Wings http://arikwings.com The Inflight Magazine Of Arik Air Wed, 05 Mar 2014 14:54:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Oh Brother! http://arikwings.com/?p=3407 http://arikwings.com/?p=3407#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 22:14:43 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3407 Ivorian Pagne, Agbada, Sokoto and Savile Row tailoring — make room in your suitcase for fresh threads, boys. Here are the names to know in African menswear… Words Helen Jennings Modern menswear is enjoying a global blossoming. The 1990s metrosexual is long gone, replaced by stylish guys who know it’s okay to be a dressed up peacock one day and dressed down hipster the next, as well as invest in good quality wardrobe staples. The menswear market is expected to exceed $400billion worldwide in 2014, which represents a 14 per cent growth in the past five years thanks to the rise of e-commerce, stronger marketing and media, and improved economies. What this means for Africa is that big brands such as Hugo Boss and Ermenegildo Zegna have identified it as a new market while indigenous ones are responding to the growing demands of both local and international consumers. Buoyed by diaspora talent such as Casely-Hayford and A. Sauvage, who both wowed the recent London Collections: Men shows, and by tailoring innovators including Ozwald Boateng and Art Comes First, menswear on the continent is stepping up. Here are the names you need to know. LaurenceAirline Ivorian, Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud studied in Paris and worked for Louis Vuitton before establishing Laurenceairline in Abidjan in 2011. It’s now sold in concept stores worldwide. “The focus is on social responsibility and on re-imagining Africa’s cultural inheritance through a modern aesthetic,” Chauvin-Buthaud says. “My workshop creates jobs, skills and possibilities for the future.” Her directional designs revolve around simple separates in bold prints incorporating local fabrics such as pagne. laurenceairline.com Okunoren Twins Twins Taiwo and Kehinde Okunoren have been the go-to guys for sharp suits in Lagos since 2001. Inspired by Savile Row but steeped in Yoruba culture, the label is known for bespoke tailoring as well as Nigerian classics such as buba and sokoto. And for S/S 14 they go casual with Islase. “The collection is named after the Lagos island where our target market goes to relax at the weekends,” says Kehinde. “It’s a minimalist range made from breathable linen.” The brothers opened their luxury flagship store last December catering to every gentleman’s needs from crisps shirts to shoe shining. 20b Mainland Way, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria okunoren.com Projecto Mental Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga and Shunnoz Fiel have been at the forefront of Angolan menswear for a decade. The duo has shown their uplifting, colourful suiting in London, Lisbon and Tokyo and recently opened their first atelier in Luanda. “We use fashion as a transforming agent and transmitter of positive knowledge that helps develop society. The emotions and spirituality of each collection are always manifest,” explains Fiel. Their brave collections turn heads through their mix of African textiles, British tailoring and Japanese concepts of shape. Rua Marien Ngouabi (Ex-Antonio Barroso), Edificio E2-IMS, Alvalade, Luanda, Angola projectomental.com Armando Cabral Armando Cabral is one of the most successful male models to ever emerge from Africa having worked for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Puma, J.Crew and Benetton. Now though he’s busy impressing with his eponymous footwear line. The Guinea-Bissau-born, New York-based talent launched the brand in 2009, which specialises in reinventing classic styles such as loafers, derbys and oxfords. “I love shoes,” he says. “For me they sum up a person’s taste and should act as the perfect compliment to one’s lifestyle.” armando-cabral.com Adriaan Kuiters Keith Henning trained in industrial and furniture design but turned his skills to fashion to launch Adriaan Kuiters in 2011. Named after his grandfather, who elegantly explored the world during what Henning calls “the golden era of travel,” the Cape Town label creates timeless pieces that are ethically and locally produced. “I design for longevity. I approach clothes in the same way I would approach a product, prolonging the lifespan of the final creation. It’s all clean, simple and architectural,” he adds. Think canvas rucksacks, loose shirts, boxy printed t-shirts and city shorts ripe for hiking the Alps or boarding the Orient Express. 73 Kloof St, Cape Town, South Africa adriaankuiters.com Augustine Johannesburg’s Augustine specialise in “damned handsome” tailoring. Justine Coetzer began a bespoke suit service in 2010 and opened a studio in Parkhurst in 2012 with Marea Lewis, where they expanded into ready-to-wear. S/S14 consists of monochrome, sports-influenced pieces in a mix of performance and traditional fabrics. “We hope to merge what is on trend both locally and internationally with the culture of being tailored,” says Lewis. “One can be both street and tailored at the same time.” Augustine will make its catwalk debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg in March. 87 Sixth Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa augustineclothing.co.za Amine Bendriouich As the name of his brand suggests, Amine Bendriouich’s Couture & Bullshit takes an irreverent approach to fashion. The Moroccan designer trained in Tunisia and has worked in Berlin but now nurtures his unisex, deconstructed designs in Casablanca. “I’m influenced by my surroundings, my friends, music and global events and then use clothes to tell stories through details, shapes and attitude,” he says. Androgynous jackets, baggy trousers and long cloaks take as much inspiration from sarouels and djelabbahs as they do from urban streetwear. Bendriouich also recently collaborated with artist Hassan Hajjaj on a capsule collection of blazers. facebook.com/ABCB.fanpage Orange Culture Business graduate Adebayo Oke-Lawal cut his teeth in the Lagos fashion scene by writing, styling and working for other designers before starting Orange Culture in 2011. Now his fresh approach to Nigerian menswear is causing a serious stir. “My brand is poetic, modernist, nomadic, African — my love affair with my home,” Oke Lawal says. S/S 14, entitled I Am A Tree, comprises flamboyant embroidered shirts, wrap shirts, double breasted blazers, agbada and tight trousers. “A lot of young menswear designers are coming up and beginning to share the limelight with the womenswear designers,” he notes. “2014 — here come the boys!” orange-culture.com Hello Stranger Malawian beans and menswear at Lagos concept store, Stranger “Create it and people will follow,” says Yegwa Ukpo, pioneering co-founder of Stranger, a [...]

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01_fashion

Ivorian Pagne, Agbada, Sokoto and Savile Row tailoring — make room in your suitcase for fresh threads, boys. Here are the names to know in African menswear…

Words Helen Jennings

Modern menswear is enjoying a global blossoming. The 1990s metrosexual is long gone, replaced by stylish guys who know it’s okay to be a dressed up peacock one day and dressed down hipster the next, as well as invest in good quality wardrobe staples. The menswear market is expected to exceed $400billion worldwide in 2014, which represents a 14 per cent growth in the past five years thanks to the rise of e-commerce, stronger marketing and media, and improved economies.

What this means for Africa is that big brands such as Hugo Boss and Ermenegildo Zegna have identified it as a new market while indigenous ones are responding to the growing demands of both local and international consumers. Buoyed by diaspora talent such as Casely-Hayford and A. Sauvage, who both wowed the recent London Collections: Men shows, and by tailoring innovators including Ozwald Boateng and Art Comes First, menswear on the continent is stepping up. Here are the names you need to know.

LaurenceAirline

Ivorian, Laurence Chauvin-Buthaud studied in Paris and worked for Louis Vuitton before establishing Laurenceairline in Abidjan in 2011. It’s now sold in concept stores worldwide. “The focus is on social responsibility and on re-imagining Africa’s cultural inheritance through a modern aesthetic,” Chauvin-Buthaud says. “My workshop creates jobs, skills and possibilities for the future.” Her directional designs revolve around simple separates in bold prints incorporating local fabrics such as pagne.
laurenceairline.com

Okunoren Twins

Twins Taiwo and Kehinde Okunoren have been the go-to guys for sharp suits in Lagos since 2001. Inspired by Savile Row but steeped in Yoruba culture, the label is known for bespoke tailoring as well as Nigerian classics such as buba and sokoto. And for S/S 14 they go casual with Islase. “The collection is named after the Lagos island where our target market goes to relax at the weekends,” says Kehinde. “It’s a minimalist range made from breathable linen.” The brothers opened their luxury flagship store last December catering to every gentleman’s needs from crisps shirts to shoe shining.
20b Mainland Way, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria
okunoren.com

02_fashion

Projecto Mental

Tekasala Ma’at Nzinga and Shunnoz Fiel have been at the forefront of Angolan menswear for a decade. The duo has shown their uplifting, colourful suiting in London, Lisbon and Tokyo and recently opened their first atelier in Luanda. “We use fashion as a transforming agent and transmitter of positive knowledge that helps develop society. The emotions and spirituality of each collection are always manifest,” explains Fiel. Their brave collections turn heads through their mix of African textiles, British tailoring and Japanese concepts of shape.
Rua Marien Ngouabi (Ex-Antonio Barroso), Edificio E2-IMS, Alvalade, Luanda, Angola
projectomental.com

Armando Cabral

Armando Cabral is one of the most successful male models to ever emerge from Africa having worked for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Puma, J.Crew and Benetton. Now though he’s busy impressing with his eponymous footwear line. The Guinea-Bissau-born, New York-based talent launched the brand in 2009, which specialises in reinventing classic styles such as loafers, derbys and oxfords. “I love shoes,” he says. “For me they sum up a person’s taste and should act as the perfect compliment to one’s lifestyle.”
armando-cabral.com

Adriaan Kuiters

Keith Henning trained in industrial and furniture design but turned his skills to fashion to launch Adriaan Kuiters in 2011. Named after his grandfather, who elegantly explored the world during what Henning calls “the golden era of travel,” the Cape Town label creates timeless pieces that are ethically and locally produced. “I design for longevity. I approach clothes in the same way I would approach a product, prolonging the lifespan of the final creation. It’s all clean, simple and architectural,” he adds. Think canvas rucksacks, loose shirts, boxy printed t-shirts and city shorts ripe for hiking the Alps or boarding the Orient Express.
73 Kloof St, Cape Town,
South Africa
adriaankuiters.com

Augustine

Johannesburg’s Augustine specialise in “damned handsome” tailoring. Justine Coetzer began a bespoke suit service in 2010 and opened a studio in Parkhurst in 2012 with Marea Lewis, where they expanded into ready-to-wear.

S/S14 consists of monochrome, sports-influenced pieces in a mix of performance and traditional fabrics. “We hope to merge what is on trend both locally and internationally with the culture of being tailored,” says Lewis. “One can be both street and tailored at the same time.” Augustine will make its catwalk debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg in March.
87 Sixth Street, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa
augustineclothing.co.za

Amine Bendriouich

As the name of his brand suggests, Amine Bendriouich’s Couture & Bullshit takes an irreverent approach to fashion. The Moroccan designer trained in Tunisia and has worked in Berlin but now nurtures his unisex, deconstructed designs in Casablanca. “I’m influenced by my surroundings, my friends, music and global events and then use clothes to tell stories through details, shapes and attitude,” he says. Androgynous jackets, baggy trousers and long cloaks take as much inspiration from sarouels and djelabbahs as they do from urban streetwear. Bendriouich also recently collaborated with artist Hassan Hajjaj on a capsule collection of blazers.
facebook.com/ABCB.fanpage

Orange Culture

Business graduate Adebayo Oke-Lawal cut his teeth in the Lagos fashion scene by writing, styling and working for other designers before starting Orange Culture in 2011. Now his fresh approach to Nigerian menswear is causing a serious stir. “My brand is poetic, modernist, nomadic, African — my love affair with my home,” Oke Lawal says. S/S 14, entitled I Am A Tree, comprises flamboyant embroidered shirts, wrap shirts, double breasted blazers, agbada and tight trousers. “A lot of young menswear designers are coming up and beginning to share the limelight with the womenswear designers,” he notes. “2014 — here come the boys!”
orange-culture.com

Hello Stranger

Malawian beans and menswear at Lagos concept store, Stranger

“Create it and people will follow,” says Yegwa Ukpo, pioneering co-founder of Stranger, a diminutive menswear boutique and micro cafe tucked away on a residential street in an upmarket Lagos neighbourhood.

The store stands out in a city with a lot of homogeneity, especially when it comes to menswear.

Stranger stocks weird and wonderful archive fashion from Ann Demeulemeester, Junya Watanabe, Raf Simons and Yohji Yamamoto and Nigerian labels Orange Culture, Kelechi Odu and Post Imperial among others.

If you’ve hit the limit for instant coffee consumption take solace in the Magenta room, a perfect sliver of a cafe bathed in pink light that makes an art out of coffee and tea making. You can brew your own beans while browsing a book from the Swap Library. There’s a blackboard to write messages and the store plays host to artsy events like the Lagos Photo Festival. The friendly hub attracts a growing subculture of unpretentious creatives and beginning March 2014, Stranger will start stocking womenswear. It’s been created and boy, are we following.
3 Hakeem Dickson Street, off Fola Osibo Street, Lekki Phase One, Lagos, strangerlagos.com, open 10am—7pm, Monday—Saturday (EW)

03_fashion_2nd_story

Suitcase Saviours

Three of the best, new style essentials for men on the move

Afropolitan Swimwear

A striking pair of swim trunks will not only bring a man from beach to bar but if they’re really suave, you can basically live in them for the duration of your holiday.

The Spring Summer Eban collection by swimwear label Okun introduces house print ‘Oju,’ sees signature print ‘Ile’ showcased in vibrant orange and acid yellows, and rolls out new print, ‘Eban,’ a Ghanaian Adinkra motif, which means ‘the fence,’ and is a symbol of love and security. These trunks are finely tailored from premium soft-touch and quick-dry material.
Okun’s founder Bola Marquis is a Nigerian born in Senegal who grew up between Lagos and London. “Okun, which means ‘the ocean’ in Yoruba is born out of the desire to create a global African menswear brand that is contemporary, positive and respectful of its heritage,” he says. The label donates a portion of its sales to the Ethiopian Education Foundation. With prints and provenance from all over Africa, you can let your shorts do the travelling for you. That should leave you plenty of time to lounge around by the pool.
Okunbeachwear.com

Rainproof Trainers

Future-forward footwear used to refer to avant-garde, limited-edition Japanese trainers. Now people just want shoes that can combat the crazy effects of climate change. Shoe brand SWIMS has released their first ever pair of rainproof trainers, perfect for adverse weather.
The Luca sneaker has an anti-slip rubber sole and flexible TPU outer shell which gives them great wearability. They’re affordable, suitable for most occasions and come in a massive variety of colours.
Swims.com

Totes Fabulous

‘It bags’ aren’t just for women. A good, solid designer travel bag will see men through many seasons. Bill Amberg’s new ‘Explorer’ bag collection is created by the same designer who worked for Phoebe Philo at Celine, purveyor of the ‘It bag.’ The Everest bag in chestnut leather and taupe suede is a firm favourite. Now if only it came in ‘Ghana Must Go’ size.
billamberg.com

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Mind Medicine http://arikwings.com/?p=3404 http://arikwings.com/?p=3404#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 22:08:36 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3404 New discoveries about the healing power of the mind can combat the damaging effects of stress from personal pressure and excess work and travel. Words Caroline Shola Arewa It is safe to say that we each desire abundant health and wellbeing. Living a long, healthy life is considered a great blessing. Being physically fit, mentally astute and emotionally stable allows us to enjoy life to the full. We are able to relate easily with family and friends, be satisfied in our work and pursuits, and take pleasure in our broader relationships. We work, we play and enjoy life. That is, if we are healthy. It is said that ‘health is wealth’, and anyone who has struggled with the reality of serious illness knows how true this statement is. When facing the fears and distress of just how impermanent life is, we quickly realise who and what is truly important. It seems that all over the world, people are facing an increasing amount of illness, much of it stress-related. Don’t underestimate stress. It is responsible for a great many issues, and it affects people all over the globe. Under Pressure The American Institute of Stress estimates that 60—90 per cent of accidents at work are due to stress. Stress causes tiredness, lack of sleep and mental distractions that can lead to fatal accidents. Absenteeism is another costly result of pressure in the workplace, with millions of dollars — and naira — lost every year in productivity. And now we are seeing a new phenomenon known as ‘presenteeism’ ­­— this is the act of showing up to work, but failing to function adequately once actually there. We have all witnessed colleagues who are so exhausted they can barely focus or function. This distressing state can result in unnecessary mistakes, too much time spent on minor tasks, reduced quality of work, anger and frustration, resentment and low morale. Research suggests that stressed workers not only place a strain on the immune system, but are also at an increased risk of mental health problems, ranging from anxiety, substance misuse and most prevalent, depression. What can we do to ward off stress, maintain mental health and keep serious illness and disease at bay? Distress to Success Advances in medicine and healthcare continue to bring us medication, operations and procedures that can reverse disease and bring about lasting health. However, there are also complementary approaches to healthcare that we can utilise to reduce stress, prevent illness and enhance our health. We are learning from neuroscience and quantum physics that our thoughts and the mind have the power to heal. A new paradigm is emerging in healthcare that advocates a move away from one-size-fits-all towards a more personal approach to health and healing. We are increasingly recognising that we hold the responsibility for our wellbeing within ourselves. And the more we are consciously aware of our thoughts, beliefs and actions on a daily basis, the more we will prevent illness occurring. Lifestyle Medicine Health is not limited to physically being without illness: it is broader, and extends to our spiritual health and emotional wellbeing. It is how we live life that matters. In fact, we are now seeing a rise in what is termed ‘lifestyle medicine’. Lifestyle medicine recognises that it is what we think and do every day that makes the difference; what we choose to eat, how much exercise we indulge in and the length and quality of sleep we experience daily. Most important of all is what we think and say to ourselves on a regular basis. Do you speak to yourself in an encouraging and positive manner, or do you abuse yourself with words of fear, doubt and negativity? Your happiness and achievements in life are a direct result of what you tell yourself. Whether you say you can, or you say you can’t, you are always right. Your psychology impacts on a molecular level, becoming your biology, which in turn determines your level of wellness. As a psychologist and wellness coach, I help people develop optimum health and wellbeing. In order to get positive results, it is essential to utilise the power of the mind. Well-being Checklist Some methods to support greater health in your body, mind and spirit Visualisation Creating positive images of health supports the body to heal. With your inner eye, see yourself free from illness and pain. Your perception creates good feelings and emotions, which in turn release chemicals, such as endorphins. Endorphins are both analgesic and sedative, comprising the ability to reduce pain and relax your whole body. Faith Dr Herbert Benson has spent over 30 years studying the effects of faith. The faith factor certainly appears to aid in recovery from illness, such as heart problems, which are the biggest causes of death in the USA. In many cultures, faith is the primary medicine. Due to the connection between mind and body, science is now demonstrating that our hopes and beliefs can have proven and effective physiological benefits. Meditation Many people proclaim the benefits of meditation. It has become very popular in recent years, because studies show that just 20 minutes of silent mediation a day improves energy and vitality levels, strengthens the immune system and improves cardiac health. The mind also benefits from being more focused, clear and rested. Serenity Supplies Tools to soothe the mind Mind Games This web-based training system stimulates the brain to unlock your full potential. The training is founded on the latest neuroscience and cognitive studies. It involves games that improve brain health, attention and performance, and you can tailor your programme to your specific requirements, too. Lumosity.com Smooth Travels Stress can cause internal imbalance. Endorphinate is an all-natural patented formula that helps to rebalance the endorphin system, your body’s own feel-good factory. This in turn promotes positive endorphin signaling, which produces an increased sense of calm, balance and pleasure. This is a good adaptogen to combat the stress of flying. ponderapharma.com Guided Meditation Use this simple tool to relax, [...]

The post Mind Medicine appeared first on Wings.

]]>
01_health

New discoveries about the healing power of the mind can combat the damaging effects of stress from personal pressure and excess work and travel.

Words Caroline Shola Arewa

It is safe to say that we each desire abundant health and wellbeing. Living a long, healthy life is considered a great blessing. Being physically fit, mentally astute and emotionally stable allows us to enjoy life to the full. We are able to relate easily with family and friends, be satisfied in our work and pursuits, and take pleasure in our broader relationships. We work, we play and enjoy life. That is, if we are healthy.
It is said that ‘health is wealth’, and anyone who has struggled with the reality of serious illness knows how true this statement is. When facing the fears and distress of just how impermanent life is, we quickly realise who and what is truly important. It seems that all over the world, people are facing an increasing amount of illness, much of it stress-related. Don’t underestimate stress. It is responsible for a great many issues, and it affects people all over the globe.

Under Pressure

The American Institute of Stress estimates that 60—90 per cent of accidents at work are due to stress. Stress causes tiredness, lack of sleep and mental distractions that can lead to fatal accidents. Absenteeism is another costly result of pressure in the workplace, with millions of dollars — and naira — lost every year in productivity. And now we are seeing a new phenomenon known as ‘presenteeism’ ­­— this is the act of showing up to work, but failing to function adequately once actually there. We have all witnessed colleagues who are so exhausted they can barely focus or function. This distressing state can result in unnecessary mistakes, too much time spent on minor tasks, reduced quality of work, anger and frustration, resentment and low morale. Research suggests that stressed workers not only place a strain on the immune system, but are also at an increased risk of mental health problems, ranging from anxiety, substance misuse and most prevalent, depression. What can we do to ward off stress, maintain mental health and keep serious illness and disease at bay?

02_health

Distress to Success

Advances in medicine and healthcare continue to bring us medication, operations and procedures that can reverse disease and bring about lasting health. However, there are also complementary approaches to healthcare that we can utilise to reduce stress, prevent illness and enhance our health. We are learning from neuroscience and quantum physics that our thoughts and the mind have the power to heal. A new paradigm is emerging in healthcare that advocates a move away from one-size-fits-all towards a more personal approach to health and healing. We are increasingly recognising that we hold the responsibility for our wellbeing within ourselves. And the more we are consciously aware of our thoughts, beliefs and actions on a daily basis, the more we will prevent illness occurring.

Lifestyle Medicine

Health is not limited to physically being without illness: it is broader, and extends to our spiritual health and emotional wellbeing. It is how we live life that matters. In fact, we are now seeing a rise in what is termed ‘lifestyle medicine’. Lifestyle medicine recognises that it is what we think and do every day that makes the difference; what we choose to eat, how much exercise we indulge in and the length and quality of sleep we experience daily. Most important of all is what we think and say to ourselves on a regular basis.
Do you speak to yourself in an encouraging and positive manner, or do you abuse yourself with words of fear, doubt and negativity? Your happiness and achievements in life are a direct result of what you tell yourself. Whether you say you can, or you say you can’t, you are always right. Your psychology impacts on a molecular level, becoming your biology, which in turn determines your level of wellness.

As a psychologist and wellness coach, I help people develop optimum health and wellbeing. In order to get positive results, it is essential to utilise the power of the mind.

Well-being Checklist

Some methods to support greater health in your body, mind and spirit

Visualisation
Creating positive images of health supports the body to heal. With your inner eye, see yourself free from illness and pain. Your perception creates good feelings and emotions, which in turn release chemicals, such as endorphins. Endorphins are both analgesic and sedative, comprising the ability to reduce pain and relax your whole body.

Faith
Dr Herbert Benson has spent over 30 years studying the effects of faith. The faith factor certainly appears to aid in recovery from illness, such as heart problems, which are the biggest causes of death in the USA. In many cultures, faith is the primary medicine. Due to the connection between mind and body, science is now demonstrating that our hopes and beliefs can have proven and effective physiological benefits.

Meditation
Many people proclaim the benefits of meditation. It has become very popular in recent years, because studies show that just 20 minutes of silent mediation a day improves energy and vitality levels, strengthens the immune system and improves cardiac health. The mind also benefits from being more focused, clear and rested.

Serenity Supplies

Tools to soothe the mind

Mind Games
This web-based training system stimulates the brain to unlock your full potential. The training is founded on the latest neuroscience and cognitive studies. It involves games that improve brain health, attention and performance, and you can tailor your programme to your specific requirements, too.
Lumosity.com

Smooth Travels
Stress can cause internal imbalance. Endorphinate is an all-natural patented formula that helps to rebalance the endorphin system, your body’s own feel-good factory. This in turn promotes positive endorphin signaling, which produces an increased sense of calm, balance and pleasure. This is a good adaptogen to combat the stress of flying.
ponderapharma.com

Guided Meditation
Use this simple tool to relax, re-focus and re-energise in just a few minutes with short guided meditations that help you become a positive force in your own life.
just-a-minute.org

The post Mind Medicine appeared first on Wings.

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Cooking Through NYC http://arikwings.com/?p=3398 http://arikwings.com/?p=3398#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 22:05:02 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3398 Whether it’s pizza or dim sum, three-day immersion or two-hour classes, New York’s cooking schools are gaining traction with travellers. Words Rocky Casale For most people, travel is largely about discovery and learning. In recent years, New York’s cooking schools, big and small, have tapped into that notion, offering visitors a fantastic array of cookery and baking classes that are an enriching and welcome diversion from passively dining out. Beyond the entertainment factor, it is increasingly important to travellers and locals alike to know more about what they are eating, including ways to prepare the dish, how to recognise its flavours, and the ability to pinpoint the origin of its ingredients. Up and down Manhattan Island and further afield in Brooklyn, large professional and small-business cooking schools want people, especially travellers, to get acquainted with the foods they love. Many have shifted gears to offer half-day classes that are inclusive, instructive and, usually by the end of class, delicious — because, of course, one of the best parts of any cooking course is enjoying the finished product. Most of what you find in the city are schools that teach a spectrum of international cuisines. One school might specialise in Italian, Indian, Cantonese and Burmese dishes because the expert chefs teaching there come from those culinary backgrounds. Some schools teach the fundamentals, like how and at what time seasoning should be added to lift a dish to its highest potential; while others are high-impact, technical, and expensive, like nose-to-tail butchery courses that teach you how to identify and carve up cuts of meat. For the less exacting, there are a clutch of baking classes that, if you’re so inclined, encourage baking as a practice rather than a science, so that anyone who wants to can learn how to roll out a batch of chou pastry. Looking for vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or even flexitarian focused cooking? This city has it. Whatever the tastebuds seek to learn, you can find a class for it in New York. Natural Gourmet Institute Although the Natural Gourmet Institute is geared for those seeking a long term, professional training program; the school does offer weekly public courses that teach a good base of culinary skills rooted in holistic, natural culinary methods. One of their most basic and rewarding classes teaches students how to season their foods like a professional chef. Even basic meals, like a simple French omelette or roast chicken are easy to cook in an underwhelming way, and difficult to really perfect — this class teaches students how and when to add natural seasonings to impart lightness or depth of flavour to a dish. A lot of vegan or vegetarian focused courses are taught here, like the school’s Essential Cooking for the Vegan, Vegetarian and Flexitarian. The class arms students with the fundamentals of pressure cooking, braising, blanching, caramelising, reducing and so on. It’s the kind of class that teaches you how to make vegetables the beloved star of your plate. 48 West 21st Street, New York Phone: 212 645-5170 naturalgourmetinstitute.com Premier Gourmand One-day classes at The International Culinary Institute, one of New York’s premier and more serious cooking schools, teach complex, though accessible skills in fun and professionally tooled kitchens. A lot of their pastry classes knock the mystery out of seemingly complicated baked goods, and teach students how to drum up a batch of buttery croissants or crusty baguettes in their own kitchens. Their four-hour Chocolate Treats And Truffles class is led by top chocolatiers, and is ideal for those who want to learn how to temper chocolate and make a variety of decadent truffles. Also popular is their New York Favourites: Bagels, Bialys And Pretzels class, also four hours; a brilliant opportunity to learn how to prepare these twice-cooked, chewy, doughy treats and take a piece of the city home as a mouthwatering souvenir. For those who have more time to kill and more commitment to spare, the school’s 12-hour Food And Wine Pairing class is an excellent investment for learning about the flavour dynamics and fascinating relationship between food and wine. 462 Broadway, New York Phone: 888 324-2433 internationalculinarycenter.com Aphrodisiac Dish The creator of New York’s scintillating Sex On The Table cooking class is the brainchild of Swiss-born ChefFed, a cook that believes food and love are the two most life-affirming ingredients. Classes are rooted in the knowledge of over 100 aphrodisiac ingredients that you can find in most organic food markets. All classes are BYOB, and seasonally themed. The school’s Aphrodisiac Dinner classes focus on marrying unexpected ingredients, like chocolate with chicken or asparagus with gelato; and finding a harmony and balance of flavours that builds table side intrigue and ecstasy. This is a class aimed at couples, but there are others, like ChefFed’s Creative Umami Class, that teaches students not only how to follow recipes, but how to choose ingredients based on their vibrant colours, and ways to create beautifully presented dishes. ChefFed also hosts a pop-up dining society hosted by exceptional chefs in unusual locations around the city; and produces a small line of food products that you can bring home as gifts. 49 East 1st Street; Atelier 4W, New York Phone: 212 358-7679 cheffedny.com Provenance Counts Two blocks from Manhattan’s Union Square is where one finds the recreational cooking school, Haven’s Kitchen. The school is dedicated to teaching how to prepare sustainable and seasonal food; classes impart on students the importance of knowing the provenance of their ingredients and of sourcing items locally. Founder Alison Cayne’s team of highly informed chefs offer classes like their two-hour Fresh Pasta And Northern Italian Wines course. This is perfect for someone with little time to spare, and a great introduction to pairing dishes with wine and preparing a hearty Italian meal from scratch. The school’s two-hour Indian Kitchen: Curry class is also popular because it teaches students how to make rich, satisfying, fiery or mild curries using local or regional ingredients from home. A visit to their website reveals the [...]

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01_food

Whether it’s pizza or dim sum, three-day immersion or two-hour classes,
New York’s cooking schools are gaining traction with travellers.

Words Rocky Casale

For most people, travel is largely about discovery and learning. In recent years, New York’s cooking schools, big and small, have tapped into that notion, offering visitors a fantastic array of cookery and baking classes that are an enriching and welcome diversion from passively dining out. Beyond the entertainment factor, it is increasingly important to travellers and locals alike to know more about what they are eating, including ways to prepare the dish, how to recognise its flavours, and the ability to pinpoint the origin of its ingredients. Up and down Manhattan Island and further afield in Brooklyn, large professional and small-business cooking schools want people, especially travellers, to get acquainted with the foods they love. Many have shifted gears to offer half-day classes that are inclusive, instructive and, usually by the end of class, delicious — because, of course, one of the best parts of any cooking course is enjoying the finished product.

Most of what you find in the city are schools that teach a spectrum of international cuisines. One school might specialise in Italian, Indian, Cantonese and Burmese dishes because the expert chefs teaching there come from those culinary backgrounds. Some schools teach the fundamentals, like how and at what time seasoning should be added to lift a dish to its highest potential; while others are high-impact, technical, and expensive, like nose-to-tail butchery courses that teach you how to identify and carve up cuts of meat. For the less exacting, there are a clutch of baking classes that, if you’re so inclined, encourage baking as a practice rather than a science, so that anyone who wants to can learn how to roll out a batch of chou pastry. Looking for vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or even flexitarian focused cooking? This city has it. Whatever the tastebuds seek to learn, you can find a class for it in New York.

04_food

Natural Gourmet Institute

Although the Natural Gourmet Institute is geared for those seeking a long term, professional training program; the school does offer weekly public courses that teach a good base of culinary skills rooted in holistic, natural culinary methods. One of their most basic and rewarding classes teaches students how to season their foods like a professional chef. Even basic meals, like a simple French omelette or roast chicken are easy to cook in an underwhelming way, and difficult to really perfect — this class teaches students how and when to add natural seasonings to impart lightness or depth of flavour to a dish. A lot of vegan or vegetarian focused courses are taught here, like the school’s Essential Cooking for the Vegan, Vegetarian and Flexitarian. The class arms students with the fundamentals of pressure cooking, braising, blanching, caramelising, reducing and so on. It’s the kind of class that teaches you how to make vegetables the beloved star of your plate.
48 West 21st Street, New York
Phone: 212 645-5170 naturalgourmetinstitute.com

02_food

Premier Gourmand

One-day classes at The International Culinary Institute, one of New York’s premier and more serious cooking schools, teach complex, though accessible skills in fun and professionally tooled kitchens. A lot of their pastry classes knock the mystery out of seemingly complicated baked goods, and teach students how to drum up a batch of buttery croissants or crusty baguettes in their own kitchens.

Their four-hour Chocolate Treats And Truffles class is led by top chocolatiers, and is ideal for those who want to learn how to temper chocolate and make a variety of decadent truffles. Also popular is their New York Favourites: Bagels, Bialys And Pretzels class, also four hours; a brilliant opportunity to learn how to prepare these twice-cooked, chewy, doughy treats and take a piece of the city home as a mouthwatering souvenir. For those who have more time to kill and more commitment to spare, the school’s 12-hour Food And Wine Pairing class is an excellent investment for learning about the flavour dynamics and fascinating relationship between food and wine.
462 Broadway, New York
Phone: 888 324-2433
internationalculinarycenter.com

03_food

Aphrodisiac Dish

The creator of New York’s scintillating Sex On The Table cooking class is the brainchild of Swiss-born ChefFed, a cook that believes food and love are the two most life-affirming ingredients. Classes are rooted in the knowledge of over 100 aphrodisiac ingredients that you can find in most organic food markets. All classes are BYOB, and seasonally themed. The school’s Aphrodisiac Dinner classes focus on marrying unexpected ingredients, like chocolate with chicken or asparagus with gelato; and finding a harmony and balance of flavours that builds table side intrigue and ecstasy. This is a class aimed at couples, but there are others, like ChefFed’s Creative Umami Class, that teaches students not only how to follow recipes, but how to choose ingredients based on their vibrant colours, and ways to create beautifully presented dishes. ChefFed also hosts a pop-up dining society hosted by exceptional chefs in unusual locations around the city; and produces a small line of food products that you can bring home as gifts.
49 East 1st Street; Atelier 4W, New York
Phone: 212 358-7679
cheffedny.com

Provenance Counts

Two blocks from Manhattan’s Union Square is where one finds the recreational cooking school, Haven’s Kitchen. The school is dedicated to teaching how to prepare sustainable and seasonal food; classes impart on students the importance of knowing the provenance of their ingredients and of sourcing items locally. Founder Alison Cayne’s team of highly informed chefs offer classes like their two-hour Fresh Pasta And Northern Italian Wines course. This is perfect for someone with little time to spare, and a great introduction to pairing dishes with wine and preparing a hearty Italian meal from scratch.
The school’s two-hour Indian Kitchen: Curry class is also popular because it teaches students how to make rich, satisfying, fiery or mild curries using local or regional ingredients from home. A visit to their website reveals the school also hosts a bevy of private supper clubs and events, and a delicious product range available for purchase online or on site.
109 West 17th Street, New York
Phone: 212 929-7900
havenskitchen.com

Slice Of The Pie

New York has always been a pizza-fuelled city, and so it is no surprise that when Pizza A Casa Pizza School opened in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood,
the classes were an instant sensation. That’s mostly because the school’s founder, Mark Bello, teaches students how to make crisp, thin, almost Neopolitan-style pizzas in their own conventional home oven — so there’s no need to own a nearly 1,000-degree wood-fired pizza oven. The limited-capacity classes have to be booked in advance, and they include a tutorial on dough and sauce prep; stretching techniques,
and a crash course in pairing toppings. Each student makes four personal pizzas, and the school also offers private event bookings, which are good for families or business travellers.
37 Grand Street, New York; Phone: 212 228-5483; pizzaschool.com

Cook’s Tour

Food markets and specialist shops for Big Apple foodies

The Greene Grape
If you find yourself over in Fort Greene looking for specialty foods like artisan cheeses, craft beers, or even just a gorgeous bunch of golden beats, The Green Grape is the place to duck into. The shop is open daily from noon.
765 Fulton St, Brooklyn;
T. 718-797-9463; greenegrape.com

Chelsea Market
One of New York’s most vibrant places to eat and shop, Chelsea Market offers a little bit of everything. Baked goods, Italian imported foods, fresh oysters, a horde of international restaurants, and even a gift basket shop are all on hand.
75 9th Avenue, New York;
T. 212-213-6005; chelseamarket.com

Gotham West Market
Last year, New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood got its own version of a rollicking Chelsea Market. The Gotham West Market has large, industrial sized food retail and dining destinations, such as
The Brooklyn Kitchen and
Blue Bottle Coffee.
gothamwestmarket.com

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Culture List http://arikwings.com/?p=3394 http://arikwings.com/?p=3394#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:59:52 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3394 The rise of Nigerian art, a coffee table tome of South African history, and the SONY World Photography Awards — things to inspire you from March to May, and beyond… Words Nana Ocran Art Displaced Gem Wings meets rising star, Nigerian born, British raised and Brooklyn based artist ruby onyinyechi amanze (sic). “I have met so many people who are from elsewhere,” says curator and artist ruby onyinyechi amanze, “people who are hybrids like me and understand the complexities of cultural identity. I wanted to articulate some of the stories of my journey through the lens of an alter ego.” ruby refers to her illustrated character, ada the alien, borne from a feeling of disconnection, which she felt while visiting Nigeria recently. The Ada character ties in with ruby’s challenge of being treated as an outsider, despite the excitement at being in her country of birth. Disconnection and other themes of ruby’s work are resonating with galleries on three continents. Shortly after arriving in Brooklyn from the UK, ruby bagged a position as the Director of Education at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts (MoCADA) where the opportunity to mingle with a new, creative community felt invigorating. Though the US location worked well, there remained a strong pull towards Nigeria. A concrete opportunity to ‘return home’ came in 2012 when ruby was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholarship to join the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria. “It provided me with an opportunity to go there as an artist; to live, and create, and just be present,” she recalls. This sensibility seeps into her chosen field, drawing. It’s a fertile activity that she loves, although “love isn’t even the right word” she says. “I am consumed. All I want to do now is draw, read about drawing, talk about drawing and teach people to believe in the ways in which they draw.” Her vision is to see more artists of African descent claim the medium of drawing, is being realised in an exhibition she curated at MoCADA. Six Draughtsmen runs until April 2014 and features the drawings of six women artists of Nigerian heritage. ruby believes that drawing in Nigeria is considered a preparatory act, a means to an end, with few artists thinking about drawing as a finished medium, let alone their primary medium, despite it having an undeniable history in Nigeria. Also coming up for her in May 2014 is an inclusion at London’s Tiwani Contemporary gallery as part of a drawing exhibition. “It tells me I’m on the right path,” she says, adding in the fact that the Tiwani showcase will also be a special moment, as she grew up in the UK. rubyamanze.com, mocada.org and tiwani.co.uk Country By Country Anshu Bahanda, founder of London gallery Aabru Art, helped to put Nigerian art on the international map. Spring 2014 sees her mission expand across West Africa When Anshu Bahanda talks about West African art, her enthusiasm is palpable. Speaking with her at her West London office, we’re surrounded by the high-quality work of Nigerian artists including Edosa Egiugo, Alex Nwokolo, Kolade Oshinowo, Tayo Quaye and Fidelis Odogwu whose sculptural pieces tap into themes of urbanisation. This is essentially the HQ of Aabru, the artists’ development, marketing and consulting company that she founded three years ago, supported by an advisory committee that includes people from the banking world and the arts. Originally from a banking background herself, Anshu often took trips to Nigeria with her husband. Her subsequent acquisitions of Nigerian pieces were admired by friends who visited her home in London. Once they themselves started ordering art through her, a pattern of regular payments to artists soon developed. From there, both parties started encouraging her to take the world of buying, displaying and representing artists seriously. However, back then, the reaction was slightly different from some of those who were invested in the mainstream art world. Anshu: “I’ll never forget one gallerist who I know well, and who has a reputable gallery. When I told him about African art he just looked away and walked off. I remember thinking to myself, ‘what was that reaction?’ But, when you believe in something, you just know it’s the right thing to do.” Her fundamental aim is to take African artists onto the international stage, and although her learning curve has been huge, it’s also been a welcome baptism by fire. The Aabru mission is to delve slowly into the different countries within West Africa. Anshu: “There’s a lot of interesting art coming out of there. In terms of sales I think Nigerian art does well because the buying power is there”. There’s another, even deeper sense of responsibility behind the Aabru vision, and that’s one of legacy. “This is what I try to explain to a lot of the African corporates,” Anshu explains. “All of this work is like a historical categorisation of what’s going on, but it’s also a case of thinking about what you want to leave for your children.” For now, Aabru’s energy is geared towards a series of high profile West African art, cultural and business events taking place from February to May 2014 including the ‘Africa Now’ auction at Bonhams. The schedule also comprises the second Transcending Boundaries series. This, and plans to showcase the artists’ work in Paris and New York mean that Aabru is all set to be a steadily growing and constantly exciting organisation to watch. Artworks are available to view by appointment. aabruart.com and mallgalleries.org.uk   Music AfrikTunes Featuring tunes from the likes of P Square, 2Face, Banky W, plus up-and-coming acts, AfrikTunes also offers the option for listeners to create up to four custom stations for personal playlists. Available on iTunes This is Africa 24/7 music is downloadable for iPhone or Android delivering the latest tunes from around the continent, as well as a focus on Kenyan music and news from Ghetto Radio Nairobi. An African Classics Radio channel will also take you back to the [...]

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01_reviews_art

The rise of Nigerian art, a coffee table tome of South African history, and the SONY World Photography Awards — things to inspire you from March to May, and beyond…

Words Nana Ocran

Art

Displaced Gem

Wings meets rising star, Nigerian born, British raised and Brooklyn based artist ruby onyinyechi amanze (sic).

“I have met so many people who are from elsewhere,” says curator and artist ruby onyinyechi amanze, “people who are hybrids like me and understand the complexities of cultural identity. I wanted to articulate some of the stories of my journey through the lens of an alter ego.”

ruby refers to her illustrated character, ada the alien, borne from a feeling of disconnection, which she felt while visiting Nigeria recently. The Ada character ties in with ruby’s challenge of being treated as an outsider, despite the excitement at being in her country of birth.
Disconnection and other themes of ruby’s work are resonating with galleries on three continents.

Shortly after arriving in Brooklyn from the UK, ruby bagged a position as the Director of Education at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts (MoCADA) where the opportunity to mingle with a new, creative community felt invigorating. Though the US location worked well, there remained a strong pull towards Nigeria. A concrete opportunity to ‘return home’ came in 2012 when ruby was awarded a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholarship to join the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria.

“It provided me with an opportunity to go there as an artist; to live, and create, and just be present,” she recalls.

This sensibility seeps into her chosen field, drawing. It’s a fertile activity that she loves, although “love isn’t even the right word” she says. “I am consumed. All I want to do now is draw, read about drawing, talk about drawing and teach people to believe in the ways in which they draw.”

Her vision is to see more artists of African descent claim the medium of drawing, is being realised in an exhibition she curated at MoCADA. Six Draughtsmen runs until April 2014 and features the drawings of six women artists of Nigerian heritage.

ruby believes that drawing in Nigeria is considered a preparatory act, a means to an end, with few artists thinking about drawing as a finished medium, let alone their primary medium, despite it having an undeniable history in Nigeria.

Also coming up for her in May 2014 is an inclusion at London’s Tiwani Contemporary gallery as part of a drawing exhibition. “It tells me I’m on the right path,” she says, adding in the fact that the Tiwani showcase will also be a special moment, as she grew up in the UK.
rubyamanze.com, mocada.org and tiwani.co.uk

Country By Country

Anshu Bahanda, founder of London gallery Aabru Art, helped to put Nigerian art on the international map. Spring 2014 sees her mission expand across West Africa

When Anshu Bahanda talks about West African art, her enthusiasm is palpable. Speaking with her at her West London office, we’re surrounded by the high-quality work of Nigerian artists including Edosa Egiugo, Alex Nwokolo, Kolade Oshinowo, Tayo Quaye and Fidelis Odogwu whose sculptural pieces tap into themes of urbanisation. This is essentially the HQ of Aabru, the artists’ development, marketing and consulting company that she founded three years ago, supported by an advisory committee that includes people from the banking world and the arts.

Originally from a banking background herself, Anshu often took trips to Nigeria with her husband. Her subsequent acquisitions of Nigerian pieces were admired by friends who visited her home in London. Once they themselves started ordering art through her, a pattern of regular payments to artists soon developed. From there, both parties started encouraging her to take the world of buying, displaying and representing artists seriously.
However, back then, the reaction was slightly different from some of those who were invested in the mainstream art world.

Anshu: “I’ll never forget one gallerist who I know well, and who has a reputable gallery. When I told him about African art he just looked away and walked off. I remember thinking to myself, ‘what was that reaction?’ But, when you believe in something, you just know it’s the right thing to do.”

Her fundamental aim is to take African artists onto the international stage, and although her learning curve has been huge, it’s also been a welcome baptism by fire.
The Aabru mission is to delve slowly into the different countries within West Africa.
Anshu: “There’s a lot of interesting art coming out of there. In terms of sales I think Nigerian art does well because the buying power is there”.

There’s another, even deeper sense of responsibility behind the Aabru vision, and that’s one of legacy. “This is what I try to explain to a lot of the African corporates,” Anshu explains. “All of this work is like a historical categorisation of what’s going on, but it’s also a case of thinking about what you want to leave for your children.”

For now, Aabru’s energy is geared towards a series of high profile West African art, cultural and business events taking place from February to May 2014 including the ‘Africa Now’ auction at Bonhams. The schedule also comprises the second Transcending Boundaries series.

This, and plans to showcase the artists’ work in Paris and New York mean that Aabru is all set to be a steadily growing and constantly exciting organisation to watch. Artworks are available to view by appointment.
aabruart.com and mallgalleries.org.uk

 

Music

AfrikTunes

Featuring tunes from the likes of P Square, 2Face, Banky W, plus up-and-coming acts, AfrikTunes also offers the option for listeners to create up to four custom stations for personal playlists.
Available on iTunes

This is Africa

24/7 music is downloadable for iPhone or Android delivering the latest tunes from around the continent, as well as a focus on Kenyan music and news from Ghetto Radio Nairobi. An African Classics Radio channel will also take you back to the 70s and 80s.
Available on iTunes

Afrik Lounge

Broadcast from the 24/7 Afrika Lounge Radio station in the US, the station is available in video format and features live interviews with artists such as Femi Kuti and Tiwa Works as well as music videos from some of Africa’s biggest acts.
afrikloungeradio.blog.com

Underdarock

Straight out of NYC, DJs Fresh, BackBr3aka, Afoo, Soul Selector, and a host of others, drop a mixture of Nigerian hip-hop, Afrobeats and conversation throughout the week.
Available on iTunes

01_reviews_books

BOOK

Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life

Back in September 2012, the International Centre of Photography in New York hosted a three-month exhibition, Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life. From this, came a catalogue of the same name.
A weighty, and gorgeously-produced, hardback collection of images, this publication will take you on a labyrinthine journey through the establishment of the apartheid system and the various types of resistance to it. Images of everyday life span from 1948, all the way to the government’s formal declaration of the dismantling of apartheid in 1990.
This period ultimately includes Nelson Mandela’s subsequent release from prison, his presidency in 1994, and life for South Africans beyond ‘legalised’ segregation. The shots are almost exclusively caught by South African photographers, with each section of the book divided into specific decades.
Images capture everything from the mundane to the shocking, with each chapter interwoven with absorbing essays. Curator Okwui Enwezor put together both the book and the New York exhibition, along with art historian and critic Rory Bester. Their selections provide a social and political map of lives that were almost surreal in their severity, as well as being almost normal in their everydayness.
Resistance movements from township youths or the silent, political Black Sash organisation of middle class women are documented, as are iconic images of a smiling and suited, or traditionally-dressed, pre-prison Mandela.
The black jazz scene of the 1950s gives way to the globally-recognised images of Sharpeville of the 1960s and the lesser-known Cape Town nightlife of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The tone of tension and defiance runs through almost each one of the book’s 539 pages, and it seems significant that one of the early essays makes reference to the fact that the body language of protest went from individuals showing thumbs up signs at early 20th century rallies, to raised fists by the 1980s and beyond. This is a book that’s well worth acquiring.
Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life is published by Prestel Publishing Limited and available on Amazon.
Prestel.com, Amazon.com

Photography

Lens Fest
SONY World Photography Awards 2014 is the biggest ever edition

A dazzling snapshot of a Nigerian wedding in full swing — a glittering display of familial status  — contrasts with a sombre portait of a rural Mursi woman in the Omo Valley. A lion embraces a cat, a girl appears bored at a beauty pagaent and striking conceptual photographs invite the viewer to peer closer.

These are some of the shortlisted images submitted by photographers all over the world for the seventh annual SONY World Photography Awards, a major event in London’s Spring Calender that recognises submissions in categories ranging from Architecture and Portraiture to Current Events and Travel photography .

Photographers from 166 countries submitted nearly 140,000 images, the highest number of entries in the awards’ history. From the submissions the judges have selected an eclectic shortlist representing the very finest in international contemporary photography from the past 12 months.

The judges found within the submissions many stories which force the viewer to find something surprising within the everyday. Well-documented scenes are approached with fresh and ground-breaking photography styles and are set to inspire other photographers around the world.

W.M Hunt, Chair of the Honorary Jury, said that the judges — leading figures from the world’s major news outlets and galleries — are a “soulful and hardworking group” who have given both emerging and established photographers a global platform on which they can be highlighted and celebrated.

To this Astrid Merget, Creative Director of the World Photography Organisation, also adds, “I have had the pleasure of witnessing the careful selection and ultimate revelation of the shortlist for seven years now and the results are never less than utterly gratifying. This year is no exception and the awards have once again provided us with an impressive collection of photographs, spanning dozens of genres, styles, locations and subject matters.”
An impressive selection of images will go on show at Somerset House, London from 1–18 May. Tickets are available from the website.
worldphoto.org/2014exhibition

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What’s on and when at Arik Air destinations http://arikwings.com/?p=3390 http://arikwings.com/?p=3390#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:51:45 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3390 Wildlife Photographer Of The Year When Runs until March 23 Where London The viewer locks eyes with a young lion, lies ringside while two huge leopards battle, and tosses and turns with a school of fish, colours and life swirling around. The best photography shows perspectives that the human eye can’t normally see, and offers a glimpse into worlds unknown. Nowhere is this truer than at the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition, which premieres at the Natural History Museum every year; and this year, attracted 43,000 entries from 96 countries. This year’s overall winning photograph by South African Greg du Toit is a heart-stopping portrait of elephants in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, which brings all the mystery and glory of these giants to life in one incredible image. Awards are in 15 separate categories, in addition to special commendations for young photographers, all of whom have talent way beyond their years. One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibition is the story accompanying each photo — descriptions of the remarkable conditions each photographer went through to get their shot, from remaining motionless for hours in treetops, stalking through the savannah, to diving into freezing water. These stories are expanded upon brilliantly at the free daytime talks that accompany the exhibition, where world-class photographers share their advice and reveal the challenges of working in the field. Admission to the exhibit is £12, with tickets available online or at the Natural History Museum entrance hall from 10am to 5pm. nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/wpy   Live On The Terrace In Accra When Every Tuesday Where Accra Soulful and sophisticated, this weekly performance series will see you kicking back with a cocktail and experiencing the best of Accra’s burgeoning arts scene. Every Tuesday, artists hold talks with the audience at award-winning boutique hotel Villa Monticello. On the last Tuesday of every month, participants have the chance to join Accra’s top musicians, comedians, performance artists, and spoken-word talent at the Open Mic Night. Take advantage of the Terrace Bar’s happy hour, which fortuitously coincides with the first hour of Live on the Terrace, and the on-site 1A Restaurant, which dishes up excellent food. Live on the Terrace is held from 7-9pm at the Terrace Bar, Villa Monticello, Mankata Avenue link, Accra. villamonticello.com Dak’Art 2014 When 9 May—8 June Where Dakar Dakar has always had one of the most vibrant and vital arts scenes on the continent, reflected by the quality and creativity of the artwork on display at Dak’Art, a major contemporary exhibition held every two years.  This year, two newly appointed curators are focusing on the works of both emerging and established artists who have never before been part of the biennale. The contemporary African and arts scene has never been more robust, with works from every medium on display, from traditional techniques to ground-breaking digital art, and artists holding discussions and workshops around this year’s theme for the biennale, ‘Producing The Common’, will link politics and aesthetics. www.dakart.org and biennaledakar.org Tribeca Film Festival When April 16—27 Where New York Famously founded in 2002 by the most ‘New York’ of New York actors, Robert de Niro, and two of his friends, the Tribeca Film Festival has an international feel to it, with a multitude of independent documentaries, narrative features, and shorts from over 80 countries shown. Its mission is to enable people to experience the power of film, but it goes beyond that, enabling a meeting of creative minds with panel discussions in the world of film and music, a music lounge, and the Artists Awards program in which emerging artists produce original works of art that are given to the filmmaker winners. Other awards are given to Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor and Actress, Best Documentary, Best Narrative and Documentary Shorts, and the Student Visionary Award. Venues include theatres throughout Tribeca and the rest of New York City. tribecafilm.com/festival World Economic Forum Africa When May 7—9 Where Abuja This year’s World Economic Forum on Africa is set in Abuja. Bringing together regional and global leaders and attracting business people and politicians from around the world, discussions will revolve around this year’s theme, ‘Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs.’ Discussions also include structural reforms, investment, and the challenges of utilising natural wealth in ways that benefit nations as a whole. This is a challenge that Nigeria knows well, with so much of its economic growth connected to its abundance of natural resources. Since the World Economic Forum on Africa was founded 24 years ago, it has only been held outside South Africa on five occasions. That it’s now being held in Abuja is truly a marker that the globe’s leaders and business people are showing great interest in Nigeria’s economy, reflecting the nation’s increasing power and influence on the continent. weforum.org Collective Fashion Market When Every month Where Johannesburg At the beginning of every month, Johannesburg’s hipsters, fashionistas, and design geeks  head to Collective, a pop-up shop founded by the same people who brought us Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. It shares the same alternative vibe, with local designers, jewellery, vintage collections, fabric, furniture, international design, accessories, and homeware all handpicked by famed founder Catherine Corry and her team. It’s more than a shop though – it’s a great way to spend an entire day, with marketgoers sipping on champagne while they browse and sampling delicious morsels from some of the small bakeries and food stalls that are dotted throughout the market. The exact date and venue are revealed right before each month’s event. collective-jhb.com and facebook.com/collectivejhb Spring Into Action Get your trip planning underway with leading events sites at Arik destinations London lecool.com/london Those on the hunt for something a little unusual head to Le Cool’s London site, which lists events and hip places for Londoners and discerning visitors alike. Johannesburg jhblive.com In addition to the live music, theatre, and exhibitions that most event sites feature, this also has a curated list of the best parties in Joburg, reviews, and local news. Accra ghanakey.com Run [...]

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email: greg@gregdutoit.com

Wildlife Photographer Of The Year

When Runs until March 23
Where London
The viewer locks eyes with a young lion, lies ringside while two huge leopards battle, and tosses and turns with a school of fish, colours and life swirling around. The best photography shows perspectives that the human eye can’t normally see, and offers a glimpse into worlds unknown. Nowhere is this truer than at the Wildlife Photographer Of The Year exhibition, which premieres at the Natural History Museum every year; and this year, attracted 43,000 entries from 96 countries. This year’s overall winning photograph by South African Greg du Toit is a heart-stopping portrait of elephants in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, which brings all the mystery and glory of these giants to life in one incredible image.
Awards are in 15 separate categories, in addition to special commendations for young photographers, all of whom have talent way beyond their years.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibition is the story accompanying each photo — descriptions of the remarkable conditions each photographer went through to get their shot, from remaining motionless for hours in treetops, stalking through the savannah, to diving into freezing water. These stories are expanded upon brilliantly at the free daytime talks that accompany the exhibition, where world-class photographers share their advice and reveal the challenges of working in the field.

Admission to the exhibit is £12, with tickets available online or at the Natural History Museum entrance hall from 10am to 5pm.
nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/wpy

 

Live On The Terrace In Accra

When Every Tuesday
Where Accra
Soulful and sophisticated, this weekly performance series will see you kicking back with a cocktail and experiencing the best of Accra’s burgeoning arts scene. Every Tuesday, artists hold talks with the audience at award-winning boutique hotel Villa Monticello. On the last Tuesday of every month, participants have the chance to join Accra’s top musicians, comedians, performance artists, and spoken-word talent at the Open Mic Night. Take advantage of the Terrace Bar’s happy hour, which fortuitously coincides with the first hour of Live on the Terrace, and the on-site 1A Restaurant, which dishes up excellent food.
Live on the Terrace is held from 7-9pm at the Terrace Bar, Villa Monticello, Mankata Avenue link, Accra.
villamonticello.com

01_gallivanter_dakart

Dak’Art 2014

When 9 May—8 June
Where Dakar
Dakar has always had one of the most vibrant and vital arts scenes on the continent, reflected by the quality and creativity of the artwork on display at Dak’Art, a major contemporary exhibition held every two years.  This year, two newly appointed curators are focusing on the works of both emerging and established artists who have never before been part of the biennale. The contemporary African and arts scene has never been more robust, with works from every medium on display, from traditional techniques to ground-breaking digital art, and artists holding discussions and workshops around this year’s theme for the biennale, ‘Producing The Common’, will link politics and aesthetics.
www.dakart.org and biennaledakar.org

Tribeca Film Festival 2005

Tribeca Film Festival

When April 16—27
Where New York
Famously founded in 2002 by the most ‘New York’ of New York actors, Robert de Niro, and two of his friends, the Tribeca Film Festival has an international feel to it, with a multitude of independent documentaries, narrative features, and shorts from over 80 countries shown. Its mission is to enable people to experience the power of film, but it goes beyond that, enabling a meeting of creative minds with panel discussions in the world of film and music, a music lounge, and the Artists Awards program in which emerging artists produce original works of art that are given to the filmmaker winners. Other awards are given to Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor and Actress, Best Documentary, Best Narrative and Documentary Shorts, and the Student Visionary Award.

Venues include theatres throughout Tribeca and the rest of New York City.
tribecafilm.com/festival

'The G-8 and Africa: Rhetoric or Action?': William J. Clinton; William H. Gates III; Thabo Mbeki; Tony Blair; Bono; Olusegun Obasanjo

World Economic Forum Africa

When May 7—9
Where Abuja
This year’s World Economic Forum on Africa is set in Abuja. Bringing together regional and global leaders and attracting business people and politicians from around the world, discussions will revolve around this year’s theme, ‘Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs.’ Discussions also include structural reforms, investment, and the challenges of utilising natural wealth in ways that benefit nations as a whole. This is a challenge that Nigeria knows well, with so much of its economic growth connected to its abundance of natural resources.
Since the World Economic Forum on Africa was founded 24 years ago, it has only been held outside South Africa on five occasions. That it’s now being held in Abuja is truly a marker that the globe’s leaders and business people are showing great interest in Nigeria’s economy, reflecting the nation’s increasing power and influence on the continent.
weforum.org

05_gallivanter_fashion

Collective Fashion Market

When Every month
Where Johannesburg
At the beginning of every month, Johannesburg’s hipsters, fashionistas, and design geeks  head to Collective, a pop-up shop founded by the same people who brought us Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. It shares the same alternative vibe, with local designers, jewellery, vintage collections, fabric, furniture, international design, accessories, and homeware all handpicked by famed founder Catherine Corry and her team. It’s more than a shop though – it’s a great way to spend an entire day, with marketgoers sipping on champagne while they browse and sampling delicious morsels from some of the small bakeries and food stalls that are dotted throughout the market.

The exact date and venue are revealed right before each month’s event.
collective-jhb.com and facebook.com/collectivejhb

Spring Into Action

Get your trip planning underway with leading events sites at Arik destinations

London
lecool.com/london
Those on the hunt for something a little unusual head to Le Cool’s London site, which lists events and hip places for Londoners and discerning visitors alike.

Johannesburg
jhblive.com
In addition to the live music, theatre, and exhibitions that most event sites feature, this also has a curated list of the best parties in Joburg, reviews, and local news.

Accra
ghanakey.com
Run by Key magazine, this  site is a virtual compendium of all that’s amazing and current in Accra – and it’s visually beautiful to boot.

Dakar
agendakar.com
This French-language gem  puts great effort into choosing the events people actually want to go to – from parties to classes and exhibitions.

Abuja
goabj.com/events
This site is definitely geared more towards Abuja fun and frolics than sleep-inducing trade shows.

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Travel Trends http://arikwings.com/?p=3387 http://arikwings.com/?p=3387#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:43:45 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3387 Wings’ guide to some of the trends that are set to have an impact — and the tools you can use to help you participate in them, too. Words Emma Forrest The way that we travel has been changing radically over the last few years. Global recession has meant that cash-poor travellers are looking for more economical ways to continue their globetrotting adventures. For a start, they want good-value accommodation. The ITB forecasts that ’sleep cheap’ is the next mega-trend in travel — whether that’s by paying to stay in someone else’s home or checking into a budget boutique hotel — or even paying top dollar to guarantee a really great night’s sleep. The web and social media have enabled travellers to enjoy other cost-cutting travel options by enlisting the services of people living in the places they’re planning to visit; whether that involves paying for a meal in someone’s house or taking a specialist tour with a local. ‘Peer-to-peer’ travel, which connects travellers with like-minded people worldwide, is one of the global travel market’s growth areas, according to the latest Global Trends Report by the World Travel Market. In the process of getting in touch with locals through the internet, travellers are also enjoying one of the great developments of the last few years, which is the search for a truly authentic experience — and what better way to get under the skin of the place you’re in than by getting into a conversation with the people who live there? Travellers want to forge unforgettable memories, so families are holidaying with grandparents, too: and they want to do it in a positive way, without impacting the environment. Cycling holidays are a good way of getting so close to the environment you can smell it. London & New York Living La Vida Local Trend: Peer-to-peer travel Cash-strapped travellers are ‘going local’ as a way of saving money and getting a more authentic experience out of their destination, according to the latest World Travel Market Global Trend Report. Renting someone’s home for a trip — through AirBnB, FlipKey or HouseTrip — or taking a walking tour hosted by homeless people or street artists, is a really nice way of getting an insider’s take on the city. try: Eatwith.com A great meal is a real icebreaker, which is why supper-club site EatWith is such a brilliant idea. You pay a modest rate for a snack or blow-out banquet cooked by a friendly local in their home, and in exchange you learn about them and their city while discovering a neighbourhood that you wouldn’t normally have visited. Not every meal will be Michelin-starred, but most are approved by EatWith staff or have diner reviews. Prices from £20 in London/$20 in New York. Eatwith.com Johannesburg Big 5 For Little Ones Trend: Safaris for children Traditionally, safari companies have been pretty squeamish about letting toddlers get too near the Big Five. But safaris are increasingly opening up to the whole family, as families want to find experience-led trips suitable for granny and granddad too. Safari specialists including Imagine Africa and AndBeyond have answered an increase in demand for family-friendly safaris by offering shorter game drives and kid-friendly activities. Try: Safari in South Africa When they go to bed at an AndBeyond lodge, your child will find a note about the following day’s adventure on their pillow: according to their age they could be tracking, fishing, baking or crafting bows and arrows. They’ll also be given a WILDchild backpack with a scrapbook to document their expeditions. Rates start at ZAR 16,590 per night for a six-night stay in a family suite at Ngala Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park. andbeyond.com London & New York Boutique Goes Budget Trend: ‘Affordable luxury’ hotels You don’t have to slum it if you’re on a budget, as a wave of new ‘affordable luxury’ hotels open their doors. These stylish hotels cut down on room rate by reducing non-essential amenities. The rooms are well-appointed but modestly sized, and the public areas are large and welcoming. These spaces look like trendy nightclubs, with designer sofas and artwork by local artists, inviting guests to mingle and hang out by night, and organise meetings and work during the day. QBic and Starwood’s Aloft chain have already proved a success, and Marriott Hotels launches Moxy, its answer to the cheap boutique trend, this year. Try: A room at Citizen M Try out the trend by taking a room at one of Citizen M’s stylish and inexpensive hotels. The chain includes a hip hotel on London’s Bankside, and a new hotel in New York that opened this spring. Room rates start from £109/$199. Citizenm.com London On Your Bike Trend: Cycling holidays Bike sales are going through the roof as more and more people choose cycling as a healthier, cheaper, more eco-friendly way to commute, and to travel on holiday. Specialist bike tour operators are reporting record numbers of bookings for cycling holidays — according to VisitEngland, the market is growing by up to 15 per cent every year, and is set to be worth £3billion by 2015. Meanwhile, £160million is being invested in cycle-proofing Britain’s roads, and National Parks are investing £12million in cycle paths. A cycling holiday is healthy, sustainable and scores high on the ‘experience-led’ holiday factor, getting you to places you could never access in a car, what’s not to like? Try: Montague Crosstown Bike Montague builds full-size bikes that fold, so they’re compact but just as comfortable as a regular bike, whether you’re pedalling around a city or in the countryside. Try the Swissbike X50, from £599, montaguefoldingbike.co.uk All Destinations Better snooze in the news Trend: Hotels that improve guests’ sleep It’s great having free WiFi and posh shampoo, but frankly, what you really want from a hotel room is a great night’s sleep. Hotels are addressing this fundamental need in a myriad of ways by offering everything from in-room spa experiences and special ambient soundtracks to pillow menus and turn-down chocolates, [...]

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Eat With ; Hummus Brunch with Naama Shefi & Noam Bonnie ; Photo By: Eilon Paz

Wings’ guide to some of the trends that are set to have an impact — and the tools you can use to help you participate in them, too.

Words Emma Forrest

The way that we travel has been changing radically over the last few years. Global recession has meant that cash-poor travellers are looking for more economical ways to continue their globetrotting adventures.

For a start, they want good-value accommodation. The ITB forecasts that ’sleep cheap’ is the next mega-trend in travel — whether that’s by paying to stay in someone else’s home or checking into a budget boutique hotel — or even paying top dollar to guarantee a really great night’s sleep.

The web and social media have enabled travellers to enjoy other cost-cutting travel options by enlisting the services of people living in the places they’re planning to visit; whether that involves paying for a meal in someone’s house or taking a specialist tour with a local. ‘Peer-to-peer’ travel, which connects travellers with like-minded people worldwide, is one of the global travel market’s growth areas, according to the latest Global Trends Report by the World Travel Market.

In the process of getting in touch with locals through the internet, travellers are also enjoying one of the great developments of the last few years, which is the search for a truly authentic experience — and what better way to get under the skin of the place you’re in than by getting into a conversation with the people who live there?

Travellers want to forge unforgettable memories, so families are holidaying with grandparents, too: and they want to do it in a positive way, without impacting the environment. Cycling holidays are a good way of getting so close to the environment you can smell it.

London & New York

Living La Vida Local
Trend: Peer-to-peer travel

Cash-strapped travellers are ‘going local’ as a way of saving money and getting a more authentic experience out of their destination, according to the latest World Travel Market Global Trend Report. Renting someone’s home for a trip — through AirBnB, FlipKey or HouseTrip — or taking a walking tour hosted by homeless people or street artists, is a really nice way of getting an insider’s take on the city.

try: Eatwith.com
A great meal is a real icebreaker, which is why supper-club site EatWith is such a brilliant idea. You pay a modest rate for a snack or blow-out banquet cooked by a friendly local in their home, and in exchange you learn about them and their city while discovering a neighbourhood that you wouldn’t normally have visited. Not every meal will be Michelin-starred, but most are approved by EatWith staff or have diner reviews. Prices from £20 in London/$20 in New York.
Eatwith.com

South Africa

Johannesburg

Big 5 For Little Ones
Trend: Safaris for children

Traditionally, safari companies have been pretty squeamish about letting toddlers get too near the Big Five. But safaris are increasingly opening up to the whole family, as families want to find experience-led trips suitable for granny and granddad too. Safari specialists including Imagine Africa and AndBeyond have answered an increase in demand for family-friendly safaris by offering shorter game drives and kid-friendly activities.

Try: Safari in South Africa
When they go to bed at an AndBeyond lodge, your child will find a note about the following day’s adventure on their pillow: according to their age they could be tracking, fishing, baking or crafting bows and arrows. They’ll also be given a WILDchild backpack with a scrapbook to document their expeditions. Rates start at ZAR 16,590 per night for a six-night stay in a family suite at Ngala Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park.
andbeyond.com

03_s1a_London_NYC

London & New York

Boutique Goes Budget
Trend: ‘Affordable luxury’ hotels

You don’t have to slum it if you’re on a budget, as a wave of new ‘affordable luxury’ hotels open their doors. These stylish hotels cut down on room rate by reducing non-essential amenities. The rooms are well-appointed but modestly sized, and the public areas are large and welcoming. These spaces look like trendy nightclubs, with designer sofas and artwork by local artists, inviting guests to mingle and hang out by night, and organise meetings and work during the day. QBic and Starwood’s Aloft chain have already proved a success, and Marriott Hotels launches Moxy, its answer to the cheap boutique trend, this year.

Try: A room at Citizen M
Try out the trend by taking a room at one of Citizen M’s stylish and inexpensive hotels. The chain includes a hip hotel on London’s Bankside, and a new hotel in New York that opened this spring.
Room rates start from £109/$199.
Citizenm.com

04_s1a_London

London

On Your Bike
Trend: Cycling holidays

Bike sales are going through the roof as more and more people choose cycling as a healthier, cheaper, more eco-friendly way to commute, and to travel on holiday. Specialist bike tour operators are reporting record numbers of bookings for cycling holidays — according to VisitEngland, the market is growing by up to 15 per cent every year, and is set to be worth £3billion by 2015. Meanwhile, £160million is being invested in cycle-proofing Britain’s roads, and National Parks are investing £12million in cycle paths. A cycling holiday is healthy, sustainable and scores high on the ‘experience-led’ holiday factor, getting you to places you could never access in a car, what’s not to like?

Try: Montague Crosstown Bike
Montague builds full-size bikes that fold, so they’re compact but just as comfortable as a regular bike, whether you’re pedalling around a city or in the countryside. Try the Swissbike X50, from £599,
montaguefoldingbike.co.uk

05_s1a_all

All Destinations

Better snooze in the news
Trend: Hotels that improve guests’ sleep

It’s great having free WiFi and posh shampoo, but frankly, what you really want from a hotel room is a great night’s sleep. Hotels are addressing this fundamental need in a myriad of ways by offering everything from in-room spa experiences and special ambient soundtracks to pillow menus and turn-down chocolates, which contain a special ingredient: sleep-inducing melatonin.

Try Withings Aura Smart Sleep System
Take the Aura with you, and you’ll get a good night’s sleep whichever hotel you check in to.
This high-tech sleep system includes an under-mattress pad to monitor your sleep pattern and a bedside light to check temperature and noise and light levels in your room. The data is used to customise coloured lights and soothing sounds that will optimise your slumber, helping you relax into a deep sleep then rouse gently in the morning, whether you’re fighting jet lag or taking a power nap. It also works as an alarm clock, lamp, speaker and phone charger.
£299, withings.com

Cleverley Shoes www.jamesbedford.com

Truly Unique Chic

Customisation might give you the chance to make your mark on a T-shirt, but true luxury lies in bespoke — a satisfying process that allows you to invest in a unique item that’s created just for you.

London

Walk A Mile In My…
Shoes: George Cleverley

Wearing a pair of bespoke George Cleverley shoes is a magical experience, from the moment you step back in time into their tiny but elegant little store in The Royal Arcade, off London’s famous Old Bond Street. Place an order and their expert shoemakers will measure and draw the shape of your foot, so they can create a pair of beech wood lasts on which your shoes are made, and discuss materials and style. You’ll wait six months for the first fitting and another three until your shoes are ready. Perfectly tailored to your feet, these exquisite, stylish shoes fit as comfortably as slippers — no wonder the attic room is filled with the lasts of stars from Rudolph Valentino and Sir Winston Churchill to Ralph Lauren, David Beckham, Alexander McQueen and Sir Elton John.

Prices range from £2,800 to £4,800 depending on choice of leather. Subsequent pairs take just six months to complete.
gjcleverley.co.uk

One In A Million
Drawers: David Ebner

Bespoke is the way to go if you want a piece of furniture that makes a real impact in your living room. These drawers were made by New York-based artist David Ebner for a client through Global Bespoke, a site that links people looking for inspiring interior products with artisans from all over the world. Through Global Bespoke, you can order a piece based on something you’ve seen on the site, or something completely unique. The development of each product takes place through ‘meetings’
via the site’s project board.
bespokeglobal.com

Maintain the Flame
Candles: Rachel Vosper

You can transform the mood of your home by lighting a scented candle, and with a bespoke candle, you can set the exact tone. Candlemaker Rachel Vosper creates bespoke candles in her studio in Knightsbridge, using vessels selected by the client and filling them with candlewax scented with a choice of fragrances including jasmine, hellebore, choisya and sage and lemongrass. She can also develop a bespoke fragrance — for a recent commission, she created a scent for a wedding that combined the bride’s love of rose and the groom’s favourite sandalwood and cedar, with a jasmine top note inspired by the moment he proposed. Prices begin from £500.
rachelvosper.com

07_s1a_chic2

NiceShot
Clay pigeon shotgun: Holland And Holland

If your clay pigeon shooting skills aren’t up to scratch, perhaps you just need a bespoke shotgun? Traditional gunmakers Holland And Holland will create a bespoke gun that is specified according to your height, build, shooting style and, of course, your impeccably good taste. Visit one of their showrooms in London or New York and you can choose whether your hand-crafted gun has double or single trigger, the length of barrel, type of grip and pad,
the style of butt-end finish, the engraving on the side and everything in between. But remember, it’s strictly for clay pigeon shooting. Bespoke shotguns take between 18 months and two years to make.
hollandandholland.com

New York Face Time
cosmetics: Giella

Most of us have a signature look when it comes to cosmetics, and if one of your favourite eyeshadow or foundations is discontinued, it can be hard to find exactly the right shade to replace it in your palette. New York cosmetics company Giella is able to recreate your favourite hue, as well as create bespoke colours from scratch. In just minutes, Giella’s make-up artists can custom-blend a foundation or blusher that’s the perfect complement for your complexion, an eye shadow that sets off your eye colour, or a lipstick or nail polish that matches your favourite dress.

From $22 at New York outlets.
giella.com

Like A Glove
Bespoke suits: White Chalk

You don’t have to look like a Wall Street banker if you wear a custom-made suit made by imaginative New York tailors White Chalk. Led by dapper former fashion stylist Creative Director Aaron Black, White Chalk draws on aesthetics from Victorian-era, 1920s or 1970s suiting, to rock stars’ sartorial hits, and translates them into original, stylish and wearable suits using luxurious fabrics from English heritage mills with careful attention paid to details including lapels, cuffs and collars. Even White Chalk’s Mulberry Street shop — where they also sell ready-to-wear and bespoke accessories — with its subway-tiled walls, neon wall art and concept furniture is a welcome alternative to the wood-panelled stores of traditional and hipster tailors.

Bespoke suit pricing start at $3,500.
www.whitechalknyc.com

Everybody Nose
Fragrance Ormonde Jayne

One of the most intimate expressions of your personality is your perfume, so why would you go mass market when you can have a fragrance tailored exactly to you? At luxury perfumery Ormonde Jayne, owner and expert ‘nose’ Lucy Pilkington starts the process of creating a unique scent for you by compiling an in-depth personality and preference analysis that will help inform the scents she suggests. Over the course of six months or more, Pilkington will develop the scent, using her perfume library that boasts exotic and rare oils from all over the world.

From £5,000
ormondejayne.com

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Made-to-Measure http://arikwings.com/?p=3381 http://arikwings.com/?p=3381#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:09:13 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3381 Celebrated British designer Ozwald Boateng OBE is known for crafting exquisite suits. A master of dynamic details, he turns his attention to his biggest project yet, the Made In Africa Foundation. Words Belinda Otas Photography courtesy of Ozwald Boateng On a crisp New York day in September 2013, Ozwald Boateng, his partner, Nigerian business magnate Kola Aluko, rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx stand alongside Africa’s leading philanthropists and businessmen, including Tony Elumelu and Wale Tinubu. The Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF), a foundation co-founded by Ozwald Boateng in 2011 to fund feasibility studies and master plans for infrastructure projects around Africa, is here with The African Development Bank (AFDB) to launch the Africa50 Fund at the NASDAQ stock exchange. The stars are lending their support to the fund’s primary goal — to support transformational and large-scale development and infrastructure projects for roads, railways, ports, and the provision of clean water, electricity and wireless connectivity. The latter, the members believe, is necessary for the renaissance of Africa to occur. The Made In Africa Foundation has introduced a funding mechanism to help successful African businesses to transform their existing investments and prospects and give Africa economic independence through development and infrastructure. According to MIAF, the initiative has the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty. Boateng offers perspective on this economic alchemy: “$400 million of funding for feasibility studies and master plans across sub-Saharan Africa could develop over $100 billion of infrastructure projects, which in turn would create a value of $1 trillion dollars across Africa, increasing GDP by two per cent and lifting 200 million people out of poverty.” Having raised $250 million already, the foundation is looking to raise $500 million dollars. It is Boateng’s belief that once people see this level of investment going into the continent and creating high value in a place perceived as ‘high risk’, investors that are sitting on the fence will rush to focus on Africa. Designer Past 46-year old Ozwald Boateng is English, of Ghanaian descent, and grew up in Muswell Hill, London. He made his name as the youngest (and only) black designer on London’s prestigious Savile Row, distinguished for its exquisite tailoring of men’s suits. Today, he is an established British brand, famed for dressing Hollywood royalty like Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Idris Elba, and sports stars and renowned world leaders in business and politics, including Barack Obama. Boateng’s quest to see Africa’s infrastructure come up to par with that of Western nations stems from a personal experience he had in 2006, when he was invited by John Kufuor, the then-president of Ghana, to organise a fashion show in celebration of Ghana’s 50 years of independence. Boateng arrived with his family, and then spent close to two hours in traffic in a journey that should have taken under 30 minutes. “I just got fed up, and said ‘we have got to change this’,” he recalls. Hence, in 2011, he co-founded the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF) with Kola Aluko, a leading Nigerian entrepreneur, and private upstream oil and gas company Atlantic Energy. Defining A Future Boateng has become increasingly vocal about his African heritage in the last decade, which has been met with scepticism in some quarters. Unfazed by his critics, he feels no need to respond. “The truth is, they are right. I was not involved many years ago. I started my business at 16 years old, and I’m 46 now, so that’s 30 years. Let’s say I have been vocal about Africa for about 10 years. You have got to imagine that when I started my business in the 1980s and early ’90s, I was alone — in every sense. Even on TV, you very rarely saw a black face on (British) television. What I had to do to succeed was to be exceptionally good.” He continues: “Being vocal about Africa and my origins early in my career would have put me in a box. In truth, my only focus then was to establish myself as a credible and respected designer. After I established that position, probably after 20 years, then I was able to communicate more about my culture.” “I felt I had gained enough influence to start doing things in Africa. Without influence, no one is going to listen to you, and so I had to get into position. That’s when I started to really mobilise, and it has taken an enormous amount of my time and commitment.” Africa is on the cusp of accelerated growth, a prospect he says he finds exciting. “It’s time for Africa to celebrate itself and promote itself as an opportunity, as opposed to being a charity case. When I say opportunity: I mean huge business opportunities. Africa can be an example for other parts of the world. And in terms of our development — and in particular our infrastructural development — we are at the beginning.” Sowing The Seeds A few months on from the NASDAQ launch of the Africa50 Fund, in December 2013, the Made In Africa Foundation project took a major step forward. Boateng, CEO Chris Cleverly and David Adjaye, a leading architect of his generation, known for his body of work that includes the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C and the Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo, presented their vision to the Government of Uganda. The foundation’s lead project is the urban regeneration of 160 acres of the Naguru-Nakawa area of Kampala, in line with the MIAF’s purpose to advance major infrastructure projects in Africa. The foundation has provided financial support for completion of master plans and feasibility studies for the project, and this groundwork has helped provide momentum, resulting in the securing of vital private-sector funding for commencement of construction of what will be the largest planned urban redevelopment project ever undertaken in Africa. The Naguru-Nakawa project will eventually provide in excess of 3,500 residential units, a church, school, offices, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and leisure facilities: in short, it can be [...]

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01_boateng

Celebrated British designer Ozwald Boateng OBE is known for crafting exquisite suits. A master of dynamic details, he turns his attention to his biggest project yet, the Made In Africa Foundation.

Words Belinda Otas
Photography courtesy of Ozwald Boateng

On a crisp New York day in September 2013, Ozwald Boateng, his partner, Nigerian business magnate Kola Aluko, rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z and Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx stand alongside Africa’s leading philanthropists and businessmen, including Tony Elumelu and Wale Tinubu. The Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF), a foundation co-founded by Ozwald Boateng in 2011 to fund feasibility studies and master plans for infrastructure projects around Africa, is here with The African Development Bank (AFDB) to launch the Africa50 Fund at the NASDAQ stock exchange.

02_boateng

The stars are lending their support to the fund’s primary goal — to support transformational and large-scale development and infrastructure projects for roads, railways, ports, and the provision of clean water, electricity and wireless connectivity. The latter, the members believe, is necessary for the renaissance of Africa to occur. The Made In Africa Foundation has introduced a funding mechanism to help successful African businesses to transform their existing investments and prospects and give Africa economic independence through development and infrastructure. According to MIAF, the initiative has the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Boateng offers perspective on this economic alchemy: “$400 million of funding for feasibility studies and master plans across sub-Saharan Africa could develop over $100 billion of infrastructure projects, which in turn would create a value of $1 trillion dollars across Africa, increasing GDP by two per cent and lifting 200 million people out of poverty.” Having raised $250 million already, the foundation is looking to raise $500 million dollars. It is Boateng’s belief that once people see this level of investment going into the continent and creating high value in a place perceived as ‘high risk’, investors that are sitting on the fence will rush to focus on Africa.

Designer Past

46-year old Ozwald Boateng is English, of Ghanaian descent, and grew up in Muswell Hill, London. He made his name as the youngest (and only) black designer on London’s prestigious Savile Row, distinguished for its exquisite tailoring of men’s suits. Today, he is an established British brand, famed for dressing Hollywood royalty like Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Idris Elba, and sports stars and renowned world leaders in business and politics, including Barack Obama.

Boateng’s quest to see Africa’s infrastructure come up to par with that of Western nations stems from a personal experience he had in 2006, when he was invited by John Kufuor, the then-president of Ghana, to organise a fashion show in celebration of Ghana’s 50 years of independence.

Boateng arrived with his family, and then spent close to two hours in traffic in a journey that should have taken under 30 minutes. “I just got fed up, and said ‘we have got to change this’,” he recalls. Hence, in 2011, he co-founded the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF) with Kola Aluko, a leading Nigerian entrepreneur, and private upstream oil and gas company Atlantic Energy.

Defining A Future

Boateng has become increasingly vocal about his African heritage in the last decade, which has been met with scepticism in some quarters. Unfazed by his critics, he feels no need to respond. “The truth is, they are right. I was not involved many years ago. I started my business at 16 years old, and I’m 46 now, so that’s 30 years. Let’s say
I have been vocal about Africa for about 10 years. You have got to imagine that when I started my business in the 1980s and early ’90s, I was alone — in every sense. Even on TV, you very rarely saw a black face on (British) television. What I had to do to succeed was to be exceptionally good.”
He continues: “Being vocal about Africa and my origins early in my career would have put me in a box. In truth, my only focus then was to establish myself as a credible and respected designer. After I established that position, probably after 20 years, then I was able to communicate more about my culture.”

“I felt I had gained enough influence to start doing things in Africa. Without influence, no one is going to listen to you, and so I had to get into position. That’s when I started to really mobilise, and it has taken an enormous amount of my time and commitment.”
Africa is on the cusp of accelerated growth, a prospect he says he finds exciting. “It’s time for Africa to celebrate itself and promote itself as an opportunity, as opposed to being a charity case. When I say opportunity: I mean huge business opportunities. Africa can be
an example for other parts of the world. And in terms of our development — and in particular our infrastructural development — we are at the beginning.”

Sowing The Seeds

A few months on from the NASDAQ launch of the Africa50 Fund, in December 2013, the Made In Africa Foundation project took a major step forward. Boateng, CEO Chris Cleverly and David Adjaye, a leading architect of his generation, known for his body of work that includes the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C and the Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo, presented their vision to the Government of Uganda.

The foundation’s lead project is the urban regeneration of 160 acres of the Naguru-Nakawa area of Kampala, in line with the MIAF’s purpose to advance major infrastructure projects in Africa. The foundation has provided financial support for completion of master plans and feasibility studies for the project, and this groundwork has helped provide momentum, resulting in the securing of vital private-sector funding for commencement of construction of what will be the largest planned urban redevelopment project ever undertaken in Africa.
The Naguru-Nakawa project will eventually provide in excess of 3,500 residential units, a church, school, offices, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and leisure facilities: in short, it can be viewed as a satellite town, and one that will provide a model which can then be replicated across Africa.

Strong Foundations

According to economics authority the McKinsey Global Institute, Africa is the world’s second-fastest growing region.

At its heart is an engine of growth: a two-trillion-dollar economy, with a third of its 54 nations seeing annual GDP rises of more than six percent. Among the fastest growing economies globally, six are based in Africa. Mobile technology continues to grow and innovation is taking centre stage, from Nigeria to South Africa. Plus, 60 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land is in Africa, holding a well of natural resources that is still in abundance on the continent. According to the Harvard Business Review, Africa will soon have the largest workforce in the world. However, one key factor is missing in this equation — the infrastructure to make Africa’s global economic growth a reality that is sustainable.
It is this need that is fuelling the collaboration between MIAF and the AFDB, which Boateng says is vital to making a project of this magnitude successful. Such a partnership is required to co-manage and market initiatives, which will catalyse funding for the largest infrastructure delivery vehicle created to date.

“Africans have an amazing ability to achieve in the most unimaginable conditions,” says Boateng. “If you look at the interest rate you get charged by banks, the lack of infrastructure, and the fact that we have no power, we only do seven per cent of trade in Africa internally among ourselves, whereas with everyone else, it’s 60 to 70 per cent, and we are still growing at seven per cent. When you know these things, you know that if you will just give Africans a little more than what they have today, God only knows what can be achieved. Africa has been held back by lack of infrastructure and we need to change that.”

Investing In Young People

While infrastructure obviously has Boateng’s undivided attention, it’s not the only area where he envisions change: he is equally vested in the potential of Africa’s youth. As national governments struggle with ways to engage its young populations, Boateng reveals plans to take on a series of events targeted at youth across the continent in 2014, hoping to inspire them in the same way he was inspired as a young man. At a time when the unemployment numbers among young people in countries like South Africa and Nigeria are above 50 per cent — in South Africa, it is reported that 70 per cent of those under 35 are unemployed — Boateng admits it is not a great picture. “It’s absolutely key to inspire young people. When you are young, you want to know that you can make a difference. We have got to show them examples of heroes that they can strive towards. The first step is that we have to let them know what the future looks like, and their role in that future. To understand your purpose, you have to feel that you are part of something.”

Recognising the power of influence, Boateng believes the diaspora has a vital role to play in communicating the business case for Africa, and changing the perceptions on a global scale. “There are Africans all over the world — even in Iceland. There is no part of the globe that the diaspora is not touching. We have a significant role to play in Africa’s future. We know what is great about being in Europe or the USA, and what’s not so great.”
He goes on to conclude: “This is why I believe we can inspire young people. We want to say, ‘the solution is actually to stay where you are, because it’s going to be great’. We have to take the know-how that we have here, share and help it develop.”
In the meantime, Boateng is optimistic about the future. He believes better infrastructure will be revolutionary. “This can only mean one thing,” he says. “Greater connectivity.”

Building Blocks

Voices that inspired the Made In Africa Foundation

“The Twentieth Century is Africa’s. This decade is the decade of African Independence. Independence now. Tomorrow — The United States of Africa.” Kwame Nkrumah, 1958

“I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.” Kwame Nkrumah, 1958

“I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” Martin Luther King, 1968

“The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.” Nelson Mandela, 1994

“Africa’s future is up to Africans. The people of Africa are ready to claim that future and in my country, African-Americans, including so many recent immigrants, have thrived in every sector of society. We’ve done so despite a difficult past, and we’ve drawn strength from our African heritage. With strong institutions and strong will, I know that Africans can live their dreams.” Barack Obama, 2009

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Space Invaders http://arikwings.com/?p=3378 http://arikwings.com/?p=3378#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:04:59 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3378 Afrofuturism, a cultural movement that has its roots in the USA in the 1950s, has made a considerable impact on global popular culture over the decades. Now African-based creatives are joining the conversation.  Words NANA OCRAN Sun Ra, George Clinton, Mark Dery — these are the American names that are most commonly linked with the idea of afrofuturism. Afrofuturism is defined as an emergent literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of colour but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. First coined by cultural critic Mark Dery in 1993, Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora , encompassing a range of mediums and artists who have a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afro-diasporic experiences. It was jazz musician Sun Ra who as far back as the 1950s started merging his music with thoughts about African Americans making a psychological — if not physical jump — from the reality of the US-based world to the world of space and the historic allure of Egyptology. But what about the links with what’s essentially a US take on futurism and what’s perhaps a more recent movement coming directly from African countries? Perhaps the foundations are different, but the parallels — afro identity, escapism, imagination and storytelling from personal US, African or diasporic points of view — are all there, whichever part of the globe they spring from. For a journey into futuristic thinking, this feature highlights a big time afrofuturism exhibition in Harlem, and looks at a mix of past and present artistic, lyrical, literary and spoken influences that are shaping global popular culture. MUSIC & FASHION P-Funk, Parliament & Funkadelic Some might say that Afrofuturism is a specifically musical genre with a space obsession. If Sun-Ra is the father of all afrofuturistic thinking, with his experimental jazz music, focus on Egyptology and the ever-changing lineup of his Archestra band (from the 1950s to the early 1990s), then George Clinton is surely the don of psychedelic afro-funk movement. His band, P-Funk, Parliament and Funkadelic band collective put out their 1975 album Mothership Connection, which went gold and platinum, with lyrics that name checked ‘Afronaughts’ who funked up the galaxies. Much of their fashion aesthetic kicked off the 1970s and early 1980s stage style of other performers (from Donna Summer to Earth, Wind and Fire) and have found their way into the performances, album covers or wardrobes of everyone from Afrika Bambaata, Missy Elliott, Erykah Badu and Outkast’s Andre 3000 to Janelle Monae. And actually, that’s just stateside. Music producer Lee ‘scratch’ Perry’s pink-haired, interplanetary button-pressing Jamaican twist on outerworldliness also puts the Caribbean’s largest island firmly on the futuristic map. ART BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ Congolese artist Bodys Kingelez has made a huge impact on the international art scene over the last few years with his unique and intriguing cardboard, paper and plastic sculptures of futuristic cities. Based in Kinshasa, he exhibits his work throughout the world and was one of the chosen artists for the 2013 Alternative Guide to the Universe at London’s Hayward Gallery, an almost three-month-long exhibition featuring specifically chosen ‘self-taught architects, fringe physicists and visionary inventors’ who were tasked with providing their own quirky and unorthodox visions of the world we live in. The Hayward site is still worth checking out for the gallery’s archived web pages of sci-fi and future-facing arts and design inspiration — afro or otherwise. BOOKS IAfrofuturism Writer Ytasha L.Womack’s book IAfrofuturism was launched in October 2013 and widens the conversation about the philosophy and ideas behind the movement. Within the pages you’ll find elements of avant-garde, science fiction, black comics, cutting-edge hip-hop and graphic novels. The book is available on Amazon. iafrofuturism.com Space, Interiors and Exteriors Published in 1972, Space, Interiors and Exteriors traces musician Sun Ra’s futuristic influence on painter Ayé Aton through rare photos of him while he was on the set of his film Space is The Place. A true collector’s item, Sun Ra is captured in all his psychedelic glory. coolhunting.com/culture/space-interiors-and-exteriors-1972-sun-ra.php FILM Destination: Planet Negro This satirical film directed by actor Kevin Wilmott revolves around 1930s era scientist George Washington Carver and W.E.B Dubois’s plotting to create a black settlement on Mars. Plans hit the buffers when the travellers go through a time warp and end up in 21st century America. planetnegro.com Space is the Place The big daddy of afrofuturism, Sun Ra made his cult film Space Is the Place in 1972 and saw it released in 1974. The 82-minute film involves Sun Ra landing on a new planet in outerspace with his Arkestra band. He then travels back in time to a Chicago club where he enters into a card duel for the fate of the black race. Catch the whole film at youtube.com Umkhungo (The Gift) Matthew Jankes’s fantasy thriller takes us to the mean streets of Johannesburg where S’bu, a tragically orphaned boy, finds himself forced to use his unique, but misunderstood powers. youtube.com COMIC Captain Kacela As an ode to black women and female roles, US-based Kenyan writer and illustrator Kamau Mshale has put the glowing-green bangled Captain Kacela into the universe. A futuristic space ranger, Kacela is the star of her own comic, which was originally launched in 2009. rangerk.com, deviantart.com WRITERS Octavia Butler No one can (or should) talk about anything afro futuristic without mentioning the work of Octavia Butler. This award-winning science fiction writer is one of the pioneers of afrofuturism with her stories featuring themes of racial and sexual ambiguity. Kindred and Fledgling are just two of her best-known novels, while her Patternist series of short stories, which were first published in the 1980s, still fly off the shelves. NK Jemisin Cultural conflict… oppression. These are the type of themes that find their way into the fantasy and speculative fiction of US writer NK Jemisin [...]

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]]>
01_afro

Afrofuturism, a cultural movement that has its roots in the USA in the 1950s, has made a considerable impact on global popular culture over the decades. Now African-based creatives are joining the conversation. 

Words NANA OCRAN

Sun Ra, George Clinton, Mark Dery — these are the American names that are most commonly linked with the idea of afrofuturism. Afrofuturism is defined as an emergent literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of colour but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. First coined by cultural critic Mark Dery in 1993, Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora , encompassing a range of mediums and artists who have a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afro-diasporic experiences.

It was jazz musician Sun Ra who as far back as the 1950s started merging his music with thoughts about African Americans making a psychological — if not physical jump — from the reality of the US-based world to the world of space and the historic allure of Egyptology. But what about the links with what’s essentially a US take on futurism and what’s perhaps a more recent movement coming directly from African countries?

Perhaps the foundations are different, but the parallels — afro identity, escapism, imagination and storytelling from personal US, African or diasporic points of view — are all there, whichever part of the globe they spring from. For a journey into futuristic thinking, this feature highlights a big time afrofuturism exhibition in Harlem, and looks at a mix of past and present artistic, lyrical, literary and spoken influences that are shaping global popular culture.

MUSIC & FASHION

P-Funk, Parliament & Funkadelic

Some might say that Afrofuturism is a specifically musical genre with a space obsession. If Sun-Ra is the father of all afrofuturistic thinking, with his experimental jazz music, focus on Egyptology and the ever-changing lineup of his Archestra band (from the 1950s to the early 1990s), then George Clinton is surely the don of psychedelic afro-funk movement. His band, P-Funk, Parliament and Funkadelic band collective put out their 1975 album Mothership Connection, which went gold and platinum, with lyrics that name checked ‘Afronaughts’ who funked up the galaxies. Much of their fashion aesthetic kicked off the 1970s and early 1980s stage style of other performers (from Donna Summer to Earth, Wind and Fire) and have found their way into the performances, album covers or wardrobes of everyone from Afrika Bambaata, Missy Elliott, Erykah Badu and Outkast’s Andre 3000 to Janelle Monae. And actually, that’s just stateside. Music producer Lee ‘scratch’ Perry’s pink-haired, interplanetary button-pressing Jamaican twist on outerworldliness also puts the Caribbean’s largest island firmly on the futuristic map.

ART

BODYS ISEK KINGELEZ

Congolese artist Bodys Kingelez has made a huge impact on the international art scene over the last few years with his unique and intriguing cardboard, paper and plastic sculptures of futuristic cities. Based in Kinshasa, he exhibits his work throughout the world and was one of the chosen artists for the 2013 Alternative Guide to the Universe at London’s Hayward Gallery, an almost three-month-long exhibition featuring specifically chosen ‘self-taught architects, fringe physicists and visionary inventors’ who were tasked with providing their own quirky and unorthodox visions of the world we live in. The Hayward site is still worth checking out for the gallery’s archived web pages of sci-fi and future-facing arts and design inspiration — afro or otherwise.

BOOKS

IAfrofuturism

Writer Ytasha L.Womack’s book IAfrofuturism was launched in October 2013 and widens the conversation about the philosophy and ideas behind the movement. Within the pages you’ll find elements of avant-garde, science fiction, black comics, cutting-edge hip-hop and graphic novels. The book is available on Amazon.
iafrofuturism.com

Space, Interiors and Exteriors

Published in 1972, Space, Interiors and Exteriors traces musician Sun Ra’s futuristic influence on painter Ayé Aton through rare photos of him while he was on the set of his film Space is The Place. A true collector’s item, Sun Ra is captured in all his psychedelic glory.
coolhunting.com/culture/space-interiors-and-exteriors-1972-sun-ra.php

FILM

Destination: Planet Negro

This satirical film directed by actor Kevin Wilmott revolves around 1930s era scientist George Washington Carver and W.E.B Dubois’s plotting to create a black settlement on Mars. Plans hit the buffers when the travellers go through a time warp and end up in 21st century America.
planetnegro.com

Space is the Place

The big daddy of afrofuturism, Sun Ra made his cult film Space Is the Place in 1972 and saw it released in 1974. The 82-minute film involves Sun Ra landing on a new planet in outerspace with his Arkestra band. He then travels back in time to a Chicago club where he enters into a card duel for the fate of the black race. Catch the whole film at youtube.com

Umkhungo (The Gift)

Matthew Jankes’s fantasy thriller takes us to the mean streets of Johannesburg where S’bu, a tragically orphaned boy, finds himself forced to use his unique, but misunderstood powers.
youtube.com

COMIC

Captain Kacela

As an ode to black women and female roles, US-based Kenyan writer and illustrator Kamau Mshale has put the glowing-green bangled Captain Kacela into the universe. A futuristic space ranger, Kacela is the star of her own comic, which was originally launched in 2009.
rangerk.com, deviantart.com

WRITERS

Octavia Butler

No one can (or should) talk about anything afro futuristic without mentioning the work of Octavia Butler. This award-winning science fiction writer is one of the pioneers of afrofuturism with her stories featuring themes of racial and sexual ambiguity. Kindred and Fledgling are just two of her best-known novels, while her Patternist series of short stories, which were first published in the 1980s, still fly off the shelves.

NK Jemisin
Cultural conflict… oppression. These are the type of themes that find their way into the fantasy and speculative fiction of US writer NK Jemisin whose books are her personal vehicle for outlining a world in which future science merges with real life and current issues. Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was nominated for the Nebuka award in 2010 and the Hugo and World Fantasy awards in 2011.

02_afro

Photographer
CRISTINA DE MIDDEL
A bit of a Wings favourite when it comes to experimental image making, award-winning photographer CDM’s Afronauts series, featuring her take on a real-life (but aborted) Zambian space mission almost accidentally links with much of what Sun Ra, George Clinton and others used their music and space aged philosophies to place afrofuturists beyond the traditional earth’s borders. Cristina’s playfully experimental images of ‘Afronauts’ are shot fashion shoot style to create her version of what the run up to an African space mission might look like.

Website

Afrofuturist Affair

Perhaps the most comprehensive online resource portal for all things relating to afrofuturism and black science fiction.
afrofuturistaffair.com

Talks

Afrofuturism in popular culture: Wanuri Kahiu at TEDxNairobi

Wanuri Kahiu, director of the Kenyan sci-fi film, Pumzi gives her take on Afrofuturism from a Kenyan and broader African perspective at this 2012 talk during TEDxNairobi.
youtube.com, search: Pumzi

Visual Aesthetics of Afrofuturism: TEDxFortGreeneSalon

IN this 15-minute TEDx talk, curator Ingrid LaFleur talks about afrofuturism and how it relates to her work as a traveler and art adviser in areas of Europe, Africa and South America.
youtube.com

03_afro_boxout

The Shadows Took Shape exhibition

(Studio Museum, Harlem)

From November 2013 to March 2014 The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY showcases a fresh and international take on afrofuturism in The Shadows Took Shape, an exhibition featuring over 60 works by 29 artists, all co-curated by London-based Zoe Whitley and New York based Naima Keith. Over coffee in a London café, Zoe explains how and why the idea for the show came about.

“The idea really started at the end of 2011 in Mexico City,” says Zoe. “At that time I was the curator of contemporary programmes at London’s V&A Museum. I received an email from artist and curator Shuddhabrata Sengupta asking if I wanted to do something on African science fiction or afrofuturism at Mexico’s 10th International Symposium on Contemporary Art Theory.”

This was a chance to tap into some of her past and present futuristic heroes and heroines, one such being Laylah Ali, an African American artist best known for her intricate paintings of aliens called ‘the greenheads.’

“I’d been interested in her work since I was a teenager,” Zoe explains, “I had also looked at a husband and wife collective called Keith and Mandy Obadike. They’re American Nigerian. I was interested in what they were doing in creating soundscapes. There’s also a really young guy who’s getting a lot of attention in the States now, Jacolby Satterwhite. He does these fantastic 3D dances and makes his own costumes, all based on his mother’s voice and drawings.”

In presenting these three clusters of artists’ practice in Mexico, Zoe hooked up with John Jennings, an artist and professor who’s currently illustrating a graphic novel for the 1979 book Kindred, by the science fiction writer Octavia Butler.

“We put together the proposal for the Studio Museum in Harlem,” explains Zoe, “so there’s really been so many people involved. It’s not just my thing. There’s all of the artists taking part, but also lots of developmental and curatorial input, so now in the final framework I’m co-curating the show with Naima Keith.”

The opportunity for these two curators to work together is fortuitous. Although Zoe originally hails from Washington DC and LA, the greater part of her working life has been spent in the UK so she brings a broad international component to the exhibition. Her knowledge of Black British art is extensive, although she adds, “I’m excited about what a lot of Middle Eastern artists are doing, how they’re borrowing from African diaspora strategies.”
There is indeed a good mix of the global and the local within the show. “We’ve got Rammellzee, who’s like a 1980s hip-hop artist who was moving in the same circles as Jean-Michel Basquiat,” says Zoe, “He’s a visual artist and tagger. He made some beats, as well as these really stunning masks and elaborate costumes. He lived in New York all his life and died recently but his work isn’t often seen.”

And what of the African component? With similarities between afrofuturism and the concept of Afro-Sci Fi, it’s interesting to consider how the African continent is being represented in Harlem.

“A lot of what I’ve drawn from the continent has come from Kenya. Sculptural artists like Cyrus Kabiru, Just a Band, filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, video artist Wangechi Mutu but also Tegan Bristow, a really exciting academic from Wits University in Johannesburg. She’s writing about what afrofuturism means for Africa”.

Perhaps the female-gendered curatorial voices of Zoe and Naima also add something playful to the mix?

“People can geek out on the whole afrofuturism thing but there’s so much there’, says Zoe, ‘It can be Patti Labelle in a silver jump suit. I love that. I don’t want to be too serious and overwrought about it. There can be fun elements too.”
The Shadows Took Shape (until 9 March 2014)
studiomuseum.org

The exhibition catalogue features original essays from Naima Keith, Zoe Whitley, Kodwo Eshun and a new interview with critic and science fiction writer Sam Delany by experimental hip-hop musician, DJ Spooky.

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Art and Soul http://arikwings.com/?p=3374 http://arikwings.com/?p=3374#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 20:54:42 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3374 From Lagos to London, Johannesburg to New York, Dakar to Dubai, contemporary African art has garnered a new wave of interest from art enthusiasts, buyers and collectors on both sides of the Atlantic. With it comes a glaring spotlight on the touchy subject of ownership Words Belinda Otas Ghana-born but Nigeria based El Anatsui is regarded as one of the world’s foremost contemporary visual artists. He is renowned for his ‘magisterial tapestry’ creations, made from thousands of aluminium bottle tops and wired together with copper. His larger-than-life wall sculptures have gained plaudits from audiences and critics, and are collected by major international museums and galleries, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and the British museum. When one of his masterworks — an immense woven tapestry of flattened bottle caps, titled New World Map — went under the hammer for a record US$850,544 at prestigious London auction house Bonhams in 2012, the Financial Times declared: “African contemporary art is hot.” Between 2012 and 2013, there was an explosion of contemporary African art on both sides of the Atlantic. We Face Forward: Art From West Africa Today made a bold statement in Manchester, England; London’s prestigious Tate Modern launched a two-year African art programme, acquiring Beninese artist Meschac Gaba’s installation entitled Museum Of Contemporary African Art, and Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi’s A Visionary Modernist, into the bargain. Contemporary art from West Africa has also taken centre stage in the Marker strand at Art Dubai and, back in London, the inaugural 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, named after Africa’s 54 countries became the first showcase of its kind on the international scene. Contemporary African art is positioned alongside art work from emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East at the leading art fairs, galleries and museums around the world. If it’s true that as nations develop and become more economically powerful, their art scene becomes more visible, then countries like Nigeria, Benin Republic, South Africa and Angola are doing for Africa what China and India did for Asia. So what is fuelling this new growth of contemporary art from the continent? Over to Koyo Kouoh, the artistic director of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, is a Cameroonian-born independent curator and cultural producer, and founder and director of Raw Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar. “There’s one major factor, and that’s the fact that there are new kids on the block, who are extremely knowledgeable, dedicated, focused and engaged in the advancement of the African artistic and intellectual creativity. They are engaged cultural workers — artists, curators, writers and critics who are dedicated to the advancement of not only the visibility, but also taking ownership of the initiatives that promote contemporary African culture.” On the other hand, Salimata Diop, an independent art consultant and curator specialising in contemporary art from Africa, sees the emergence of Africa’s economy as the main factor. “There can only be a market when there’s demand, and at last collectors and buyers are considering investing in it, which is making a big difference.” Price Of Admission When 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, founded by Touria El Glaoui, took place in late 2013, she said it was fundamentally “to act as a platform to encourage the support and interest for artistic and cultural African production.” It also ignited a debate on the issues of practices, marketability, visibility and the complexities of ownership. The organisers addressed these topics through a ‘Conversations’ programme, that introduced “an axis of critical dialogue through a thematic series of lectures and panel discussions,” according to Glaoui. They may have been dubbed ‘conversations’, but needless to say, they always ended up in heated and passionate exchanges between curators, artists, art professionals and the audience. Historically, financial success for contemporary art from Africa has been elusive — it’s a trend that is gradually changing, but has raised eyebrows. Some in the art world have questioned the motives behind international buyers and investors being more eager than ever before to invest in contemporary African art. In a 2013, BBC interview, Giles Peppiatt, director of contemporary African art at Bonhams said there had been an “enormous growth” in the number of people buying contemporary African art. “The door has opened, and more institutions and collectors are buying work from the continent.” Pressed to clarify if people were buying the art work for their aesthetic value or simply because they are good investment, he said: “I think it must be a bit of both. You can’t avoid the fact that there is an investment angle, and people do buy for those reasons. We try not to encourage that, because obviously, works of art should be bought for their aesthetic quality. But certainly, in terms of pricing, the pricing point for contemporary African art is relatively low, and that’s one of the reasons a lot of these museums and institutions are buying.” Kouoh takes a different perspective on the rise in investment in contemporary African art by foreign collectors. “I think it’s a bit limiting to think that people who are collectors of art, who acquire art, only acquire it on the basis of the price. One has to respect collectors more, because they are highly educated people, they do their research and they are — first and foremost — driven by passion and love. Money and prices of course plays a role, but I think a lot of collectors are first driven by passion. She adds: “It’s true that contemporary African art is still quite affordable, and this is also true for some other artists in the West or anywhere else. Beyond that, there are quite a few African artists, El Anatsui for instance, who have fetched very high prices on the market, and that doesn’t mean contemporary art is cheap.” A point reinforded by Peppiatt, when he says that more contemporary African art work will break even in price with the work of artists from the West when the artists start [...]

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01_art

From Lagos to London, Johannesburg to New York, Dakar to Dubai, contemporary African art has garnered a new wave of interest from art enthusiasts, buyers and collectors on both sides of the Atlantic. With it comes a glaring spotlight on the touchy subject of ownership

Words Belinda Otas

Ghana-born but Nigeria based El Anatsui is regarded as one of the world’s foremost contemporary visual artists. He is renowned for his ‘magisterial tapestry’ creations, made from thousands of aluminium bottle tops and wired together with copper. His larger-than-life wall sculptures have gained plaudits from audiences and critics, and are collected by major international museums and galleries, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and the British museum.

When one of his masterworks — an immense woven tapestry of flattened bottle caps, titled New World Map — went under the hammer for a record US$850,544 at prestigious London auction house Bonhams in 2012, the Financial Times declared: “African contemporary art is hot.”

Between 2012 and 2013, there was an explosion of contemporary African art on both sides of the Atlantic. We Face Forward: Art From West Africa Today made a bold statement in Manchester, England; London’s prestigious Tate Modern launched a two-year African art programme, acquiring Beninese artist Meschac Gaba’s installation entitled Museum Of Contemporary African Art, and Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi’s A Visionary Modernist, into the bargain. Contemporary art from West Africa has also taken centre stage in the Marker strand at Art Dubai and, back in London, the inaugural 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, named after Africa’s 54 countries became the first showcase of its kind on the international scene.

Contemporary African art is positioned alongside art work from emerging markets like Asia and the Middle East at the leading art fairs, galleries and museums around the world. If it’s true that as nations develop and become more economically powerful, their art scene becomes more visible, then countries like Nigeria, Benin Republic, South Africa and Angola are doing for Africa what China and India did for Asia.

So what is fuelling this new growth of contemporary art from the continent? Over to Koyo Kouoh, the artistic director of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, is a Cameroonian-born independent curator and cultural producer, and founder and director of Raw Material Company, a centre for art, knowledge and society in Dakar.

“There’s one major factor, and that’s the fact that there are new kids on the block, who are extremely knowledgeable, dedicated, focused and engaged in the advancement of the African artistic and intellectual creativity. They are engaged cultural workers — artists, curators, writers and critics who are dedicated to the advancement of not only the visibility, but also taking ownership of the initiatives that promote contemporary African culture.”
On the other hand, Salimata Diop, an independent art consultant and curator specialising in contemporary art from Africa, sees the emergence of Africa’s economy as the main factor. “There can only be a market when there’s demand, and at last collectors and buyers are considering investing in it, which is making a big difference.”

FOUND NOT TAKEN

Price Of Admission

When 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, founded by Touria El Glaoui, took place in late 2013, she said it was fundamentally “to act as a platform to encourage the support and interest for artistic and cultural African production.” It also ignited a debate on the issues of practices, marketability, visibility and the complexities of ownership. The organisers addressed these topics through a ‘Conversations’ programme, that introduced “an axis of critical dialogue through a thematic series of lectures and panel discussions,” according to Glaoui.

They may have been dubbed ‘conversations’, but needless to say, they always ended up in heated and passionate exchanges between curators, artists, art professionals and the audience. Historically, financial success for contemporary art from Africa has been elusive — it’s a trend that is gradually changing, but has raised eyebrows. Some in the art world have questioned the motives behind international buyers and investors being more eager than ever before to invest in contemporary African art.

In a 2013, BBC interview, Giles Peppiatt, director of contemporary African art at Bonhams said there had been an “enormous growth” in the number of people buying contemporary African art. “The door has opened, and more institutions and collectors are buying work from the continent.” Pressed to clarify if people were buying the art work for their aesthetic value or simply because they are good investment, he said: “I think it must be a bit of both. You can’t avoid the fact that there is an investment angle, and people do buy for those reasons. We try not to encourage that, because obviously, works of art should be bought for their aesthetic quality. But certainly, in terms of pricing, the pricing point for contemporary African art is relatively low, and that’s one of the reasons a lot of these museums and institutions are buying.”

Kouoh takes a different perspective on the rise in investment in contemporary African art by foreign collectors. “I think it’s a bit limiting to think that people who are collectors of art, who acquire art, only acquire it on the basis of the price. One has to respect collectors more, because they are highly educated people, they do their research and they are — first and foremost — driven by passion and love. Money and prices of course plays a role, but I think a lot of collectors are first driven by passion.

She adds: “It’s true that contemporary African art is still quite affordable, and this is also true for some other artists in the West or anywhere else. Beyond that, there are quite a few African artists, El Anatsui for instance, who have fetched very high prices on the market, and that doesn’t mean contemporary art is cheap.” A point reinforded by Peppiatt, when he says that more contemporary African art work will break even in price with the work of artists from the West when the artists start to break out of the ‘African artist’ label and gain more prominence on the international stage: like Anatsui, who has successfully made that transition.

Location, Location, Location

The last decade has seen a rise in the number of art professionals taking matters into their own hands, creating spaces which have morphed into visibility platforms for the artists and their work, and subsequently attracting international attention. Lagos alone has the Centre For Contemporary Art, founded by Bisi Silva, Terra Kulture Cultural Centre and Arthouse Contemporary, an auction house founded by Kavita Chellaram. Art galleries like the Stevenson (Cape Town) and Brundyn + Gonsalves (Johannesburg), the Nubuke Foundation (Accra), alongside biennales in Dakar, Benin Republic and the recently launched Kampala Biennale, have become the best way for the artists to make themselves known to the art world. Meanwhile, the FNB Joburg Art Fair, the biggest of its kind on the continent, is creating the market platform.

Equally important to make visibility and marketability a reality for the artists and their work is the strategic factor of location. One of the most obvious questions audiences and critics may have about an art fair like 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair is: why hold it London, instead of inside the continent? Glaoui’s reasoning: “Hosting in London was strategic, as was the decision to coincide the event with Frieze Week (also an art fair) and thus benefit from the presence of collectors and international contemporary art enthusiasts that will be in London during that week.”

Kouoh corroborates her view when she said that one cannot deny the importance of the market in the promotion of contemporary African art, and that where Africa is concerned, the marketability and market credibility is not yet sufficiently established. As such, holding the fair in London was a practical move during a time that sees the flow of art lovers, critics and curators and collectors.

“If you look at the proliferation of art fairs or biennales worldwide, most of them are still centred in the Western hemisphere and other regions are not necessarily included in that, from the perspective of the practitioners of those regions — this particularly true from an African perspective. It was important instead of waiting or instead of waiting on heaven’s door for years and years to be let in to the mainstream, we need to be create our own stream. This is what this fair is for, and since a fair is first and foremost a market, you also go where you can expect potential clients,” she adds.

Marc Stens, curator of the Museum Of Modern Art, Equatorial Guinea, and an exhibitor at 1:54, foresees progress on this front: “The only art fair at the moment in Africa is the Joburg Art Fair. It comes back to who the collectors are, and I think people are only going to do an art fair if they think it’s financially viable. But the reality is, you need people to go to that country. Obviously, Nigeria would be the perfect destination at the moment, because there is so much going on artistically in Nigeria. It has become very powerful, and people are buying into their heritage. I think we will see more art fairs happening throughout the continent in coming years. Besides,” he adds, “London is no bad place to do it. There are an awful lot of people in London from Africa. The reality is it has to come back and benefit Africa.”

03_art

Work In Progress

When all is said and done, these interconnected parts as it concerns and relates to contemporary African art converge on the tricky subject of ownership. It is an area Kouoh sees as complex. She believes the discourse about the ownership of work by artists from the continent as they travel to different parts of the world needs to take into account that: “A fair is a market — a selection of gallery who are there to sell works of art. Secondly, when you think of a market, you have to be as savvy as the street vendor themselves; they go where the clients are. The market for contemporary African art on the continent is not well developed yet. It’s just in its very early stages.”

Though she professes to hate the idea of nationalism, she concedes that, for the moment at least, artists have to be practical. “That it’s not in Africa doesn’t mean it’s not Africa-driven. Africa as an ideal goes way beyond the boundaries of the continent. So it’s a mindset.”
If the artist believes location has no impact on ownership, then it is fair to say contemporary African art is going to continue to travel beyond the shores of the continent in coming years. With Bonhams next sale due in May 2014 and the return of Transcending Boundaries, the UK’s leading West African art exhibition, artists and art practitioners can hope it will all have a transformative and lasting impact, and serve as more than a mere ‘bubble’ phase.

The last word on the contested subject of the ownership of African art should rightfully go to the artists, in this case Soly Cissé, a Senegalese artist whose work was on display during 1:54. “It’s not the continent, nor the artist that determines the quality of the work. It does not change the ownership of the work. Either art is contemporary, or it is not. Whatever the origins of the artist, the object of the assessment will remain the work. Location only matters when there is a precise objective, otherwise it doesn’t matter.”

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Journey to Africa http://arikwings.com/?p=3371 http://arikwings.com/?p=3371#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 20:51:09 +0000 Wings http://arikwings.com/?p=3371 Since the recent release of Oscar-winning film Twelve Years a Slave, a growing number of African Europeans and African Americans are keen to visit historical sites including Ghana’s Elmina Castle and Badagry in Nigeria. Could a Hollywood movie about slavery boost West African tourism?  Words Stefan Simanowitz could only gaze wistfully towards the North, and think of the thousands of miles that stretched between me and the soil of freedom” writes Solomon Northup, in his memoir recounting how he was sold into slavery in Louisiana in 1841. Unlike the twelve million slaves transported to the Americas from Africa, Northup was a free man kidnapped from New York. And yet despite his tale being one of domestic slavery Solomon Northup’s story, graphically told in the Oscar-nominated movie Twelve Years A Slave, is — according to tourism professionals — playing a part in creating a renewed interest in history or ‘roots tourism’ among diasporic black communities, the like of which has not been seen since the television serialisation of Arthur Haley’s 1976 best-selling novel Roots. “Twelve Years A Slave changed my life” African-American Kina Cosper writes in a recent article for Time Magazine. “For the first time, I feel a real need to know. I’ve begun researching us — our history, my history” she says. Cosper’s response is echoed among many “scatterlings of Africa” around the world. Ade Akinboyewa recalls how watching Roots in London in the Seventies had a profound impact on his developing sense of identity and his sense of identity. “It made me realise the extent to which my life had been shaped by slavery” he says. “For the first time something that had always been opaque and unspoken was suddenly made real.” If Twelve Years A Slave has a similar impact on a new generation of African Britons and Americans it could led to a really significant increase in heritage tourism.   ‘Roots tourism’, a subset of the wider category of heritage tourism, has grown in popularity over the past decade as immigrant populations in America, Europe, the Caribbean and Australia have sought to discover where their ancestors originated. Whilst those of European heritage are often able to piece together fragments of their family history through researching public records, the Back-to-Africa model of tracing ones roots only provides at best a “probable point of departure” rather than an exact “point of origin”. It is this lack of precision that has imbued a number of African locations associated with the slave trade with particular significance. Between 1513 and the end of the 19th century when the slave trade ended, some 24 million Africans were shipped to the Americas by English, Portuguese, French and Dutch traders. Between 10 and 20 per cent died on the journey. The major slave trade followed a triangular route: Western Africa then via the notorious Middle Passage to the Caribbean where slaves were sold and raw materials, notably cotton, bought, and finally back to Europe, where the American cotton was sold to textile manufacturers. During a State visit to Ghana in 2009 President Barack Obama made a symbolically important visit with his family to Cape Coast Castle, a fortress used to confine slaves before they were shipped abroad. Although Obama himself has no slave heritage, his wife Michelle is the great-great-great granddaughter of an illiterate field slave from Georgia and a descendant of African slaves. The image of the First Lady gazing over the Atlantic was a powerful one and after their visit, a phenomenon dubbed the Obama-effect saw a sharp rise in trips by African-Americans to the continent. Twelve Years A Slave is already having a similar effect. Black people of African ancestry form about 13% of the American population and in recent years tens of thousands have taken DNA tests in order to trace their ancestral background. A similar phenomenon is happening in Britain. Esther Stanford-Xosei, Co-Vice Chair of the Pan-African Reparation Coalition, did not need a DNA test to trace her roots. She knew that her heritage goes back to Ghana via the Caribbean and a few years ago she became the first member of her family to set foot on in Africa since her ancestors were forced onto slave ships. “It did feel emotional and I did feel a connection” she recalls. “I even did that stereotypical thing of kissing the soil.” However during her stay Stanford-Xosei had mixed feelings about being in Africa. “Rather than getting a warm welcome I felt I was treated like a foreigner” she says. She also does not feel entirely comfortable about the way in which Africa is sometimes marketed to people in the diaspora. “The taste and aesthetics of this marketing is too often done through a European lens” she argues. There are a growing number of events aimed at attracting black people from the African disapora to trace their history. In May 2014 The Gambia will host the 11th edition of the annual Roots International Festival which takes its name from the Alex Haley novel and in Nigeria, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival is a combination of history, art and entertainment. The International African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference travels the globe and the edition in Tanzania was timed to coincide with a new heritage trail, “The Ivory and Slave Route” which explores the Arab Slave Trade in East Africa. Whilst the slave trade is widely regarded as a European invention it is in fact predated by the Arab slave trade during an estimated 5 million East Africans were captured, enslaved and shipped to the Middle East, India, Asia and the West. As Hollywood actor Danny Glover, Honorary Chair of the ADHT Conference said at the conference: “By convening the ADHT Conference in Tanzania, we offer a rare glimpse into the Arab Slave Trade of Eastern Africa, a major part of the worldwide enslavement of Africans that many of us in the West are not familiar with.” As well as offering important educational information about one of humankind’s most shameful episodes roots tourism can [...]

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DF_02828.CR2

Since the recent release of Oscar-winning film Twelve Years a Slave, a growing number of African Europeans and African Americans are keen to visit historical sites including Ghana’s Elmina Castle and Badagry in Nigeria. Could a Hollywood movie about slavery boost West African tourism? 

Words Stefan Simanowitz

could only gaze wistfully towards the North, and think of the thousands of miles that stretched between me and the soil of freedom” writes Solomon Northup, in his memoir recounting how he was sold into slavery in Louisiana in 1841. Unlike the twelve million slaves transported to the Americas from Africa, Northup was a free man kidnapped from New York. And yet despite his tale being one of domestic slavery Solomon Northup’s story, graphically told in the Oscar-nominated movie Twelve Years A Slave, is — according to tourism professionals — playing a part in creating a renewed interest in history or ‘roots tourism’ among diasporic black communities, the like of which has not been seen since the television serialisation of Arthur Haley’s 1976 best-selling novel Roots.

“Twelve Years A Slave changed my life” African-American Kina Cosper writes in a recent article for Time Magazine. “For the first time, I feel a real need to know. I’ve begun researching us — our history, my history” she says. Cosper’s response is echoed among many “scatterlings of Africa” around the world. Ade Akinboyewa recalls how watching Roots in London in the Seventies had a profound impact on his developing sense of identity and his sense of identity. “It made me realise the extent to which my life had been shaped by slavery” he says. “For the first time something that had always been opaque and unspoken was suddenly made real.”

If Twelve Years A Slave has a similar impact on a new generation of African Britons and Americans it could led to a really significant increase in heritage tourism.

 

Ghana: Elmina Castle World Heritage Site, History of Slavery

‘Roots tourism’, a subset of the wider category of heritage tourism, has grown in popularity over the past decade as immigrant populations in America, Europe, the Caribbean and Australia have sought to discover where their ancestors originated. Whilst those of European heritage are often able to piece together fragments of their family history through researching public records, the Back-to-Africa model of tracing ones roots only provides at best a “probable point of departure” rather than an exact “point of origin”. It is this lack of precision that has imbued a number of African locations associated with the slave trade with particular significance.

Between 1513 and the end of the 19th century when the slave trade ended, some 24 million Africans were shipped to the Americas by English, Portuguese, French and Dutch traders. Between 10 and 20 per cent died on the journey. The major slave trade followed a triangular route: Western Africa then via the notorious Middle Passage to the Caribbean where slaves were sold and raw materials, notably cotton, bought, and finally back to Europe, where the American cotton was sold to textile manufacturers.

During a State visit to Ghana in 2009 President Barack Obama made a symbolically important visit with his family to Cape Coast Castle, a fortress used to confine slaves before they were shipped abroad. Although Obama himself has no slave heritage, his wife Michelle is the great-great-great granddaughter of an illiterate field slave from Georgia and a descendant of African slaves. The image of the First Lady gazing over the Atlantic was a powerful one and after their visit, a phenomenon dubbed the Obama-effect saw a sharp rise in trips by African-Americans to the continent. Twelve Years A Slave is already having a similar effect.

Black people of African ancestry form about 13% of the American population and in recent years tens of thousands have taken DNA tests in order to trace their ancestral background. A similar phenomenon is happening in Britain. Esther Stanford-Xosei, Co-Vice Chair of the Pan-African Reparation Coalition, did not need a DNA test to trace her roots. She knew that her heritage goes back to Ghana via the Caribbean and a few years ago she became the first member of her family to set foot on in Africa since her ancestors were forced onto slave ships. “It did feel emotional and I did feel a connection” she recalls. “I even did that stereotypical thing of kissing the soil.” However during her stay Stanford-Xosei had mixed feelings about being in Africa. “Rather than getting a warm welcome I felt I was treated like a foreigner” she says. She also does not feel entirely comfortable about the way in which Africa is sometimes marketed to people in the diaspora. “The taste and aesthetics of this marketing is too often done through a European lens” she argues.

There are a growing number of events aimed at attracting black people from the African disapora to trace their history. In May 2014 The Gambia will host the 11th edition of the annual Roots International Festival which takes its name from the Alex Haley novel and in Nigeria, the Lagos Black Heritage Festival is a combination of history, art and entertainment. The International African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference travels the globe and the edition in Tanzania was timed to coincide with a new heritage trail, “The Ivory and Slave Route” which explores the Arab Slave Trade in East Africa.

Whilst the slave trade is widely regarded as a European invention it is in fact predated by the Arab slave trade during an estimated 5 million East Africans were captured, enslaved and shipped to the Middle East, India, Asia and the West. As Hollywood actor Danny Glover, Honorary Chair of the ADHT Conference said at the conference: “By convening the ADHT Conference in Tanzania, we offer a rare glimpse into the Arab Slave Trade of Eastern Africa, a major part of the worldwide enslavement of Africans that many of us in the West are not familiar with.”

As well as offering important educational information about one of humankind’s most shameful episodes roots tourism can also boost African economies and ensure that important historical sites are preserved. Whilst tourism needs to be carefully managed to ensure that sites are not adversely damaged by overcrowding and excessive wear and tear the effect of heritage tourism is generally a beneficial one. Roots tourism, however, is not to everyone’s taste. “Spending my holiday visiting dungeons? No thanks!” jokes Ade Akinboyewa. Having spent years being called “Kunte Kinte” in the playgrounds of South London, Akinboyewa’s attitude is perhaps understandable. Nevertheless, heritage tourism in Africa is on the increase. As Jamaican politician and pan-Africanist said: “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin or culture, is like a tree without roots.”

Routes for Roots

West African Historical Sites by Country

SENEGAL

Across the water from Dakar, Senegal’s bustling capital, lies the Isle De Gorée. Now a UNESCO Historical Monument, this tiny island has become central in African Diaspora history as the embarkation point for slaves leaving the Senegambia destined for the plantations in the New World. Some buildings, once used as slave houses, have been turned into historic sites, most famously ‘La Maison des Enclaves’. From the outside these faded buildings covered in bougainvillea look benign but inside, the shackles and chains bear testament to the horrors that took place between their ochre walls. Despite its spiritual and symbolic significance, Gorée was not a major slaving departure point. In reality most slaves were transported from larger centres such as St Louis. Fort St Louis, a faded colonial city, was the first French settlement in Africa dating from 1659 and situated on the Atlantic at the mouth of the River Senegal was in an ideal position to assemble slaves from deep within Africa’s interior.

THE GAMBIA

The Gambia formed part of the British Colony of Senegambia, with headquarters in St. Louis at the mouth of the river Senegal. However in 1783, the greater part of the Senegambia region was handed to France. The Gambia is where Kunte Kinte, the slave in Roots, came from and the village of Jufureh, 30 kilometres inland on the river Gambia where you can meet the members of the Kinte clan, is a popular destination. There are several important slavery sites in the Gambia including Albreda, an island slave post which now houses a slave museum, James Island used to hold slaves before they were shipped to other West African ports for sale and whose dungeons remain intact.

GHANA

Of over 50 forts and castles built by Europeans on the west coast of Africa, 32 are in Ghana. Some of the forts have been turned into guesthouses offering basic accommodation whilst others like Fort Amsterdam in Abanze have many original features, which gives you a good idea of what it was like during the slave trade. St George’s Castle in Elmina is a popular destination where visitors can see slave dungeons, punishment cells and an auctioning.
The Cape Coast Castle was the headquarters for the British colonial administration for nearly 200 years and now a museum it houses objects from around the region including artifacts used during the slave trade. Salaga in northern Ghana was the site of a major slave market and visitors can see the grounds of the slave market; slave wells which were used to wash slaves and a huge cemetery where slaves who had died were laid to rest.

BENIN

Porto-Novo is the capital of Benin and was established as a major slave-trading post by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Ruined castles can still be explored. UNESCO launced its Slave Route Project in Ouidah and houses a museum where slaves captured in Togo and Benin would spend their final night before embarking on their trans-Atlantic journey. The Route des Esclaves is a 2.5 mile road lined with fetishes and statues where the slaves would take their final walk down to beach and to the slave-ships.

NIGERIA

There are lesser known slave trade sites including Gberefu Island, Badagry and Arochukwu as well as Guinea’s Atlantic Coast.

Trail of History

West African Heritage Tours

The Gambia

Arch Tours offer an alternative to the standard Gambia hotel and beach package. Their tours trace the origins, history and remnants of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in The Gambia, Senegal and the surrounding West African region.

The group’s ‘Roots Heritage Trail’ is a popular excursion. It’s  inspired by the historic epic and classic novel of the tragedy of the slave trade and triumph of freedom; a full circle, inspired by Alex Haley’s bestseller describing his ancestor, Kunta Kinte’s capture and journey to America as a slave some 200 years ago. arch-tours.com

Ghana

Unsurprising for a country with so many relevant sites, Ashanti African Tours offer a wide portfolio of heritage tours and celebrations designed to ensure that Americans and Europeans of distant African ancestry feel an intimate part of each reflective journey as many visit Ghana for the first time. Visit slave monuments and retract the steps that many visitors’ ancestors were forced to make while gaining in-depth insight into Ghana’s culture and traditions. ashantiafricantours.com

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