderator. DJ K3V is on the 1s and 2s. Live poetry, Cocktails provided by Absolut Vodka and Comfort food by Roots Restaurant. A smashing good time, indeed.
by AIGERIM SAPAROVA | photos by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE
[Double-click on images to enlarge]
If you’re ever lucky enough to meet Ghana’s very own FOKN BOIS aka Foes of Kwame Nkrumah, you’d immediately know one thing: they are both a bit bizarre. Not the deranged, repulsive kind of bizarre. More like a magnetic and high-energy hypnotic that comes from the MCs’ fearless humor.
by AIGERIM SAPAROVA
Let it be known that Obaro Ejumiwe better known as Ghostpoet carries a power to hypnotize. This discovery was made whilst listening to the sounds of his debut album Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam, released back in February 2011.
Ghostpoet’s music weaves a mellow yet magnetic mumble-speak with the penetrating backdrop of beats, rhythms, and sounds to create his unique noise. His music speaks of the bare-bone reality of getting through life – falling in love, paying the rent, battling the fear of loneliness, and the melancholic tick of time.
Although born & raised a London boy, the down-to-earth artist traces his roots back to Nigeria and Dominica. He first made his mark on the UK music scene with the release of his first EP, The Sound of Strangers (2010).
GhostPoet 101: Here are three tracks that you’ll want to keep on loop.
ACCRA [dot] ALT was on the scene for Ghana Fashion + Design Week last weekend in Accra. We took photos of some of the illest designs in the house. Have a look for yourself!
Kachi Designs: Vintage pop art fashion meets bold sensual silhouettes [by Nigerian designer Chigozie "Chichi" Anaele]
ACCRA‘s got serious style. Folks here love to look good but they keep it low and undercover. But it’s about to get hi-def.
This was more than apparent at the first-ever Ghana Fashion + Design Week held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel over the weekend. The affair brought some of the coolest young designers to strut their stuff on the catwalk including our favorites – Duaba Serwa (Ghana), Sarah Duah (Ghana/Germany), Orange Culture (Nigeria), Coccolily (Ghana/Canada) and Christie Brown (UK/Ghana). These style stars have some bright destinies ahead. Can’t wait to see what they cook up next.
In the meantime and in-between time, peruse through this garden of images. We thought these cool kids had fashion worth stopping to take a picture for. We also decided to do something fun while waiting two hours for the show to finally start. Gotta love our people.
Tune in tomorrow to see photos from the catwalk.
AN ACCRA [dot] ALT FEATURE INTERVIEWIf you’ve ever seen Nneka perform, you’d remember. Like tell-your-grand kiddies-one-day type remember. Her presence just sticks with you.
You get the impression that she’s just being herself. Onstage and off. Dressed down, hair pulled back, comfortable in her own skin. When Nneka performs, she gets free. She strips herself bare to the bone for strangers in crowded rooms to see across the world.
This is what keeps us glued. This self-reflection society music and her unique ability to cull out the good, the bad and the DAMN-you-ugly! parts of our selves. Nneka’s sound bends soul, folk, AfroBeat, hip hop and reggae together into spaceships of human possibility. Her voice is an amplifying swirl of thunder and lightning – a blue shadow draped across the front door, the delicate cool taste of coconut water, the rake of the comb through tightly coiled hair – that strides out making you wanna run and hide. Nneka’s music makes you uncomfortable enough to confront your secret hiding places, dig out those dungeons of doom and reckon with your lingering ghosts.Continue reading
Nigerian fashion designer Buki Akib knows how to get your attention and keep it. Her latest collections – FELA and Wives – is just what it sounds like. Enter the wonderful, magical world of Akib’s head as she cuts and tweaks life in The Shrine + Kalakuta Republic into luxurious fabrics and a hypnotic chorus of color. Akib is a master storyteller, spinning webs of waterfall patterns, heavy bold lines, and cool geometric motifs with interwoven yarn into handbags and men’s clothing.
Akib’s eye-catching designs caused a “reading” to go down between folks on our FB page last week testing the elasticity between artistic license and historical accuracy. The question was posed, Would Fela actually wear Akib’s collection? The argument pointed out that the sheer bulk of Akib’s work would not be ideal in a tropical climate and as Fela got older he eschewed western dress in favor of little to no clothing.
But who knows? Let the dialogue rip. Peep Buki Akib’s inspired designs below and how she describes her conceptual process for the Fela 2011 and Wives S/S 2012 collections:
INSPIRATION: “There is no other way to capture the essence of Lagos but through this collection – the classic fixtures of colonial houses engaging with the hustle of Lagos city life, to the vibrant juxtaposed markets scattered on top of each other. Growing up in the city was an introduction to fashion itself.”
27 QUEENS: “My fascination on Fela’s wives grew into an admiration of their lustrous world inside the shrine. I interpret their beauty and sexuality as a form of empowerment.”
The revival of interest in FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI has immortalized the musician as a global pop culture icon. In fact, Fela’s personal life was just as fascinating as his AfroBeat music.
Fela just didn’t give a damn. He lived his life.
In 1978, Fela married 27 women in a ceremony to recognize the one-year anniversary of the attack on his Kalakuta Republic compound by the Nigerian military. Many of Fela’s new wives were his Africa ’70 bandmates – dancers, singers and composers – who lived and traveled with him. After the wedding, the group honeymooned in Ghana. (SIDE NOTE: 1978 is the same year Fela was banned from Ghana for being “liable to cause a breach of the peace.” The order was issued to Fela because youth fans confronted police at an Accra concert when “Zombie” began to play.)
Fela called his wives “Queens” explaining that these “women have special powers to see the future – to see front and back. Important people always have them around…they advise me what to do” (Music is a Weapon, 1982). After serving a 27-month jail term on a trumped-up charge for currency smuggling in 1986, Fela divorced his remaining 12 wives musing that “marriage brings jealousy and selfishness…no man has the right to own a woman’s vagina.”
Meanwhile Fela’s ex-wives have been quiet as kept about life in Kalakuta Republic. What speaks volumes, however, is the undeniable style, spirit swag and fierce personality these women had each in a distinct way.
AfroPop nostalgia in full effect. Check out these fresh photos of Fela’s Queens:
The homie OB Abenser‘s FashionistaGH was on the scene for ARISE Magazine‘s first annual Fashion Week in Lagos this March. Take a look at super fresh Ghanaian designer, Nelly Hagan-Aboagye‘s line Duaba Serwa / @duabaserwa. The Legon alum who studied Nursing + Graphic Design started her collections only two years ago. Duaba Serwa is simple yet versatile – flipping from whimsical and romantic to structured with bold contrasts to glittery Grace Jones’ glam.
In other news, StyleLikeU‘s closet confessional interviews with hip hop artist, Theophilus London – Afro-funkster design twins, Dynasty + Soul – plus dancer/healer Lyfe Silva are ever so subtly addictive. Each intimately reveals how style blasts ideas about racial identity, gender, sexuality, self-worth and determination. Take a gander through this visual garden.
THEOPHILUS LONDON (Trinidad + Tobago/Brooklyn, NY):
“At three or four years old, my Auntie Cleo bought me a pink tuxedo. It was a weird number, but I’d wear it every Sunday. We went to a big Catholic Church… people would look at me like I was crazy.”
DYNASTY + SOUL (Nigeria/West Indies/Brooklyn, NY):
“Since I was like 11, I would get the ‘are you a boy or a girl? Before I would feel embarrassed about that, but now I accept it. I’m like ‘I’m letting your mind run, you can’t figure it out’ I’ve grown to love that aspect.” (Dynasty)
LYFE SILVA (Native American/Portuguese/African American):
“I wear a lot of African-esque things. A lot of people, will go ‘There goes mama Africa.’ I think it’s a terrible cliché when people choose to categorize. I thought we were just okay with being who we are.”