CHANEL: Introducing The LIPSCANNER App

22.02.2021 | Beauty , Blog , Fashion | BY:

The future of make-up is here. The Chanel Lipscanner app utilises new AI technology to allow consumers to find the right Chanel lipstick that matches any colour that is scanned. Finding the perfect nude is made easy now and can be scanned from a magazine, a poster, a pair of shoes, or even a friend’s lips – the possibilities are almost endless.

This app is a result of a collaborative over several months between the CX Lab and the Chanel Make-up Creation Studio. The scanner is intuitive, with a rapid response enabling its users to find the perfect lip colour instantaneously.

The technology is advanced, with a vast analytical capacity that is built on the basis of tens of thousands of facial images. And it doesn’t stop there – the lipscanner also takes into consideration the skin tone and shape of the users lips, ensuring the match is just right.

With the incorporation of Chanel’s virtual try-on application, the lipscanner works to further expand the brand’s presence in the digital realm. To find out more and explore the app, visit Chanel.com

‘Automatiste’: An AI x Art Collaboration Presented by Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti

22.02.2021 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

Award-winning, LA-based art, and tech duo Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti have collaborated with Chinese gender-neutral luxury brand Mithridate to create Automatiste. The multimedia showcase will be part of Mithridate’s SS21 presentation at London Fashion Week on 22nd February 2021. This marks the second collaboration between the brand and the duo after their 35-minute immersive performance instillation “I’d rather be in a dark silence than” (2020) at London’s Serpentine Galleries.

Automatiste takes root in the French adjective which describes the Surrealist Automatism, a method of art making which suppresses the conscious mind, allowing the unconscious mind to have great control. The piece will work to provide viewers globally with an immersive experience, with portals that explore the richness, danger, beauty, and raw nature of the subconscious. The production will weave through the digital world through the AI integration, used to represent the chance operations and inner-workings of the mind.

The art piece is a full production incorporating performance art, interactive film, augmented reality, poetry, and web design amongst a plethora of other forms of media. The team is spread across countries and cities, including LA, Shanghai, Istanbul, London, Washington DC, Baltimore and Rome.  

Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti commented, “We cherish being trusted so fully by Mithridate, and that trust is bleeding into the rest of our phenomenal team, who are all pushing the boundaries with their own contributions to make an experience that we all believe will mark a new chapter in the history of fashion, art, and technology. We want to show that digital-only doesn’t need to mean second rate and everyone shouldn’t be sitting around waiting for the ‘real thing’ to happen again. This is the real thing. It’s thrilling to us that anyone with internet access can take this journey with us, share digital space and be introduced to Mithridate’s collection through our art.”

Other featured artists include musician Tony Cruise, XR artist Aaron XR artist Aaron Jablonski, 3D artist Curry Tian, and Immersive Kind Studios. The amalgamation of some of the most advanced technology used in fashion to date, and the raw artistic energy: Automatiste is a showcase that utilises the power of technology as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

To view the boundary-pushing work, visit automatiste.mithridate.uk

Mansur Gavriel: “Tulipano”

17.02.2021 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Hailing from modern luxury house Mansur Garviel: ‘Tulipano’ is the brands newest signature silhouette. The design is inspired by the tulip, the fresh flower that symbolises the season of new life: Spring. The details of the bag are intricate with a structure that unfolds just like petals, whilst still maintaining optimum functionality.

The bag is elegant, sophisticated, yet practical – made for the modern woman. The soft and supple feel is attributed to the luxury textiles, including a calf and suede construction.

Tulipano is compact yet large enough to hold everyday essentials, aligning with the contours of the body; this makes the bag perfect for both style and comfort. The bag is offered in a variety of colours: Snow, Prato, Cedro, Elettrio, Arranico, and Black.

Tulipano available for purchase beginning 17th February 2021, retailing for $695 (£500). To find out more, visit MansurGavriel.com

Karon Davis: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

16.02.2021 | Art , Blog | BY:

1969. A Chicago courtroom. Political activist and author Bobby Seale is on trial as part of the Chicago 8, a group of seven defendants charged by the United States federal government with conspiracy, crossing state lines with intent to incite a riot, and other crimes relating to the anti-Vietnam war efforts. During the trial, federal judge Julius Hoffman orders for Bobby Seale to be physically gagged. The episode was not photographed, however the court sketches leave a scathing mark etched into the memory of anyone that lays their eyes on them. This image was burrowed deeply in artist Karon Davis psyche, leaving a haunting scar as a reminder of the historical violence against black bodies in America.

Karon Davis’ No Good Deed Goes Unpunished is direct reference to the pillory of the Black Panther Party by the government and the relentless harassment they received. During the 1960s, the public were cajoled into believing damaging and skewed ideologies about the party and their place in the community. Davis’ uses her work to take back that power, presenting the reality in a raw and unfiltered manner. Her own connection to the Chicago 8 case intensifies the impact of the sculpture, as one of her father’s first acting jobs was reading out Bobby Seale’s transcript.

The frozen tableau sculpture is a haunting image, as Davis used life casts of friends and family with casts of her own body parts, with sections missing to emphasis the ghostly nature. The mummified sculpted bags of groceries which sit in front of the tableau are representative of the Black Panther party’s free food programme which was for the black community in Oakland, California; Karon describes these bags as a “garden of golden fruit”.

Davis’ work strives to catch the “in-between” state which captures the soul. Much of her work presents black bodies and their stories – the joy, the trauma, the complexities. The brokenness of the work and the missing pieces, are a reference to the internal brokenness of the black victims of police brutality and violence. Although this trial took place decades ago, the reality of the discrimination and disenfranchisement of black people in America is still rampant.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished is Karon Davis’s first solo exhibition in New York. The show will be available for viewing from March 6th – April 24th 2021. To find out more about the exhibition, visit Deitch.com

Puma x Black Fives Foundation: Celebration Black Pre-NBA History

12.02.2021 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

At the beginning of February, Puma announced a multi-year partnership with the Black Dives Foundation in support of Black History Education reform. Black Fives Foundation is a certified 501© non-profit who’s aim since being funded in 2002 is to research preserve, showcase, teach and honour the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball.

Puma is determined to stand by athletes, ambassadors, and partners by amplifying their voices and actions across different platforms. As Black Fives Foundation continues to carry out their mission, Puma will work to support the continued education and preservation by supporting the launch of an interactive, multi-use online museum; the museum will display its archive of historical artifacts and content.

The Virtual Vault will include an online portal that will allow visitors to experience, engage, and be enlightened by the illustrious history. The contents of the vault will include vintage equipment, ticket stubs, game gear, images, scorecards, and more.

“I’m proud and honored to partner with PUMA toward making a meaningful, long-lasting difference in expanding Black history education to include the pioneering African American teams, players, and contributors who helped pave the way for today’s game,” – Claude Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of the Black Fives Foundation.

In addition to this partnership, Puma will be giving back to the Harlem, NY community with partner ‘AfroBrutality’, a black-owned lifestyle brand that focuses on bringing diversity and inclusivity to athleisure wear. This will be done in conjunction with current and former athletes, surrounding activism in sport through their #REFORM platform.

To find out more about the partnership, visit https://partners.blackfives.org/hello-puma.

Stüssy “Laguna Beach” Eau de toilette

09.02.2021 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

In collaboration with Comme des Garçons Parfumes, Stüssy has created a fragrance that is an amalgamation of the mood and lifestyle of California’s Laguna Beach. The eau de toilette is a combination of natural marine freshness, moss, and atlas cedar mix with white solar flowers. This woody concoction presents a mellow, cool, and laidback scent representative of its muse.

Both brands have a longstanding partnership that is been built upon their strengths as individually influential brands. Stüssy was formed in the late 80s’ and was inspired by the Southern Californian surf scene which had swept through and influenced much of the culture at the time; the casual clothing, laid-back attitude, and overall mindset. This campaign is reminiscent of Stüssy’s roots and the photography led by Tyrone Lebon, is bright and colourful, featuring a model clad in a zebra-print bikini.

‘Laguna Beach’ is now available worldwide at select stores, including select Dover Street Market locations, and Comme des Garçons shops.

Visit doverstreetmarket.com and stussy.com to shop the eau de toilette.

Nokukhanya Langa: “Baby, I’m not even here. I’m a hallucination.”

04.02.2021 | Art , Blog | BY:

Presented by Ballon Rouge: Nokukhanya Langa “Baby, I’m not even here. I’m a hallucination” is an exhibition and experience in one; it showcases the emotional state of being, both the imaginary and the tangible.

Nokukhanya Langa was born in 1991, Maryland, USA and currently lives and works in Groningen, Netherlands, and Ghent, Belgium. The majority of her work resides in painting, with abstract themes explored within her distinct and vibrant artwork. She also explores repetitive patterns, symbols, and letters akin to graffiti tagging, which allows her work to exist between different planes – sophisticated and grounded.

Nokukhanya’s work is framed by her use of subversive language and artwork with different mediums and textures, which pulls from layers of private histories, political and cultural undertones, and allegories.    

Layered with hidden meanings and tongue-in-cheek references that are littered throughout, her work points to various political expressions. Her use of colloquial, everyday terms plays on humorous elements, which heightens the personal connection within her work; it is unapologetically her. This presentation of her work and her use of approachable language makes room for the artwork to convey subtle subtext, forming a “hallucinatory reality” (Ballon Rouge).

The exhibition will be live from February 25th – March 27th 2021.

For more information, visit BallonRougeCollective.com

Jadé Fadojutimi – ‘Jesture’

02.02.2021 | Art | BY:

Presented by Pippy Houndslow Gallery: ‘Jesture’ features a collection of artwork by London-based artist Jadé Fadojutimi. The artwork has been sourced from Fadojutimi’s 2020 repertoire, with much of the work featured in her solo exhibition last October; this her first published book. The publication also comes with a text by editor-at-large at frieze magazine: Jennifer Higgie, titled ‘From Life – Thoughts on the paintings of Jadé Fadojutimi’.

Fadojutimi work touches on a variety of subject matters, exhibiting the absurd in the disruption of the norm, through the jarring quarantines and lockdowns. Much of her work also tackles questions around identity and the fluidity that resides within it and the power and pleasure of nostalgia. Fadojutimi is known for using the soundtracks from films, animation, and video games to transport her to different places in her mind, which she then captures in her work

‘Globules of paint erupt like buds from the ground. These pictures seem like a garden in spring or a choppy sea; at times, the mood is so exuberant that it appears to be on the brink of exploding. Colours pulse like a bass line given centre stage. It’s clear: paint is an organic substance, as replete with possibility as newly composted earth.’ – Jennifer Higgie

Her work is layered with oil paints and pastels which creates textures that exist allow the work to exist in an artistic limbo – neither abstract nor literal. This level of depth draws audiences to her work, alongside the vibrant colours and patterns.

Jadé Fadojutimi: Jesture is co-published by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery and Anomie Publishing.

It may be ordered from WaterstonesAmazonCasemate UK, and Casemate US.

Alexander McQueen Pre-SS21 Couture

29.01.2021 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

The Alexander McQueen Pre-SS21 Couture campaign is the embodiment of ‘make-do-and-men’. The pieces are sourced and created in kitchens and back gardens of the team at Alexander McQueen in conjunction with a professional in-studio team. The collection includes an array of garments – with prom style pleated dresses, a tuxedo-style jacket with a silk-wrapped bow and a feminine colour palette consisting of albion pinks contrasted with black.

All the creations were mocked up, and the sketches were gathered by the embroidery team then printed onto organza panels. Once the panels were completed, each member of the team took one home to work on each design.

A dress with an off-the-shoulder drape and a tiered skirt was hand-made with toile that was dip-dyed. The dress was then taken apart and then reassembled, the skirt had to be dipped upside-down in order to maintain the pink hem. Majority of the tests and experiments were conducted once again at home, and the final results were created by a professional team.

The double-layered tuxedo jacket is inspired by oversized 1950s couture bow, re-imagined and interwoven into the jacket, using the same pink, black and white colour palette. An oyster ruffle dress with a high neck and a scalloped back, with an undulating pattern achieved by stitching row by row until the pattern indicated a change in circle size, achieving the degradé scale effect.

The final piece is a asymmetric floor-length dress with an exploded skirt volume in washed calico silk organza, embroidered with designs from a sketch book. The finale piece of the collection made by the Italian Alexander McQueen seamstresses in their kitchens. Sarah Burton and her team worked to feature sketches previously created before the pandemic.

To view the full campaign, visit AlexanderMcQueen.com

Gucci Presents ‘Winter in the Park’

26.01.2021 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

A strong reconnection with nature, the outdoors, and a celebration of unique pieces in a metropolis: Gucci presents ‘Winter in the Park’. Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s Creative Director reimagined a natural space in the city, with a combination of autumn leaves, frosted grass, and grey skies, alongside London-esque metal railings, benches, and amber lamps. The atmosphere sets the scene for the presentation of the pieces which are reminiscent of the 60s and 70s’.

This digital campaign features four of the House’s adored creations: this includes the GG Marmont soft leather matelassé bag, seen previously in Michele’s first show for the House. The Jackie 1961 which is the updated version of the famous hobo model that was presented by Gucci in the 60s’ is also the main attraction. Accessories in the campaign include the Dionysus Bag, which was first presented at the Women’s Fall-Winter fashion show in 2015. The bag has a double tiger-head closure detailing which is a direct reference to the Greek God Dionysus, who in the myth is said to have crossed the river Tigris on a tiger sent to him by Zeus.

These pieces are worn by the likes of singer-songwriter Celeste, fashion designer, television personality and author Alexa Chung, and actor Vanessa Kirby. Each woman dawns a different style all suited to their personalities, taken from the Gucci Epilogue collection and from the House’s Beloved Lines accessories. Photographer Angelo Pennetta perfectly captures the harmony between the outdoors and the clothing, encapsulating the beauty of the clothing and vitality that can be found in an outdoor space during the winter.  

To further explore the campaign, visit Gucci.com

Louis Vuitton Men’s AW21 – Livestream Fashion Show

22.01.2021 | Fashion , Louis Vuitton | BY:

Louis Vuitton’s Men’s AW21 premiered on Thursday 22nd January, a showcase that featured a selection of pieces spearheaded by their artistic director Virgil Abloh. The show begins with a title sequence, the phrase “A Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light” appearing on the surface of Swiss mountains adorned in snow. The 13-minute video features an array of alluring visuals alongside reworked streetwear combinations.

Saul Williams narrates the beginning of the show, with a spoken word poem backed by an ethereal violin and harp duet: “In this white wilderness, the construct of purity is sullied with every step”. The wide shot switches to a hallway like structure, with models that move in a pedestrian yet choreographed. The combination of streetwear and cooperate suits creates an interesting flare. Pieces include a slouchy button up paired with a grey fedora and green silk scarf, and elbow length leather gloves combined with a fitted waist coat.

The cacophony of music, movement, and clothing draws the audience in throughout. As the music transitions into a faster-paced jazz ensemble, the shot switches to an open space with emerald granite structures under stark white lighting. Williams calls out the names of influential figures in literature, politics, film, music and more as the models continue to walk in and across the room. Yasiin Bey (also known as Mos Def) takes centre stage and performs a song, changing the pace to a more upbeat and somewhat frenzied tone. The camera shows flashes of accessories such as an iridescent silver suitcase and an airplane bag covered in Louis Vuitton’s signature brown pattern. The video closes out with Yasiin Bey in his illuminated green suit slowly fading out of view as the overhead lights shut off.

The show is more than a fashion show – it is a full artistic experience from start to finish.

To view the full collection, visit LouisVuttion.com.

Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon 2021: Yinka Shonibare CBE RA

12.01.2021 | Art , Blog | BY:

World-renowned artist Yinka Shonibare is to be presented with the Art Icon award, supported by the Swarovski foundation. Shonibare is one of eight artists who have received this award since its inception in 2003. This prestigious honouring will take place on 22nd March 2021 in a virtual gala celebration, and will be hosted by the director of Whitechapel Gallery: Iwona Blazwick OBE.

Yinka Shonibare is a name that instantly recognised worldwide. His work explores a range of subject matters: from race, colonialism and class systems. Born in 1962 in London, he moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three and returned to the UK to study Fine Art, first at Byam School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College) and then at Goldsmiths College.

His signature medium is Dutch wax batik fabric, a material inspired by Indonesian designs, manufactured in Holland and appropriated by West Africans colonies. This fabric is woven by Shonibare into intricate and eye-catching artwork that questions identity, both contemporary culture and nationalism in relation to globalisation. Shonibare was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, and his work Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, was the 2010 Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square. It is now on permanent display at The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Iwona Blazwick said: “Yinka Shonibare is a truly exceptional artist and is an exemplary Art Icon. His vividly clothed figurative sculptures, the Hogarthian scenarios he creates as installations and photographs, and his beautiful films celebrate African culture while exposing the legacies of race and empire. Globally celebrated Shonibare also supports younger generations of artists in Britain and Africa; both his artistic legacy and his charitable initiatives will resonate for years to come.”

The ceremony will be graced with a musical performance by four-time Grammy award winner Angélique Kidjo, amongst other live performances throughout the night. Artwork donated from leaded contemporary artists will be put up for auction, and the proceeds will go towards Whitechapel’s programme which continues to support the youth programme and educational activities. Whitechapel’s Youth Programme has helped to support and empower 4,000 artists the ability to explore contemporary art and meet creative professionals.

The event committee will include the likes of Aki Abiola, Sir David Adjaye, and Nadja Swarovski, amongst a plethora of other high profile attendees.

Nadja Swarovski commented: “The Swarovski Foundation is delighted to continue its support of the Whitechapel Gallery and the Art Icon award, which this year honours an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to our cultural life. Yinka Shonibare’s work is strikingly beautiful and exerts a profound emotional power whilst exploring issues such as race, power and identity. Through his charitable programmes, Shonibare’s support of the next generation of artists and to cultural exchange have been equally impactful.”

Visit Whitechapelgallery.org to find out more.

Davide Sorrenti “Polaroids”

06.01.2021 | Blog | BY:

A collection of unforgettable polaroid photographs that encompass voracious love, passion and connection: this is Davide Sorrenti’s Polaroids. The photographs encompass 4 years of Sorrenti’s creativity, between 1994-1997, before his premature passing at age 20. Published by IDEA, who also produced two editions of Sorrenti’s monograph ArgueSKE, coupled with a film “See Know Evil”, which explores the ‘heroin-chic’ aesthetic, which is believed to have been popularised by Sorrenti. 

His work encapsulates a snapshot into his personal experiences – his reliance on family and friends, and the importance of capturing this connection with them. This desire for proximity and closeness speaks to the ‘new normal’ that we are living in now, and even more so, the project itself is somewhat allegorical for the year 2020. A last minute decision, not planned until late October and a roll-out decision in December, this collection is a gift from a gifted artist. 

The book is complete with 125 polaroid’s and presented in a raw-cut Eskaboard hardback with black buckram spine. The front cover is decorated with a single blurred self-portrait of a hooded Davide looking down into the lens. Each polaroid is preserved with the original grain, creases and rawness, some with a yellow-tungsten overcast. In one image, Davide uses his girlfriend at the time Jamie King as his muse. The image is blurry, she looks away from the camera, aloof and distant; however, Sorrenti is still able to capture a sense of closeness and intimacy. 

Alongside the collection original t-shirts will be released, all of which have been curated by his mother Francesca Sorrenti. She writes: 

“Davide’s photography was a reflection of the youth culture of the 90s; engulfed in rap music, skateboarding and ‘gangsta’ culture. Almost 25 years have gone by since his passing and still the love for his persona and his work lives on” – Francesca Sorrenti, Designer and Editor of Polaroids.

The book launched mid-December 2020 at Dover Street Market and New York, with a limited supply of only 1,000 copies. To find more about the launch and for purchase, visit IDEA.com 

Alexander McQueen and Jonathan Glazer: First Light

17.12.2020 | Blog , Culture , Fashion , Film | BY:

Alexander McQueen presents “First Light”, a film in conjunction with English filmmaker Jonathan Glazer and Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton. The film combines the gritty scenes from the River Thames overpass with the stripped-back clothing and accessories from the campaign. With the tagline “Back to London, coming home” and under Glazer’s directing, the film draws on the peculiar and the striking. 

Debuting Alexander McQueen’s 21’ Spring/Summer collection, each scene shows the meeting point between the sophisticated and the rugged through a culmination of panned and still shots. The musical score is intense with bass and synths that reverberate throughout. Each shot is a hodgepodge, a collision of clothing hailing from different time periods that are brought together to create something new and refined. 

The womenswear collection includes pieces like a deconstructed dress with a strapless corset and an exploded skirt in layers of blush and tea rose tulle. This corset dress is featured in the film and worn by model Celina Ralph, who is caught in a cinematic shot, falling back slowly into a bed of mud. The menswear features a black biker jacket with zip detailing, a vest in white cotton jersey and biker trousers with zip detailing, reminiscent of the biker fashion of the 60’s. 

“Shape, silhouette and volume, the beauty of the bare bones of clothing stripped back to its essence – a world charged with emotion and human connection.” – Sarah Burton. 

To discover the collection, visit AlexanderMcQueen.com 

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Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 – Pippy Houldsworth Gallery Presentation

11.12.2020 | Art , Culture | BY:

A celebration of thought provoking and eclectic work – this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach Exhibition introduces the work of artists across different generations. Presented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, this all-female exhibition brings together works that explore different subject matters and as captioned on the site “initiates a dialogue between feminist icons and the younger generation, reflecting the programme as a whole”. 

Although the presentation is usually held in person, the show will include ‘viewing rooms’, where the public can wonder around in virtual rooms that showcase digitalised versions of each artist’s work. The line-up includes the likes of Mary Kelly, a staple figure in feminist art, Ming Smith’s street photography which focused its lens on African American’s in the 1970’s, and work from Jacqueline de Jong who was an editor for the experimental platform The Situationist Times. 

The talent does not stop there, with the inclusion of prolific work from the younger generation. Highlights from painters Jadé Fadojutimi and Stefanie Heinze, the vibrant portraiture of Wangari Mathenge, Zoë Buckman’s repurposed textiles and the hypnotic oil on linen pieces by Angela Heisch. These works were created specifically for the fair and offer a deep dive into each artist’s psyche – how they postulate change, their ideas on identity, and how their individual work connects to larger ideas. 

In an exclusive interview, Zoë Buckman and Wangari Mathenge sat down with Twin Magazine and revealed some of their thoughts surrounding their work, the exhibition itself, and the ways they have continued to create during this turbulent time. 

Zoë Buckman, Lilith, 2020, boxing gloves, vintage textiles and chain
Photo: Thomas Müller

Zoë Buckman:she would use that cloth to make a sling, it stings, 2020’ and ‘Eyes Closing Now, 2020’

How does it feel to be a part of an all-female art exhibition? 

I was so excited when I saw that. Also those artists, the ones Pippy has selected, I am just delighted to be in such esteemed company. I know and really admire Ming Smith, we’re kind of a part of the same community here in the art world in New York, and I have obviously been a long admirer of hers. But also for me, Mary Kelly is a big one too because I actually studied her work at school, and I have her books and she has been a massive inspiration to me as I have attempted to juggle being an artist but also a mother. I’m getting to know the other artists on Pippy’s programme and it’s exciting. 

I have noticed that you use boxing gloves quite often in your work – why did you choose this medium for this piece and this exhibition? 

I’m really interested in the space in between polarised states. And I think that conversation or that tension between the stereotypically masculine and the stereotypically feminine, has always been a really interesting terrain for me to make art from. I do box [and] for a particular time in my life it was very formative for me because it gave me a space to work through both feelings of frustration and anger about what was going on politically in the world at the time. This was in 2016 in the run-up to the general election here in the States. I just began to really feel that there was this mounting war on women against our rights, and our body, and our body autonomy. It was also when there was a lot being circulated about rape, and scoring different experiences of rape against each other. It was a time where I was finding my feet as an artist in the art world, which is a very male dominated arena. In a way the boxing gym gave me a space to work through certain personal traumas, but it also gave me practice at learning how to hold my own and take up space, and even take space away from others. 

Visually boxing and iconography, like boxing gloves are very interesting to me because a lot of my work does look at masculinity, aggression and violence. So using boxing gloves but reworking them with these domestic feminine textiles, and often placing so that one is balancing on the other and bringing a kind of fragility to something that is stereotypically quite masculine and resilient.

The phrase “it stings” has also been used in your work prior. What does this statement mean in your work? 

A lot of the texts that I use in my work, both the titles, for what I write and embroider, that is taken from this ongoing poem that I’m writing. The poem is called “show me your bruises then” and it weaves together snippets of conversations or memories, or things that women have said to me, or even things that men have said to me. A lot of the text is from my own experiences with relationships with men. But that particular line it used to be “it stings, I sob”, that was taken from a play my mother wrote about her experience [of] coming on her period for the first time. 

In the Jewish tradition, the matriarch of the family will slap the young woman across the face the first time she gets her period. And so that was obviously this deeply problematic ritual for women, at least for my Mum she didn’t know what was happening to her body, and she didn’t know she was going to get slapped in the face by her grandmother. It’s this way of using a violent act to mark a significant time in a woman’s life. She found that, and therefore I find that really interesting and problematic. 

I also merged that with another piece of text which said “Mama would use that cloth to cook and clean, and she would use that cloth to make a sling”. She was talking about her grandmother in the kitchen using these tea towels in all these different ways. When a kid broke his arm, she would use that cloth to make a sling, but she would also use that cloth to tend to her own black eye. This line “it stings” for me, I’m sort of looking at the feminist experience. You can apply that “it stings, I sob” to coming on you period the first time, to losing your virginity, to experiencing violence, to experiencing heartbreak: it just seems so universal to me.  

As an artist and creator, do you believe your art has an obligation to tackle wider socio-political subjects? 

I try to veer away from any feelings of obligation because I feel they can limit the creative process. But I was brought up with this example of art being something that is used to examine or attempt to change the status quo. I personally will always use my art to do that. I think it’s something that I just intuitively want to do, and do. But I don’t feel like I am obligated. 

How does your art speak to your own experience as a woman and to the ‘female experience’ as a whole?

The series that I create they always start from a personal experience. Whether that’s divorce, grieving the loss of my mother, or sexual violence, or abortion or whatever is the impotence for me to embark on a series. It also comes from something within me that I find difficult or problematic or complicated. And then I go through a process of expanding that out and talking to other women, and bringing other women’s experiences and stories in the work. I hope it will always be something that is collective. For example, I’m not interested in making work that is solely about something that I have gone through. I’m more interested in saying “I have an experience with this” and I know there are plenty of women out there that have that; I want to share that space with them.

One of the subject matters highlighted in this exhibition is “metamorphosis”. Did you go through a process of change or metamorphosis that brought you to creating these two pieces?

I think that I’ve been on a real journey of transformation. The last few years for me have been almost a fast track of different experiences: from a divorce, to losing my mother to a terminal illness, to a very painful breakup from a relationship where there was violence and assault. A lot of that has brought a real complex darkness to my work as I have been exploring those things in my work. But more recently I feel that I am arriving at a place of joy and celebration. I think from my own spiritual practice, and through my relationships with other women, my best friends – my gyaldem, it has really put me in touch with this kind of inner force of creativity, and resilience, and joy. A lot of this work is looking at how we as women overcome the fuckeries that life throws at us. Through prayers, and devotion, and dancing, and raving and being together and through accessing our own ‘inner wild space’, and our own ‘inner wild women’; I think that is really the antidote to subjugation, and oppression, and trauma.  

In the current tumultuous time we are living in right now, (Covid-19, the US election, police brutality), where does your work as an artist fit into these conversations? 

I think that where the work explores as an antidote to oppression, and trauma and difficulty, choosing and seeking out joy, and connection to spirit and that inner wilderness that I was referencing; I think that sort of fits in with what is going on right now. Everybody is going through something, everybody is grieving something right now or everybody is anxious about something right now, or feeling trapped or limited or held back. Those are things I have had experience with, and some practice with. And so I think offering as a tool for those difficult experiences, this connection to something that is within us that can’t be limited, can’t be held back or trapped. I think that is a good way of reaching people during this time and what they’re going through. 

Ming Smith, Symmetry on the Ivory Coast, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 1972, archival silver gelatin print

Wangari Mathenge: The Ascendants IX (Just Like My Parents’ House, I’ve Become A Visitor), 2020’

I noticed that you use oil paints in the majority of your work. Why did you choose this medium specifically? 

It started just out of curiosity. I actually started painting with watercolours and acrylic. I just used to look at artworks a lot, like when you go to museums [and] there was this quality, a sort of richness that I noticed. I noticed the difference between oils and acrylics. Acrylics have come a long way and they mimic oils right now, back in the day acrylics were kind of dry and they didn’t really have the mixing mediums that they have right now; I think you can mimic an oil painting with acrylics now. When I was doing it, you could tell the difference. And so it was really curiosity. The first time I ever tried to work with oils, it was a complete disaster. It was a very difficult material to understand. And then it just became a quest to understand the language of oils. And then after a while, I just became good at it I guess. Initially it was just curiosity, and now the reason I still paint with oil is – I think just being comfortable with it. 

As an artist that has a diasporic experience, being between more than one culture, how does your artwork speak to your experiences? 

For me I think it changes. Initially what ‘diaspora’ meant to me when I started painting and thinking about it is very different to what it means to me today. Initially I think it was more of a statement, and now it’s more of an exploration of ‘what is diaspora?’. I think that would happen in any time you’re trying to work out something, whether you’re writing or whether you’re painting it tends to become this exploration, this understanding. With my works what you’ll notice is the motifs and objects, and all of these sort of informs that inquisition which is “what is diaspora?”, because it means [something] different to any individual. 

Most recently, I started reading this book ‘Potential History’ by Ariella Azoulay. It’s really interesting because it questions this whole notion of culture, objects, history, art history: what is it? I think for me, especially now with my work, I’m beginning to really look at what my place is in the world, my place in Chicago, the United States. How I have always kind of thought of myself as being a part from Kenya, and sort of being a part from here [United States], with a basis of being diasporic. But really what is that? I realised that there really is no understanding of what that culture looks like. And so [I’m] basically trying to explore that in my work. 

Do you see your work as a direct representation of you as an individual and your identity?

Yeah. I think it has to be. It’s an interesting question, because I have never thought about it not being that I guess. So it must be. 

How has the current world, this ‘new normal’ we are living in affected your work as a creative? Has it enhanced or hindered your work?

The thing is that I have been in school, right? Especially since Covid happened, the only thing that changed is that I was going to class and mingling with my peers and I had a studio on campus, and then we were relegated to distanced learning. Initially I had to change what I need, because I didn’t have access to the kind of space that I had in school. 

In a way it also makes you a little bit more introspective, because when I was in school I had my colleagues, and I had my professors walking in and kind of making the paintings with me because they come in [and] make comments, and you adjust accordingly. While now because you don’t really have eyeballs on your work all the time it forces you to go I think a little more inwards and pull things out. I think for me the change has been a self-direction. I say it’s forced self-direction because part of being in school is that you’re looking for that direction, and you’re looking to be challenged in that way. But because of Covid that hasn’t quite happened in the last 5-6 months. 

What do you hope this exhibition will do for you and your work as an artist moving forward?

I think I would love to have more people have conversations. And I guess the exhibition has more people seeing my work, right? Like you had said you hadn’t seen the work before and so having more people see the work and then engaging in the conversation is always helpful, because I’m not making this work just for me. So I would hope that all those conversations then helps the work grow and become something else as you move along. 

What do you hope people will take away from your artistry? Is there a particular message that you want to portray? 

No. Definitely for me I know what it is that I’m trying to get out of it. I would prefer to leave it a little bit open ended, rather than say that “Okay, this is what I am trying to convey”. I would rather leave it open ended because I think that’s how we live in any case. When we are confronted with visual things and even with writing, there isn’t that capability to always have the author or the artist translate what is going on. I would like for people to come to the work and take with it whatever they want to. And if it can do that, if it can relate to them in some way without me saying anything, then I guess that’s what I’m looking for.    

To view the full exhibition, visit artbasel.com 

All images courtesy of Pippy Houldsworth Gallery.

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Introducing ‘HOME’: A Black-Owned Creative Space by Ronan McKenzie

09.12.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Introducing a creative, multifunctional space made to hone in on artists of colour: this is ‘HOME’. Founded by creative director, photographer, and curator Ronan McKenzie, this accessible art space is built to house exhibitions and events from a diverse range of artists.

This black owned space is one of few, working from the inside out to fully understand and support other BAME artists. The space works as a ‘home away from home’ for creatives through uplifting the voices and work of artists that are often relegated to lower positions of influence and authority or simply cast aside in the art world. The team at HOME also prioritises accessibility and sustainability, through disability access needs built into the space and fabric eco-friendly alternatives to paper backdrops. By giving these artists access to equipment, expertise, and a safe place to create, HOME is moulding a new infrastructure entirely, one built on equity and empathy. 

The space features an array of equipment including an affordable daylight photo studio, an open workspace and a curated library where exhibitions will take place year round. Events that will be held in the space range from film nights, artists talks and portfolio reviews to supper clubs, life drawings, and music events. 

“Art spaces remain hierarchal and out of reach for most – especially BAME audiences, making entering artistic spheres extremely difficult and maintaining a place in them even harder. Drawing on my own experiences of showing work at institutions, and working across fashion and arts, I am all too aware of the difficulties of navigating creative industries as a black female, and amongst the current offering in London, there needs to be a HOME.” – Ronan McKenzie, Founder and Creative Director of HOME. 

HOME’s debut exhibition is titled: ‘WATA; Further Explorations’ a show by Joy Yamusangie and Ronan McKenzie. This exhibition launched digitally on November 28th and will run till February 9th

For more information on HOME, visit homebrym.space

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Wales Bonner launches AW20 Campaign “Lovers Rock”

03.12.2020 | Fashion | BY:

A dedication to dancehall – the fashion, the community and the music: Wales Bonner’s campaign is titled ‘Lovers Rock’; an ode to the work of British-Jamaican photographer John Goto. Photographed by Liz Johnson Artur, this line includes distinct pieces that hark back to the lively culture of the British youth in the 1970s: the donkey jackets, repurposed 1960s Saville Row tailoring, and moleskin double-breasted blazers adorned with found buttons. 

Based on the British-born music genre ‘Lovers’ Rock’, which was a style that used the softer notes of reggae to create this passionate sub-genre. The romantic musings that were found in the dancehall scene and the underground blues parties created a convivial connection between black and Asian communities; this is shown through the integrated Adidas and Wales Bonner collaboration. An eclectic mix of colours can be seen in the Adidas freizeit in crimson, ochre and emerald green. 

There is a heavy emphasis placed on Caribbean culture in the campaign, with mod jackets in two-tone tweeds and windowpane check mixed with crocheted sportswear silhouettes. The hand-knit beanies crafted in raw Scottish shetland wool, courtesy of Stephen Jones, reflects a strong Rastafarian presence. The military influence is also felt, with the inclusion of a tobacco gabardine cadet jacket and a navy twill pea coat fastened with Jamaican gold brass buttons. 

From the turtlenecks layered with tailored jackets, the ankle-length skirts matched with dark tights and knitted sweater vests, this launch is a love letter to the vibrant culture in 1970’s Britain.

To discover the full collection, go to WalesBonner.net

 Wales Bonner AW20 campaign, by Liz Johnson Artur

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Dior Thanksgiving celebration with Kat Graham

29.11.2020 | Art | BY:

Dior celebrates this Thanksgiving with actress Kat Graham, welcoming all into her beautifully decorated, convivial abode. To celebrate the holiday, Kat introduces her “famous” sweet potato gnocchi, glazed in a sage and cinnamon butter sauce. 

The delicious dish is presented on hand-painted faience plates from Dior’s Maison collection. This set of plates takes its inspiration from the beauty of wildflowers, and the spirit of Puglia, Italy. The designs echo the essence of the incoming 2021 Cruise Show by Maria Grazia Chiuri. 

Each dish mimics the designs of traditional tarot card images, bringing a touch of magic to every meal. Enjoy the holidays with the warming and homely energy this set emits. 

View the full collection at Dior.com

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Marni Presents: Holiday Glassware Collection

24.11.2020 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Introducing a limited edition collection of sophisticated coloured glassware by Marni. The holiday edition includes kaleidoscope patterns that are offered in vases, glasses and carafes. Inspired by nature, each piece of glassware is made to be one of a kind: unique in shape and beautiful in design.   

The selection is formed by two Columbian artisans who work in harmony, using local traditions to forge the eccentric pieces. Recycled glass is used in the process with the hodgepodge of fragments representing the unpredictable, raw, and creative essence of Marni. This collaboration yields a variety of tones and unexpected shapes, with warm and homely functionality. 

Each vase is carefully crafted, taking up to two hours of steady workmanship to create one. The chords that are used to mould the goblets and tumbler glasses, brings about alluring dances of colour in the mixed glass. The line of carafes and glasses are smoothed over, also producing refined colour combinations. 

The pieces take on the meticulous and intricate workings of the craftsmen; the singularity of the construction process can be seen in each design. The glassware physically embodies a material metamorphosis: from glass shards to artistic centrepieces. 

This line will be available in select boutiques around the world at the end of November. 

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Prada’s Holiday Campaign: ‘A Stranger Calls’

06.11.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Prada unveils their holiday campaign ‘A Stranger Calls’, which showcases their pieces through a black and white avant-garde narrative. Photographed by Steven Meisel and based on the works of best-selling author Candice Cathy-Williams, the campaign is not one to miss. 

The story surrounds four protagonists and one mysterious stranger, set in an isolated villa in Italy. All characters originate from the Prada Universe, starring Freja Beha, Maty Fall, Mao Xiaoxing, Rudolfs Valbergs and Merlijne Schorren. 

“Cinema suggests shifting focus and points of emphasis: here, details of Prada accessories are pulled into macro-scale. Like plot-points, or clues to an unknown mystery, they dominate the frame, drawing attention – before Meisel’s lens, they become characters in themselves,” reads the press release.

The spotlight is placed on the new Prada Cleo handbag which was debuted in the Prada Multiple Views SS21 show and featured in the Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear collection. 

The Cleo line utilises classical Prada styles to give way to pieces that perfectly coalesce classicism and futurism. The accessories include reworked traditional jewels in silver and gold with tourmaline, and the emblem appearing on a delicate chain, necklaces and chandelier earrings. 

“This campaign – and these Prada accessories – explore emotion, intrigue, attraction and, ultimately, desire.” – Prada

For more information about the campaign and the collection visit Prada.com

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