Best of 2017 stories

A few of the stories I was humbled to write during 2017. Look forward to meeting, interviewing and working with some more amazing people. You can click on the images to read. Advertisements

5 gender smashing designers from South Africa you should know

A growing crop of young designers from the continent are defining sexuality on their own terms and rejecting western stereotypes of how and what Africans should be. Take Rich Mnisi, his floating fabrics… Continue reading

Home boy, Street artist Donk London

Mixing photocopying, illustration and printmaking, Donk London’s paste ups and murals are steeped in the time, place and city that evoked them.

Being a global Nigerian – the images of photographer Ima Mfon

“I’ve always liked photography,” says Ima Mfon, on his brave decision to quit a successful job in IT and graduate with a Masters in Photography. “I got to a point where I wasn’t… Continue reading

Chale Wote: Ghana street art festival

Ghana’s Chale Wote street art festival is back and this year’s theme is Spirit Robots. Now in its sixth year, more than 200 artists will descend on Accra’s James Town. The free festival… Continue reading

Ghana Street Photography

  These images will put a smile on any face. A group of snap happy London photographers – Charlie Kwai, Chris Lee and Paul Storrie – have collated street photographs taken while travelling… Continue reading

The sneakers made from plastic ocean waste

It’s very rare that I feature fashion on this site, much less footwear, but Adidas’ eco-friendly sneakers deserve the exception. Its limited edition shoes are made from recycled plastic ocean waste and is… Continue reading

Nigerian Photographer Abraham Oghobase

Nigerian photographer Abraham Oghobase’s conceptual and experimental photography is a response to many things he says, but with one overarching theme, “purpose” and identity against the social and political developments happening within Nigeria’s… Continue reading

Afrofuturist menswear Ikiré Jones

The Afrofuturist menswear brand Ikiré Jones spare no punches in its latest editorial detailing asylum seekers living in Italy. “Did you sneer at your newspaper headlines over a warm breakfast, and curse your… Continue reading

11 African artists to know on Instagram

Following the buzz created from February’s Social Media Week Lagos – now in its fourth year, here is my list of the most interesting African artists to follow on Instagram. Along with Tumblr… Continue reading

Tibetan artist Pema Rinzin

Artist Pema Rinzin introduced the world to traditional Tibetan painting. Often borrowing from thangka technique, a type of traditional Tibetan painting on cotton, or silk, Rinzin’s work is inimitable for its delicacy. Watch… Continue reading

Temporary housing: how cities plan for mass migration

In 2013, typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines killing over 6,000 people. The country witnesses about 20 typhoons a year, with efforts focused on temporarily housing and evacuating those left in the aftermath.… Continue reading

Tomgirl: the 7-year-old rejecting gender categorisation

Jayden Smith has catapulted gender fluidity into the news recently through a womenswear campaign for Louis Vuitton. Now filmmaker Jeremy Asher Lynch invites us into the world of Jake. As a normal 7-year-old… Continue reading

South African Performance Artist Athi-Patra Ruga

Performance is one of the most difficult mediums an artist can step into. Riddled with pitfalls there are so many ways work can be misinterpreted or simply lost in translation. This is what… Continue reading

Victo Ngai’s Chinese influenced Illustrations

Her name may not be instantly familiar but chances are you would have seen Victo Ngai’s colourful illustrations adorning pages in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Washington Post. Or perhaps… Continue reading

Documenting social inequality in Mozambique

The fluidity of power and social inequality are main drivers in Mario Macilau’s images. The Mozambique photographer’s often thematic series of images were described by London’s Saatchi gallery as ‘a narrative by means… Continue reading

Photography: Capturing life in Nigeria’s Borno State post Boko Haram

Almost two years after more than 200 girls went missing in Chibok, part of Nigeria’s Borno State, Boko Haram remains prevalent in the area. The world has moved on, but the girls remain… Continue reading

Fabrice Monteiro’s Surreal Photographs on Climate Change

Fabrice Monteiro is a Senegal based artist. His images uncanny and occasionally science fiction in nature confront the darkest parts of humanity. Check out his prophecy project – a collaboration with Senegalese costume… Continue reading

Screen prints at Somerset House

Somerset House has teamed up with Print Club London to produce a series of limited edition screen prints inspired by films being shown during August’s Film4 Summer Screen. This is the third time… Continue reading

Tweets As Art

Continuing on a digital theme. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has turned his archive of tweets into a new medium of artistic expression by printing them onto rice paper. Ai Weiwei’s views on government… Continue reading

What should news look like?

The impact that blogging and social media has made on traditional journalism is astonishing. Once the privilege of the very few – a profession hard to infiltrate – tweeters and bloggers have decimated… Continue reading

Dotting the Lines: vintage album covers using shapes and typography

Take a look through the personal collection of Seattle-based Jive Time Record’s homage to album covers featuring geometric shapes and typography. The store specialising in used vinyl records has created an online gallery… Continue reading

Deconstructing Dalston’s Ridley Road Market

Lorenzo Vitturi does interesting things with food. His photographs may not leave you salivating but marveling at the sculptural forms with which his compositions take. Vitturi lives near Dalston’s Ridley Road Market and… Continue reading

Film poster designs – the first 100 years of black cinema

Reel Art Press has delved into the archives of the black film industry to produce a visual feast of iconic posters from the past 100 years. The coffee table book containing over 35,000… Continue reading

Defining Egypt: Artist Sherin Guirguis

For LA-based artist Sherin Guirguis, Mashrabiyas could be used almost as metaphors between private and public identities. “It’s always about the private ideas that are nurtured in [these] spaces that then explode onto… Continue reading

Modern Africa : 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair

Having already introduced some of the exhibitions that are giving a platform to contemporary African art this month, next we focus on Somerset House’s 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair running alongside Frieze Week. The name… Continue reading

Graphic Africa

Contemporary African art is coming into its own and burgeoning right now. As a result there are a few exhibitions happening in London showcasing the most inventive artists from the continent. Many are… Continue reading

Love and other Demons – Great novels exploring the darker side of Love

Love can sometimes be a little brutal, here’s a rundown but by no means a comprehensive list of some of the great novels exploring the other side of love… Making Love – Jean… Continue reading

South African Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa

Legendary South African Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa recently completed a solo exhibition at New York’s Jack Shainman Gallery last month. Growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, the photographer has been concerned with documenting the… Continue reading

Street art duo STATIC

Last summer I caught up with East-London based creative duo STATIC via skype to discuss some of the ideas behind their artwork, and exhibition ‘Moments of Clarity’ that took place at Whisper Gallery.… Continue reading

Judging a book by its cover

   January is very much the time when people take time to reflect. And in the spirit of things, I thought I’d dig out an old interview I did with David Pearson on… Continue reading

5 of the best Art and Design blogs by African and Diaspora Artists

Often the best inspirations come from wasting time surfing the net. And there’s a lot of good stuff out there. And as is traditional this time of year, the media is salivating and… Continue reading

Everything Was Moving

Often termed the cultural decade, the mid 60s to mid 70s saw huge changes in terms of both political and cultural freedom. An amazing 32 African countries fought for freedom against European colonial countries… Continue reading

BHM: Windrush Style Block

   Never usually feature fashion here but this is an important event worth highlighting. Instead of showcasing her new collection at London Fashion Week in September, Georgina Harley-Smith dedicated it to the 50th… Continue reading

London Design Festival: Nicola Hume, Listen Here

Exhibiting at 100% Design as part of the London Design Festival that took place last week, Nicola Hume’s “Listen Here” project allows locals to share live sounds from the city with tourists. Locals… Continue reading

Interface exhibition at Rook and Raven

Rook and Raven gallery is holding an exhibition of five artists working with alternative materials to produce large portraits. The line up consists of Nick Gentry, Cain Caser, James Dawe, Pam Glew and… Continue reading

Quazimotto on Wax: Photographer J Quazi King

J. Quazi King is a Brooklyn based fashion and lifestyle photographer rapidly gaining a phenomenal fan base despite having started in photography just two years ago. Focusing on portraiture, the ex- fashion stylist… Continue reading

Art of the People

To some it must seem like a heady transition propelled by Banksy. But the journey street art made from the painted wall, to graffiti, to stencil and finally established galleries has been a… Continue reading

Bevan Agyemang

Take a look through the works of photographer Bevan Agyemang. The 27-year-old works for men’s online fashion store Oki-ni.com. Of Ghanaian descent his personal works express the effects of multiculturalism in self-representation and… Continue reading

Pick Me Up at Somerset House

At a fix for what to do next weekend? Stroll over to Pick Me Up at Somerset House. Whilst the second year of Pick Me Up was a bit of let down, the… Continue reading

Selfridges’ Words Words Words Extravaganza

The very lovely people at It’s Nice That and The Idler Academy have collaborated with Selfridges for its Words Words Words event celebrating the power of the written word. From the 12th of… Continue reading

AACDD: Titi Abiola

Juxtaposing Japanese and African influences, British textile designer Titi Abiola’s works use bold eclectic colours with astonishing detail. Often a product of wild experimentation her works are heavily influenced by old crafts and… Continue reading

London Design Festival: Nick Fraser

Over the last five years climate change has definitely been on the collective agenda of designers. And with recycled products a hot commodity, every design studio wants to show just how debonair they… Continue reading

London Design Festival: Uncle Oswald is My Hero

It’s actually the third time exhibiting at 100% Design for Korean design duo Jinsop Lee, and Justin Kim, the guys behind the coolly named Uncle Oswald is My Hero. But the seamless beauty… Continue reading

Child’s Play: Children’s animation in Africa

Nigerian animator Adamu Waziri is single-handedly re-igniting children’s entertainment from his studio in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. Frustration at the lack of children’s cartoons showing positive images of the African continent, led him to… Continue reading

The London Design Festival

It is that time again – the biggest event in London’s creative calendar. Hundreds of events are expected to take place across the capital over a packed nine days, with the V&A being… Continue reading

Peter Saville on Helvetica and Typography

Recognised for his record cover designs for Joy Division and New Order, Peter Saville talks about the evolution of typography and the appeal of Helvetica… Do you believe there is a historical consciousness… Continue reading

Nick Gentry at Selfridges

Ever wondered what to do with your old floppy discs, VHS tapes, Polaroid and cassettes? Well I’m pretty sure Nick Gentry pondered over the same question, before deciding to transform them into cyborg-like… Continue reading

Rites of Life at More London Riverside

For more than seven years Swedish photographer Anders Ryman has travelled the world documenting the rituals people take to celebrate the various stages of transitions through life. The resulting product has been turned… Continue reading

Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America

This is an exhibition that actually took place last month at Rivington Place but the collection has now been digitised for online viewing. A very macabre and grim experience but well worth taking… Continue reading

Why Cameras? Not Bread? Photography Exhibition

A new exhibition at London’s Strand aims to give a glimpse of Africa through children’s eyes. By giving children living in Zambia cameras to capture aspects of their everyday life, South Korean Cumca project… Continue reading

BP Portrait Award

Not quite sure what it is about the National Portrait Gallery but you could easily pop in intending to stay half an hour tops and end up spending three hours out of sheer… Continue reading

C215 Borderline Show

Street artist C215 has been busy bombing the streets of Rome with his Caravaggio-inspired artworks. The French artist’s Borderline show at East London’s Signal gallery will catalogue these recent feats and explore the… Continue reading

Nobuyoshi Araki Interview Part 1 and 2

Not technically current, in fact its several years old, but this interview with Tokyo-born photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is great viewing pleasure for anyone wishing to gain an insight into his works. Influenced by Shunga, the… Continue reading

Designers for Japan

Designers for Japan is a collaborative effort between designers, photographers, and imagemakers from around the world to create posters for sale in aid of relief efforts in Japan. The brief for the artworks… Continue reading

Mending Broken Hearts Art Appeal

The effects of the recession are being felt by all; but even more so by the organisations that rely solely on our “spare cash”. Charities are thinking cleverly about fundraising. Now more than… Continue reading

Good 50×70

Following on from my previous post on designers collaborating with charities, focus is on Italian based poster project Good 50×70, an annual contest in which seven charities provide a brief on a global… Continue reading

Design For Haiti

Until recently the words ‘designer’ and ‘fundraising’ were rarely uttered in the same sentence. But the events of Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, followed by the Japan Tsunami changed all that. What followed… Continue reading

Yoruba mythology gets graphic

Lagos based graphic designer Ola Olowu has created a stunning piece of work based on old Nigerian mythology. The recently released graphic novel Man, Myth and Legend – Shàngó, is a visual feast.… Continue reading

Ghana by Numbers

To most, Ghana is famous for one thing chocolate. But there’s more to this West African nation than Fairtrade cocoa. It has art, music and dance. Here’s a brief summary of the country… Continue reading

Vinyl Factory opens pop-up store

Concept stores seem to be all the rage now. And in these economic times with capricious customers obsessively fingering their hard-earned pennies dubiously, it’s always good to make it temporary. So in steps… Continue reading

Change in direction for Banksy protégé

Artist Eelus’ decision to move away from street art is creating quite a stir. He explains the reason behind his change in direction, the future of street art, and that papercut book cover… Continue reading

From Book to Silver Screen

The much-anticipated film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood received mixed reactions this month from cinema goers. But what makes a good film adaptation and why? The films that survived the journey… Continue reading

Mark Blamire, Helvetica and Trainspotting

So Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting celebrated its 15th anniversary last month. The film’s posters were designed by Rob O’Connor and Mark Blamire originally of Stylorouge. Mark Blamire explains some of the decisions behind the… Continue reading

Pick Me Up

Illustrator James Graham will be showcasing some of his designs at Somerset House’s Pick Me Up graphic art fair in March. He regularly contributes illustrations for Esquire magazine.

Wide open walls of Gambia

                            On a clear October morning, street artist Eelus is painting under the baking heat of the great African sun.… Continue reading

Love is Dark

Cleverly situated amongst Bloomsbury’s art students and book designers, Darkroom London boasts a dedicated army of followers rapidly growing in numbers. The brainchild of Rhonda Drakeford, co-founder of graphic design studio Multistorey, and… Continue reading

Penguin goes Art Deco

Coralie Bickford-Smith is senior cover designer at Penguin Classics. Her latest designs are the sell-out special edition series of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels. What did you want to achieve with the F. Scott… Continue reading

Street Art In The Gambia

Graffiti artist Eelus is curating an art project called Wide Open Walls to encourage sustainable tourism in Gambia. Along with seven other artists they intend to create some stunning murals and set up… Continue reading

Tourism has been a curse and credit to the Maasai

Often referred to as the most famous tribe in East Africa. You can’t help but wonder how much tourism has helped this indigenous group in Kenya. After visiting Nairobi, I felt incredibly sorry for… Continue reading