Africa in the Picture VII

Considering our ravaged earth…

Vintage travel posters make for wonderful home decor.  Salvaging discarded materials, London-based textile/jewelry designer Anita Quansah creates showstopping, earth-friendly pieces such as the “Nava” …  A fabulous trench of vintage fabric, pattern play and bold accessories from Duro Olowu for Spring. (photo from

Taking its name from the Swahili “shed light on Africa,” Angaza Afrika: African Art Now is a wonderful compendium illuminating the world of contemporary African Art on the continent and its diaspora featuring such artists as El Anatsui of Ghana, whose hammered bottle caps are woven together to create magical dripping wall sculptures.

Performance artist and textile sculptor Nick Cave is best known for his Soundsuits found materials (one of which is a recent acquisition of the Brooklyn Museum on view on the 4th floor until January 2012) Click for more on the incredible exhibition Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth at UCLA’s Fowler Museum through May 30th.

…the largest presentation of work by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave, featuring thirty-five of his Soundsuits—multi-layered, mixed-media sculptures named for the sounds made when the “suits” are worn. Reminiscent of African, Caribbean and other ceremonial ensembles as well as of haute couture, Cave’s work explores issues of transformation, ritual, myth and identity. His virtuosic constructions incorporate yarn, sequins, bottle caps, vintage toys, rusted iron sticks, hair, and more. Mad, humorous, visionary, glamorous and unexpected, the Soundsuits are created from scavenged ordinary materials that Cave re-contextualizes into extraordinary works of art. – The Fowler Museum

Brooklyn-based Mar y Sol (formerly known as Mad Imports) partners with artisans in Madagascar and Kenya to create handmade accessories handbags in renewable materials. The clutch shown here is a zebra-striped variation on the popular style “Opal” and designed exclusively for Brooklyn boutique, Epaulet … Somali Canadian hip-hop artist K’naan whose popular”Wavin’ Flag” is the anthem for this year’s World Cup created a charity version with Young Artists for Haiti to benefit to Haitian earthquake relief. (Photo: Akram.)

Visionary artist Xenobia Bailey is examining new ways to reduce waste by seeing the potential for beauty in refuse and putting her funky alchemist’s touch on those things we regularly discard.  See her zero-waste puppet theater, eco-chic wedding adornments and more on her blog (Photo: Jeffrey Machtig courtesy of John Michael Art Center 2009) … El Anatsui, mentioned above, showed early this year at Jack Shainman in his wonderful second solo exhibition at the gallery.  A hardbound catalogue is available.


One Response

  1. Anita Quansah pieces are gorgeous , If I am correct they sell them online @ Shrimpton Couture . Duro Olowu is extremely talented , several great looks for spring 2010.

    This was a great piece thanks for shedding light into the arts of the african diaspora !

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