Ayok’a A Curated Platform For Stylish, Fun And Original Black Art

Black ltd ed Ayoka Interview Atelier Fifty Five

Our choice of art says a lot about who we are, reflecting our tastes and experiences amongst other indicators.  And despite digital platforms enabling us to discover original talent the sheer amount of information being put out can sometimes have the opposite effect of making it difficult to find, purchase or remember where we saw artwork that represents who we are in one place. Enter Ayok’a, a curated platform that brings together the work of talented black artists making it easy for you to find stylish, original and representative artwork to adorn your walls or carry about your person in the form of lifestyle accessories. To find out more about this exciting platform I caught up with founder Alice Gbelia. [Main image credit: Black by Adekunle Adeleke]

 

  1. Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about your platform, Ayok’a and the meaning behind the name?

I am Alice Gbelia, an Ivorian who grew up in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Lille (France). I’ve also lived in Paris, London and currently reside in Zurich. My friends know me as a “cultural activist”: any projects I’ve been involved in were about promoting art and culture from the African diaspora. While living in London, I used to have a blog dedicated to Afro-Caribbean events in the city. I also once organized a pop-up shop featuring black designers. Our community is full of talent, I’ve made it a mission to help shine a light on this talent.

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Mozambican Artist Nelsa Guambe Merging Art and Sustainable Design

 

Nelsa Guambe - Piratas Do Pau wine rack from recycled water heater sustainable product design in Mozambique

Nelsa Guambe is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Maputo, Mozambique. Primarily a painter Nelsa’s work moves beyond the canvas to incorporate product design, where working in collaboration with a local design studio, Piratas Do Pau her colourful and surreal images help to transform discarded water heaters collected from the city’s streets into distinctive functional products such as wine racks and lighting. As one of the designer-makers I had the pleasure of selecting for the IFA Pure Gold exhibition, which explores rubbish and its use in sustainable design to creating objects of value in design, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know more about Nelsa and her inventive designs.

 

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Le BHV Marais Paris Celebrates South African Art and Design

South Africa x Le BVH Marais

 

Paris is having a love affair with all things contemporary Africa design, fashion, culture, and lifestyle. First is was Africa as the guest of honour at the Paris Art Fair held in March/April, then Africa Now at the Galeries Lafayette shopping destination, and now the iconic department store Le BHV Marais in the heart of the historic and trendy Marais district, which dedicates almost two months to celebrating contemporary South African art and design and culture.

 

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Ibe Ananaba Contemporary African Art And Fashion Illustration

selense-by-ibeananaba-1_orig.jpg
A rising name in contemporary African art and fashion illustration, Nigerian artist Ibe Ananaba opened his solo exhibition a few days ago at the Rele Gallery in Lagos, Nigeria. Entitled Sélénsé the exhibition is a body of contemporary works that tell the story of people’s way of expression through fashion. Ananaba took inspiration from the streets, taking the viewer on a visual exploration of everyday fashion. Looking at how fashion is worn, interpreted and flaunted. Fitting given that  the term Sélénsé is a local slang term meaning to ‘flaunt’ or to ‘show off’. Sélénsé captures the growing interest in African fashion.
[Main image credit: ‘I Beta Pass My Neighbour’ (1) – Ibe Ananaba]
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Andile Dyalvane South African Designer And Ceramicist New York Exhibition

Bird Vessel, 2015; Andile Dyalvane - Friedman Benda
Andile Dyalvane sees the unveiling of his first solo exhibition at Friedman Benda Gallery in New York this week. Opening on Thursday, 23rd June, the exhibition runs for two months, and will showcase over 20 unique pieces by the South African ceramicist. Andile is a leading figure whose work is helping to shape contemporary South African design.
[Main image credit: Bird Vessel, 2015; Andile Dyalvane – Friedman Benda]
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African Art: Malian Artist Abdoulaye Konate’s Textile Installations

Abdoulaye Konaté – Detail Couple H, 2014. Mixed media – wood, metal, fabric. 250 x 170 cm (98⅜ x 66⅞ in) Image Courtesy of the Artist and Blain|Southern Photographer: Christian Gläser, 2015 via widewalls
Abdoulaye Konaté is an award winning Malian artist who produces evocative textile installations that have captivated African art collectors. Inspired by colour, which he sees as a potent conveyor of meaning, Abdoulaye’s vividly hued textiles are created using sewing and appliqué techniques to create pieces that range from strips of fabric in graduating shades through to thought-provoking imagery.
 [Main image credit: Abdoulaye Konaté – Detail Couple H, 2014.
Mixed media – wood, metal, fabric. 250 x 170 cm (98⅜ x 66⅞ in)
Courtesy of the Artist and Blain|Southern Photographer: Christian Gläser, 2015 via widewalls]
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Imaginarium Awards Nurturing South Africa’s Emerging Creative Talent

The Imaginarium Awards, an ambitious modern art and design awards was launched by PPC Ltd with the aim of promoting and supporting South Africa’s emerging creative talent. The competition invited entries across six categories: film, industrial design, fashion, jewellery, architecture and sculpture. Winners of the inaugural event were announced in January 2015.
[Main image credit: PPC Imaginarium Awards]
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