OMAR VICTOR DIOP - 1980, Senegal
OMAR VICTOR DIOP / COURTESY MAGNIN-A, PARIS
Diop was born in Dakar, where he still lives and works. Since his early days, he developed an interest for Photography and Design, essentially as a means to capture the diversity of modern African societies and lifestyles. As a member of the well-educated middleclass, Diop went to business school in Paris and first worked in finance as a consultant. Actually he bought his first camera with one of his bonuses. A friend encouraged him to submit a series called THE FUTURE OF BEAUTY to the 2011 Bamako Biennale, where he was selected and featured. The quick success encouraged Diop to end his career in Corporate Communications and dedicate himself to photography in 2012, and since then he has had several exhibitions in Africa, Europe and the US with more to come.
His body of work includes Fine Arts and Fashion Photography as well as Advertising Photography. He enjoys mixing his photography with other forms of art, such as costume design, styling, and creative writing. This is particularly visible in his series STUDIO DES VANITÉ, in which he follows his research between photography and design, with a strong influence of the historical African portraitists. The backdrops in the serie are textiles from the Diop’s mothers collection, which have been passed on from generation to generation Diop uses the colors and patterns of the textiles to express emotions, an idea of sharpness or poetry or romanticism.
His latest series entitled DIASPORA is a time travel. A journey that takes its starting point in the present with the issue of immigration of African in Europe and their place in European society. Diop forces us to reconsider our perception of history by highlighting notable Africans living in Europe between the fifteenth and nineteenth century. The integration of elements of football, weaves the links between past and present and question the position of African today.
FABRICE MONTEIRO - 1972, Belgium / Senegal
COURTESY FABRICE MONTEIRO / MARIANE IBRAHIM GALLERY
Fabrice Monteiro is a photographer and former-model based in Dakar, Senegal. He was modelling for ten years and his vision of photography emerges from fashion photography. He was in his middle 30’ies before he engaged in photography partly inspired by his friend and mentor New York photographer Alfonse Pagano, who he met in 2007. First Monteiro did fashion photography but soon he decided to create photography that showed him. Born to a Beninese father and a Belgian mother, his childhood also was nurtured with multi-cultural, and Monteiro incorporate on one side his fashion background and on the other his African childhood, his vision of that continent and the fact that his roots are in both African and European culture.
Monteiro is now an emerging artist based in the fields of photojournalism, fashion photography, and portraiture. His unique signature style revolves around his passion and love for the heart and the people of his country. Assumed its creative force, he is striving to build a visual world in his own multicultural image, mastering the aesthetics that allows his images to carry the weight of traditions and modernity. At AFRICA REFRAMED Monteiro shows the series A Gorean Summer, which explore the dynamics in nowadays tourism at a former slave area, and The Prophecy on pollution, on which Monteiro collaborated with costume designer Doulsy and the Ecofund organization to render the series impactful images, striking both in their visual detail and ecological urgency.
NAMSA LEUBA - 1982 Switzerland / Guinea
FROM THE SERIES KHOISAN, NAMSA LEUBA
Namsa Leuba was born to a Guinean mother and a Helvetian father. She grew up on the shores of Neuchatel’s lake in Switzerland. In 2011, she graduated from ECAL/University of art and design Lausanne, with a Bachelor in Photography. Her work has since been published in numerous magazines and has been exhibited in places as diverse as Hong Kong and New York.
Leubas work juxtaposes, re-works, challenges and examines African identity through Western eyes. She centers on not just preconceived notions of Africa from a Western view but the aesthetics of abstract configuration and encourages a conversation around that which is normal in one culture and that which becomes decidedly the other as viewed by the West.
Spanning documentary, fashion and performance, Namsa Leuba creates a visual imaginary that explores the signs and symbols of her cultural heritage, from rituals and ceremonies to statuettes and masquerades. By composing the different elements, Leuba dissembles cultural paradigms and re-builds them through staged interventions. Whether executed on location in the artist’s ancestral hometown of Guinea or in the constructed studio environment, Leuba’s projects combine an anthropological interest in traditional customs with an aesthetic that is informed by fashion and design sensibilities. Adopting a theatrical approach with careful attention to props, colors and gestures, Namsa Leuba questions the relationship between fact and fiction, action and representation, the sacred and the profane, and between construction and deconstruction.
KHOI SAN, ZULU KIDS and THE KINGDOM OF MOUNTAINS series show Leuba's anthropological interest in traditional customs, ceremonies, and rituals with an aesthetic informed by the world of fashion and design, which she works in concurrently. Leuba orchestrates her motifs in a historically correct geographical setting and includes various props, a versatile color scheme, and gestures as tools to examine the tension between opposing forces, for example fact and fiction, action and representation, sacredness, and secularity. Her formative process encourages a conversation around that which is normal in one culture and that which becomes decidedly the other as viewed by the West. The technique can be described as elemental compositing and the collages are another example of how Leuba dissembles cultural paradigms and rebuilds them through staged interventions. Fashion and fine art photography is mixed without reservation and help create a dynamic exchange in a liberating space, where all forms of expression is allowed.
FROM THE SERIES FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, DILLON MARSH
The mining industry in South Africa has shaped the history and economy of the country Marsh lives in radically. The series FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH was born out of his curiosity about what a mine's output in precious metals or stones would look like when visually juxtaposed with the mine itself. Marsh started by exploring the copper mines of Namaqualand, an arid region of land between Namibia and South Africa, and the series soon grew to include diamond mines in the Northern Cape as well. After this, he looked at the gold fields of the Witwatersrand Basin. The Witwatersrand Basin is a largely underground geological formation which surfaces in the Witwatersrand, South Africa. It holds the world's largest known gold reserves and has produced over 1.5 billion ounces (over 40,000 metric tons), which represents about 50% of all the gold ever mined on earth. The images of the series combine on-site photography and computer generated elements, using extraction rates to calculate a single solid orb to visualize the output of a mine. More recently, Marsh has looked at the production of platinum group metals in South Africa.
DILLON MARSH- 1981, SOUTH AFRICA
Dillon Marsh was born in Cape Town and he still lives there today. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the University of Stellenbosch and during the course of the studies he was drawn to photography and remained passionate about it ever since. Marsh has had several solo shows and participated in group exhibitions in Africa and Europe. Apart from his own work Marsh has also worked as a professional retouch artist and is experienced in the post production of photographs which has been an inspiration for introducing computer generated imagery into his photographs in an attempt to reveal underlying features or dynamics that he wouldn’t be able to show with photography alone.
Marsh has over the years developed a love for travel and this has led to a natural set of photographic series documenting the various places that he has visited. His main focus as a contemporary artist has also been directed towards his landscape series where he seeks to find things that are out of the ordinary, picking them out of the landscape where they might otherwise blend in. He chooses objects that can be found in multitude within their environment so that he can depict a family of objects in a series of photographs. At AFRICA REFRAMED Marsh shows the series For what it ́s Worth, an unique perspective on mining, Assimilations on the transformation of landscapes due to animal intervention and Common Grounds.
LIEN BOTHA -1961, SOUTH AFRICA
Botha worked as a press photographer before she obtained a BA in Fine Arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 1988. Her introduction to alternative mediums such as printmaking, painting and sculpture deter- mined the output of her work over the past two decades. Up to date she has participated in numerous South African and international group exhibi- tions and has held twelve solo shows. At AFRICA REFRAMED Botha shows Parrot Jungle, a disrupted road trip to forgotten places.
PARROT JUNGLE, LIEN BOTHA
TAHIR KARMALI - KENYA
Karmali begun his career as an ink painter, he combines abstract painting with portraiture. Tahir picked up the camera as a creative outlet while he traveled and worked in Asia and Europe, and continues to experiment with mixed media, installation and digital photography. He is currently exploring themes and narratives around socioeconomics and ethnicity. At AFRICA REFRAMED he shows Jua Kali, where he discusses whether the informal economy of Nairobi actually is the real power source of the city.
JUA KALI, TAHIR CARL KARMALI
Ivory Coast, 2014
Director: Philippe Lacôte
Run is running away... He has just killed his country’s Prime Minister. Therefore he had to take the face and clothes of a madman wandering throughout the town for months. His life returns to him in flashes: his childhood with master Tourou, when he dreamt of becoming a rainmaker, his incredible adventures with Greedy Gladys and his militia past as a Young Patriot in Ivory Coast’s political and military conflict. Run has not chosen all of these lives. He stumbled into them, escaping from one life to another. This is why he is called Run. The film portrays the last twenty years of the directors country, Ivory Coast, through both its history and geography. A vast story which encompasses its collective history through the iconic life of one individual: Run.
Director: Miguel Llansó
Sci-fi from Ethiopia. Tired of picking up the crumbs of gone-by civilizations, Candy dreams his life away when not living in a state of perpetual fear. When the spaceship in the sky begins to turn on and after a series of freak incidents, our miniature-sized hero will be forced to embark on a surreal epic journey that will lead him through the post-apocalyptic Ethiopian landscape as he confronts himself, his fears and witches, Santa Claus and second generation Nazis: only to discover that was he had long believed is not what he expected.
South Africa 2015
Director: Sara Blecher
Set in a community vibrant with African migrants from across the continent this district, AYANDA is a coming-of-age story of a twenty-one year old Afro-hipster, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery when she's thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars once loved, now in need of a young womans re-inventive touch to bring them back to life again. Ayanda decides to bring her dead fathers garage back to former glory despite resistance from both her mother and her uncle, Zama, who wants to sell the garage. Along with David, the Nigerian mechanic who harbours trauma from his dark past, and Zoum, the enthusiastic but exam-averse non-mechanic, Ayanda sets out to rebuild the business, and against all odds, the business heads into profit. But success feels empty when the realisation sets in – how far she is prepared to go to preserve something that is lost entirely in the past – her father, the garage, and her refusal to move forward into a future for herself and those she loves.
CHRISTINE MHANDO- 1980, Tanzania / United Kingdom
Christine Mhando graduated from Kent University in 2002 and after working for high-end designers as well as women wear brands and suppliers for the high-street Mecca, she launched the label that bears her childhood nickname, Chichia in 2007. Chichia is an amalgamation of both continents and cultures from which the designer was born and raised as the brand appears as an inspired fusion of the designers two cultures- the Tanzanian heritage and her London upbringing.
Mhandos trademark is her artful application of the Khanga, a traditional east African cotton printed fabric used by local women, mixed with the impressions and structures of modern life: colour, travel, conversation, movies, patterns, architecture, which result in eye-catching colourful prints in natural fabrics intermixed with beautiful embellishments and intricate detailing.
The first Chichia collection was sold in London’s famous home of independent designers Laden Showroom quickly earning the label commercial success. Currently stocked in independent boutiques across the world and online, Chichia has gained a cult following on the online blog circuit as well as extensive press attention in distinguished publications such as Vogue Italia, Marie Claire, Grazia and Cosmopolitan. With fans including Beyonce, Chichia is fastly becoming recognised as an international African brand that modernises and transforms traditional East African textiles into stylish, contemporary and considered fashionable attire.
YINKA ILORI- 1987, Nigeria / United Kingdom
As many other young Africans and expats Yinka Ilori didn’t choose a life as a doctor or an engineer, as his parents wished for. Instead he chose the creative path where African traditions are mixed with contemporary design and language. Yinka Ilori specializes in up-cycling vintage furniture, inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics. His unique and vibrant work sits between traditional divisions of art and design.
Iloris design debates consumerism when he transforms vintage furniture to new and colorful life by combining elements from different chairs and adding other objects, textiles and colors. At the same time his works expresses the multiculturalism in his hometown, London, and in the overall African inspired creative and dynamic flow, AFRICA REFRAMED like to capture in moments.
Every single chair from Ilori is inspired of and conveys the Nigerian parables which were part of his childhood home. Actually, one of his recent shows was named If Chairs Could Talk. Ilori use the narratives of the parables with a declared political aim to create works that makes the observer reflect on issues such as hope, sexuality and social classes.
Yinka Ilori studied Furniture and Product Design at London Metropolitan University and has since exhibited internationally in solo shows and group exhibitions in London, Lagos, Stockholm, Basel, Bilbao and New York.
Selected Talks and Events
Afrofuturistic sound experience with multi-artist Goodiepal
Join the afro-futuristic musical tale of the multi-artist Goodiepal in the exhibition. The academic tone is nowhere to be found when Goodiepal shows the story of how music and art with African roots have been a game changer in the European conception of art.
Goodiepal (Parl Kristian Bjørn Vester, 1974) is a Danish-Faroese controversial musician and composer. His sound scapes involve performance and lectures with inspiration from futuristic computer elements. 2004-2008 Goodiepa was Head of the electronic music department of Det Danske Musikkonservatorium, Århus. In 2014 Statens Museum for Kunst bought his work Kommunal Klon Komputer 2, a bike from which Goodiepal both travels the world and do concerts.
Talk with Jens-Martin Skibsted og Karen Tranberg Hansen
Journalist Pernille Bærendtsen moderates the talk where entrepreneur Jens-Martin Skibsted and anthropologist Karen Tranberg Hansen will discuss the present creative tendencies on the African continent.
Jens Martin Skibsted is the founder of the African design magazine Ogojiii. Han is known for his BIOMEGA Bikes, and is as well the co-founder KiBiSi, a product design firm. Today he is Creative Manager of Ogojiii and BIOMEGA through his own firm Skibsted Ideation.
Jens Martin was named Young Global Leader of World Economic Forum (”Davos”) and participates in the think tanks of the organization, former as Vice Precident for Design & Innovation, now at Smart Cities. He is the chairman of the Danish organization Designrådet and board member of Dansk Design Center and Bitten og Mads Clausen Fonden.
He is the author of Kavesom, Instant Icon og Tilbage Til Virkeligheden, and writes among others for Fast Company og Huffington Post.
Karen Tranberg Hansen is anthropologist and Professor Emerita at Northwestern University in USA. Since 2012 she has lived in Denmark as Professor Emeritus at Institut for Antropologi at Københavns Universitet. Her works focuses on city life in Africa, particularly in Zambia where most of her research took place. She studied informal economics, slum housing, work of men and women, youth, consumption and fashion.
AFRICAN FASHION TALK with CHRISTINE MHANDO and ARIETA MUJAY
Journalist Pernille Bærendtsen moderates the talk where london-based designer Christine Mhando and creative consultant Arieta Mujay will discuss the escalating international development in the exposure of African fashion.
Christine Mhando designs the london-based brand ChiChia. Mhando is born in Tanzania but has lived in London for several years. She graduated from Kent University in 2002 and has worked with fashion and design since then. Her designs unite the two cultures of her life, and her signature design is an interpretation of the traditional, East African textile, Khanga. Chistine Mhando has cooperated with the online shop ASOS on an African collection, Beyoncé wears her design and she has been selected as a young talent of Vogue Italia.
Arieta Mujay is a creative consultant who has worked with fashion in London and several African countries for the last 15 years. Mujay works for Lagos Fashion Week as Chief Stylist, for Gabarone Fashion Week in Botswana as Creative Manager and as member of the panel at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg. In 2013 she founded the PR agency African Creative which focuses on creative African Talent in England.
In Africa Reframed you’ll meet our fascination with classic African wax print in the workshop area. The textiles originate from Holland supposed for the Asian market, but as they didn’t succeed in Asia the producers brought their fabrics to Africa, where they succeeded to an extent that we nowadays assume that the textiles derive directly from the African continent. The patterned textiles are used especially in East and South Africa and reflect the shifts in time, fashion and taste in the different regions. Social, political, religious, emotional and sexual statements are expressed through the textile which patterns and inscriptions evoke both laughter and reflection. The prints are expressing thoughts and feelings which cannot be expressed in words. The textiles play a part in rites of passages of both secular and religious character. Mostly for women, sometimes for men. The specific prints are as well used to pay homage and remember great people and events as Nelson Mandela and 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.