Africa in the Picture IV

Niece of Nigerian highlife star Victor Olaiya, Wunmi Olaiya has music in her blood.  With her fierce style (she designs under the Wumnigirl label) and high-0ctane performances she has built a devoted following.  Her supporters rallied to assist her when in November she made a request on Kickstarter for donations to fund her sophomore solo recording in Ghana.  Goal met, she will follow through on her promise to donate all the proceeds from her next Ghana concert to Doctors Without Borders.  Expect a sizzling set when she performs Saturday, May 22 at Harlem Stage. The “wonderfull” DJ Spinna keeps the flow going through the night.

The brainchild of angel-voiced East African singer, Somi Kakoma, New Africa Live is a series of multidisciplinary events which ” challenge homogenized notions of African cultural production and whose work interrogates African identity politics with a cosmopolitan spirit and the vigor of urban hybridization” …Photojournalist Lyle Owerko traveled to Africa in 2006 and the resulting portraits of the Samburu people are stunning.  Lelesit of the Samburu was one of the works in the Phillips de Pury auction of last week.

Fashion label ZuluRose, bears the creative stamp of Butalezi and the renaissance woman Wunmi.  Their advertisments are an ode the strength, beauty and fire of African descended-women. An extension of the brand, ZuluRose Radio is a podcast of “African beats and urban grooves from around the world.”  … Ever expounding on the aesthetics of Funk, its high priestess, Xenobia Bailey creates “hand crocheted Urban Crowns for all the SuperNatural, Everyday People of the Planet.”  Pictured is her homage to the Orisha Chango.

A recipient of an Art Matters travel grant,  Los Angeles-born Marc Andre Robinson will travel to South Africa in exploration of his South African heritage.  I was introduced to his work last fall in an exhibit at Tina Kim Gallery. Here, the Continual Dissipation of Dense Black Being, 2005; ink on paper.

A detail from Movement41 (The Game), 2008, by Ghanaian painter Owusu-Ankomah, whose large canvasses feature the recurrent motif of Adinkra symbols.  Based in Bremen, Germany since 1986, he addresses themes of identity and the body …  My dear friend, photographer Frederick V. Nielsen II, shoots to capture the silken beauty of black skin.  Here he beautifully illuminates model Kayan Jewl James in the knitwear bikini of Jamaican designer, Knit Heru.

11 pm on Friday, 2010 is one of the oil portraits London-based artist, (Ghanaian descent) Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is showing at Jack Shainman Gallery in her first solo show in New York through May 22.  Featured in the Dr. Chika Okeke-Agulu/Okwui Enwezor book, Contemporary African Art Since 1980 as well as the Saatchi online gallery, she  …   I was happy to learn of the Brooklyn Museum’s recent acquisition of Heather’s Degradé 2006, by Cairo-born feminist artist Ghada Amer.  Her gallerist, Cheim & Read is currently showing her exhibtion, Color Misbehavior through June 19. Shown here, The Black Bang, 2010 acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas.

Philpotian Phlight Recorder, 2000 is Pete Goldlust’s totemic, carved crayon tribute to Chicago outsider artist and carver David Philpot, who is currently at work on a public art installation to be unveiled this fall …  Kara Walker’s scathing Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching, 2006 (painted laser cut steel) is a museum purchase of the Brooklyn Museum and on view on the fourth floor.


5 Responses

  1. Thank Sharon for the “shout-out” and the inspirational conversation last night on the phone. We need to have more of those.

    We are way over due for reaping the bounty of our harvest.



  2. SHARON,
    Again you hit it out the ballpark. Thank you for this exciting and informative blog. I met Wumni when I edited the 25th Anniversary commemorative book for Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence Dance Company for whom she designs costumes and was so impressed with her style and multi-talents.
    I attended the opening of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s show and the portraits of these ‘characters’ will stay with you for a long time. She was an amazingly humble and beautiful young woman who also writes fictions. Everyone should check out her show.

  3. arresting images; strong prose. you are amazing, sharon.

    wondering if you’re aware of ghanaian-american novelist nana ekua bew-hammond’s debut y.a. book, powder necklace:



    • Thanks, Eisa. I am aware of Nana’s book, it is part of my upcoming post on things for the young ones. I’ll be sure to link your review.

      Joy in return!

  4. Wow Sharon,
    Thank you for the insight, that’s some good stuff
    and it just gets better & better.

    As Ever
    Montgomery Xx

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