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DAILY PAPER/ Amsterdam-based Streetwear Brand Allies Ghanaian Artist, David Alabo, For New Collection



AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, March 31, 2020/ – Amsterdam-based, African-owned streetwear brand, Daily Paper (men’s wear and women’s wear fashion brand established in 2012), has, in collaboration with Ghanaian visual artist David Alabo, premiered its limited edition capsule, “The Tarot Card” collection of high end t-shirts which is part of the brand’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

Categorically, the t-shirt features a unique design by Alabo “highlighting an Afro-Surrealism tarot card providing insight and guidance through symbolism and spiritual wisdom,” according to a press release from Daily Paper. The designs reflect Alabo’s artistic vision of using elements of fantasy and mysticism to critique African society.

Each item in the capsule collection features a unique tarot card design with a symbolic meaning. “The Magician” for instance, represents “spiritual development,” while “The High Priestess” design reflects “intuition, mystery, and sensuality.” The contemporary fashion brand is known for its ready-to-wear garments and accessories.

Daily Paper is inspired by the African heritage of its own founders, together with the passion for contemporary fashion, Daily Paper is known for its ready-to-wear garments and accessories, and is dedicated to promoting African culture by honoring the past and its influence on their vision of the future.

According to David Alabo, who lauded the efforts of the Amsterdam-based, African-owned streetwear brand, which is inspired by the African heritage of its own founders, for an marvellous collaboration revealed that, his aim in the art world is to push the boundaries and challenge the perception of Africa with fashion.

The company was founded by three friends, Hussein Suleiman, Jefferson Osei and Abderrahmane Trabsini. In the beginning the trio set up a blog whereby they occasionally sold T-shirts bearing their logo. The company subsequently grew and amplified into a major trendsetter. Although the blog was running in 2008, the company was founded in 2010 and established in 2012.

In 2015 they released a women’s clothing parallel. They particularly derived their design ideas from scenery in Kenya and other sub-Saharan African regions. In the same year, they branched out to diversify from casual wear to athletic and sportswear. In May 2015 they began releasing limited edition silhouette jackets.

Daily Paper has made it a point to collaborate with African artists and creatives. Last year, the brand linked with Nigerian superstar Wizkid for the limited edition STARBOY collection.

Arts & Culture

KFC, Vida Café Pledge Support To Veterans In The Creative Arts Industry Amid Covid-19 Pandemic



KFC Ghana (a member of the Mohinani Group ) has partnered Vida Café to donate items worth ¢15,000 to the aged and the sick in the creative arts industry.

Items include bags of rice, oil, tin tomatoes, and other foodstuffs.

According to KFC and Vida Café, this is their way of giving back to society.

Acting President of the Musicians Union Of Ghana, MUSIGA, Bessa Simons indicated that the Union was concerned about the veterans during the coronavirus pandemic, hence the gesture is much appreciated.

Minister of Tourism, Creative Arts, and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi extended appreciation to the donors for their support.

“The impact on the aged is severe. We appreciate what companies are doing for the creative arts industry. We want to take the steps to support the current people so they don’t go through what the aged went through. This will enable them to take care of themselves in the future.

“We are appealing for more support whilst they work to put the proper structures in place.

“We are also working on an insurance policy for practitioners in the industry. The current artistes will get the necessary support from now,” she said.

Mrs. Barbara Oteng Gyasi said she was hopeful of a great year, until coronavirus became a pandemic.

She is, therefore, urging all industry players to take advantage of the virtual space and social media platforms available.

“Use creative means to do great things to be able to put out the best when Covid-19 is over. The virtual space should be taken advantage of even though the industry will not derive much but they will support and make things happen for the industry,” she advised

President of the Creative Arts Council, Mark Okraku-Mantey also thanked the donors for their support for the industry. He asked institutions not to only focus on musicians but actors, as well as other sectors of the creative arts industry.

Other personalities present included, former Musiga President Diana Hopson, Administrator of Musiga Ahuma Bosco Ocansey, Scretary of the National Film Authority, Juliet Asante, Veteran musician Pat Thomas, Dela Hayes, Dr Mary Ghana and others.

Acting President of Musiga, Bessa Simons said the donation will be distributed equally among the aged, not leaving out those outside the capital, Accra.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the creative arts industry to a halt, thereby, making industry players lose a lot of money and revenue since there are no more concerts or movies.

Most industry players have had to resort to  online means of entertaining their fans and showbiz lovers.

– Doreen Avio/Joy News

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Arts & Culture

Ethiopia’s First Female Superhero Comic ‘Hawi’ Nominated for ‘Best Graphic Novel’



Founder of Etan Comics and Ethiopian writer,Beserat Debebe, has been been nominated for this year’s NOMMO Awards for African Speculative Fiction for his Hawi comic in the category of “Best Graphic Novel”. The Nommo Awards are presented in four categories namely “Best Novel”, “Best Novella”, “Best Short Story” and “Best Graphic Novel”. Hawi is the first female comic to ever come out of Ethiopia. Additionally, Debebe’s Jember, which was the country’s first ever comic, made it onto the long-list in the same category.

Hawi, as described in OkayAfrica’s interview with Debebe, “centers a female superhero, a young Ethiopian woman named Ement Legesse, who is tasked with having to rescue her mother after she’s abducted. The colorful visuals are stunning and showcase Debebe’s talented team of African artists and their unique ability to capture the vibrancy of Ethiopia. A story about returning to one’s roots and having the courage to rise above the challenges that come with seeking reconciliation and belonging, it’s one we can all relate to whether literally or figuratively.”

Following its wildly successful kickstarter which covered the remaining costs of production, Hawi has become a beloved work of art not just for Ethiopians but Africans across the continent and the diaspora.

Speaking about the recent nomination, Debebe says, “This is incredible.” He adds that, “I loved fantasy stories but I’d never considered myself as a writer. All I wanted was to see a story with places I recognize and characters that think like me. To see this journey balloon from a simple “what if” into a community of passionate fans is exciting and motivating. Last year, Nnedi Okorafor took this award for writing Shuri (Marvel’s Black Panther). She is a Hugo-Award winner. To be recognized as a finalist in the same category as her means so much.”

Writers who have been nominated for the NOMMO Awards in the past include Akwaeke Emezi, Biram Mboob and T.L. Huchu among several others.

– Rufaro Samanga/Okay Africa

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Arts & Culture

The Art Of Adire Gave This Textile Artist Global Fame



Textile artist Nike Davies-Okundaye worked as a construction laborer and carried water and firewood to survive. The art of adire gave her global fame and she is now educating generations of women in Nigeria.

There was no way Nike Davies-Okundaye could look the other way. For after all, she too had been a victim in her early teens. 

Too many women were being pushed down the traditional path of marriage and child-rearing in her country.

Born in 1951 in Ogidi-Ijumu, a small village in western Nigeria known for its spectacular rock formations and traditional art industry, Davies-Okundaye resolved to fight this practice four decades ago.

“By the age of 13, they wanted to marry me off because my father had no money. I had to run away from home and join a traveling theater. I said I didn’t want to marry and wanted to pursue art,” recalls the internationally-renowned Lagos-based artist.

Not wanting to become one of six wives to a minister, Davies-Okundaye found her escape through adire, the name given to the Yoruba craft of tie-and-dye where indigo-dyed cloth is made using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques. Growing up in a predominantly art and craft household, Davies-Okundaye is a fifth-generation artist who decided to take the craft seriously due to poverty.

“I had no money to go to school and the first education parents give you is to teach you what they do. So, when I finished primary six and I had no support to go to secondary school, I said to myself, ‘let me master art so I can teach other women to also use their hand to make a living through their own artwork’.”

Davies-Okundaye was forced to work in the male-dominated construction sector, carrying concrete in pans to builders in order to save one shilling, just enough to buy a yard of fabric to create what she called wall-hanging art.

Her goal was to use the traditional wax-resist methods to design patterned fabric in a dazzling array of tints and hues. The adire design is the result of hand-painted work carried out mostly by women and through that, Davies-Okundaye saw a way to help women to become economically empowered. After all, her first break in life came as a result of that.

“There was no other job I was doing apart from adire. I was lucky the American government came to Nigeria to recruit an African who will teach African Americans how to make traditional textiles or crafts in the state. That is how I was lucky and got picked.”

Davies-Okundaye was the only woman in a class of 10 men who were flown to Maine in northeastern United States in 1974. That is where her whole outlook on life changed.

“Before I went to America, I used to carry three drums of water every day and carry firewood to be able to survive. It was like a breakthrough in my life when I reached America. I said ‘is this heaven?’ I was the only woman in the class and all the men were learning women’s looms and I kept telling them ‘this is for women’ and they said ‘yes, in America, what a man can do, a woman can also do’.”

This was in stark contrast to what she knew to be true in Nigeria at the time.

“If your husband is an artist, you are not allowed to do art. In the 1960s, if your husband has a PhD, you are not allowed to also have a PhD. You had to give room for your husband to be your boss.”

She decided to beat those age-old stereotypes.

As one of 15 wives to her then-husband at the time, Davies-Okundaye, with her newfound knowledge gained in America, started a revolution at home. She encouraged the other wives to create their own art business using adire.

“I said ‘if you learn this, you can earn a living by yourself and get your power because your money is your power’ and that is how they also started learning it. I didn’t stop sharing the knowledge there. I gathered girls on the streets who were selling kola nuts and peanuts and started training them. I said ‘if this textile can take me to America, let me teach other people’,” says Davies-Okundaye.

And that has been her calling ever since. Davies-Okundaye is the founder and director of four art centers, which offer free training to 150 young artists in Nigeria in visual, musical and performing arts.

One of the centers is the largest art gallery in West Africa comprising over 7,000 art works.

“They used to get the police to arrest me because they said I was trying to teach feminism in Nigeria because I went to America. They said I was going to corrupt our Nigerian women but I believe God sent me to liberate a lot of women who have the passion for what makes them happy but are afraid to do it because of what people will say. I say do what makes you happy always!”

– Forbes Africa

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Arts & Culture

Gov’t Announces An Estimated US$ 1M Relief Fund For Creatives



NAIROBI – Wednesday, May 13, 2020/ – Following an executive order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 6 April and as part of its three-month “Together at Home” campaign, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage – Kenya has, on Monday, May 11, 2020, launched a 100 million Kenyan shilling ($940 000) stimulus package provided by the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund to support an estimated 20, 000 creatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the cabinet secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Amina Mohamed, artists, actors and musicians would be imbursed for the production of projects that is centred on creating awareness, sensitisation and providing educational content relating to the global pandemic, adding that, the produced content would be disbursed via various online platforms such as Kulture TV and other media outlets, including a mobile phone application to reach a widespread of less and well endowed. She made this revelation during a media encounter at at the Kenya Cultural Centre.

The cabinet secretary revealed that, the 100 million Kenyan shillings provision to the creatives is to aid the arts and culture practitioners, educate, innovate, sustain and improve their projects, as the “Together at Home” campaign will use entertainment to centralise three crucial aspects of our society, thus, the importance of new avenues for work, creative community education and sustained mental well-being for all Kenyans during this period.

Though the campaign will be spearheaded by several government agencies and departments, which are expected to release the criteria for engaging the creatives later this week, the Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) will implement the campaign in the music sector by engaging musicians and dancers.

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