More and more people are shunning chemically formulated on the shelf beauty products in favour of natural, holistic handcrafted formulations, and the beauty industry has witnessed a rise in brands around the world catering to this need by tapping into their own homegrown beauty rituals and bringing them to global attention. And Africa is no exception. Natural skin care ingredients such as cocoa butter and shea that have been used by African women for centuries are being recognised for their benefits, but we are only just scratching the surface. Fruit of the African soil, ingredients such as baobab, marula, and rooibos are all being used to create luxury natural skin care brands that are proudly made in Africa. And among the names to know is 54 Thrones, a luxury handcrafted beauty brand on a mission to show the Africa we know, by celebrating the continent’s rich diversity in natural resources through skin care.
Salone del Mobile, the prestigious Italian furniture fair opens its doors today offering visitors the very best in international furniture design concepts. Salone del Mobile is also home to SaloneSatellite an event that spotlights promising young designers under 35 by giving them a platform to connect with manufacturers, buyers and talent scouts. Noted for launching the careers of designers such as Oki Sato of Nendo, this year’s SaloneSatellite theme is Africa/Latin America: Rising Design – Design Emergente and as such is presenting a group of designers representing both regions. Among those representing African design is Jomo Tariku, founder of Jomo Furniture who is unveiling a new design, The Nyala chair, which is inspired by the graceful curves of antelope horns; and alongside him Lani Adeoye founder of Studio Lani whose furniture is based on organic forms; and luxury lighting by textile design brand AMWA in collaboration with The Bespoke Boutique. Industrial designer Ifeanyi Oganwu who specializes in combining craft with engineering has previously participated in SaloneSatellite.
London is gearing up for the 2nd dedicated auction of Modern & Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s. This year’s auction sees artworks by 62 artists representing 16 countries: Algeria, Morocco, Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. The selection of art on offer includes paintings, photographs, drawings and sculpture from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling dynamic capital plays host to the African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF), a four-day cultural extravaganza that is part of a series of activities organised for the International Federation of Interior Designers and Architects (IFI) 28th Biennial Congress. The Congress prepares to welcome over 500 local and international delegates and features architect Sir David Adjaye as a keynote speaker, Kunlé Adeyemi and writer, culture critic, and educator, Carol Becker,
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]
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.
Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active part of shaping the story, and at the same time giving you a window into what is happening on the ground through the video’s electric montage of music events, fashion shows, street festivals workshops and more.
Today marks seven years of blogging! Seven years ago today I made a career shift and started a blog with vague ideas of what I wanted to do as a career, and no real idea of how I was going to get there. From the moment I created my first blog post to now when I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry -part of what I collectively refer to as the ‘golden age’ of contemporary African creativity- but to also create a career alongside it. The journey to this point has been a long one.
The 22nd September 2017 saw the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA), in Cape Town, South Africa, heralded as being the first major institution on the African continent dedicated to collecting, researching and preserving the art of contemporary Africa and its diaspora.
African-Print Fashion Now is an exhibition that recognises the significance of the ever-popular African print fabrics. The exhibition at the Fowler Museum explores the diverse and dynamic traditions of African dress; ranging from the styles created by local tailors to those destined for international catwalks.
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.