Africa in the Picture

In 1960, seventeen African nations gained independence from colonial rule: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Togo. In honor of the jubilee anniversary, this is the first in a series of visual posts on the influence of Africa in art and culture throughout the diaspora.

Londoner Amechi Ihenacho found influence in diasporic village girls of the 1950’s: Haiti, Cuba and Yorubaland for his impeccably tailored Spring collection … On Saturday May 15 at 1pm, esteemed auction house Phillips de Pury presents Africa, works from a stellar roster of artists, including  Adrian Piper, Aimé Mpane, Carrie Mae Weems, Chris Ofili, El Anatsui, Esther Mahlangu, Ike Ude, James Denmark, Julie Mehretu, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Kori Newkirk, Lorna Simpson, Malick Sidibe, Marlene Dumas, Mickalene Thomas, Romare Bearden, Sanford Biggers, Satch Hoyt, Sebastião Salgado, Seydou Keita,  Walker Evans, Wangechi Mutu and Yinka Shonibare.  The catalogue is available for purchase.

Duro Oluwo sent a modern sylph down the runway in this graphically patterned column …  Tanzanian gallerist, Twiga carries bold jewelry and artifacts in her San Francisco shop  … Designed and handcrafted in NYC by Heru Semahj, the fine jewelry of Studio of Ptah is imbued with meaning and is a favorite of both Erykah Badu and Wesley Snipes.  Putting a cultural twist on a classic, the 18k pendant features a 10ct. citrine on one side and diamonds and rubies set in a scarab on the other.

The Kala from Paul Smith offers a fun mix of colorblocking and animal print …  While purusing the lots for today’s auction I saw in Aimé Mpane’s  Congo – Face IX, 2008, the face of Johannesburg’s Regina Kambule from photographer Pieter Hugo’s 2003 series, Looking Aside.

The gorgeous and gifted Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie followed up her excellent Half of a Yellow Sun with a collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck (available in paperback in June) …   Style arbiter, The FADER editor and great guy, Mobolaji Dawodu caught the attention of The Sartorialist with his easy Naija cool.  I look forward to the relaunch of his collection of Nigerian-made garments for men and women.

All that Remains, a poignant metal work from South African Willie Bester is part of the Phillips auction … Puma, which sponsors 12 African football teams commissioned artist Kehinde Wiley to create portraits of African Football Players,in commemoration of next month’s World Cup in South Africa.  Wiley also lent his graphic textile patterns to the Puma Africa collections for men and women, such as these collapsible “Tekkies.”

Born in Cameroon, Samuel Fosso, was raised in Nigeria until his family fled the Biafran War and now creates alter-ego, photographic self portraits as anonymous archetypes and historical figures in his Bangui studio.  This image is inspired by the April 1968 Esquire cover by George Lois featuring Muhammad Ali as St. Sebastian … A world citizen fluent in several languages, fit (I see her running in the nabe frequently) and focused, self-taught artist Aissata Pinto da Costa joyously celebrates the female form in her paintings.  Today, May 15th, is the last day to see Feminine Energy and the other empowering images in the Steuben Glass Gallery exhibition of the São Tomé and Principe-born artist.

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4 Responses

  1. More, More, More !

    As Ever
    Montgomery Xx

  2. Great post, honoring and celebrating culture….as you always do with such style, Sharon. I look foward to the jubilee anniversary series!

  3. wonderful post! so much for those of us of african descent to be proud of: style, substance, and you!

    eisa

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You’re a treasure with your unique insight, erudition and taste.

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