Art heals. art saves and art teaches; at least that is what I believe. I have been following a few artists whose work takes me to different worlds that I have imagined and the few that I have seen. I love how relatable all the painting are to me.
Michael W. Soi (1972) is a Kenyan artist who has been working in Nairobi since 1995 after completion of his fine art and art history studies. His work provides a photographic diary of Nairobi and other places. Michael Soi’s artwork satirically reflects some really interesting social, political and economical trends.
Too few fashion brands celebrate the curvy and big boned people. I was delighted to be invited to Suennel Style Fashion Show for the curvy women. The fashion show was in Kagiso in the west of Johannesburg and as I watched a collection of spring/summer and autumn winter outfits, I immediately developed ideas on how to style the outfits for this platform. Suennel Original is owned by Neliswa Motsuenyane, a young black woman from Kagiso. The collection had some bridal gowns which were amazing.
I fell in love with how these ordinary women looked in the amazing designs and how the unconventional fashion show was inclusive of everyone. To create this Afrikan Princess Edit, I decided to create the lookbook at an art studio owned by a good friend who is housed at August House in Johannesburg.
The lookbok was shot in an art studio because I wanted to merge painting and fashion design together as forms of art and show the beauty that they have separately as well as the beauty that comes out of their combination. The painter and artist Sanusi Olatunji works mostly with paper in his painting and I loved how the outfits complemented the art work in the studio,
Designer: Neliswa Motsuenyane @suennel_style
Stylist: Vuyiso Tshabalala @vuyiso_afrikanprincess
Assistant Stylist: Thobeka Mbane @thobekambane
Photographer: Vuyo Thloloe @erem_malo
Assistant to photographer: Shana Nkosi @shana.king
Make-Up Artist : Siyabonga Motsuenyane @ceedazz
Accessories: Lebo Visagie @lebo.visagie
Studio: Sanusi Olatunji Art @sanusiolatunjiart
This year Originally Kasified Clothing has been showing women’s collection starting with the Autumn/Winter collection that they showcased earlier this year at Soweto Fashion Week, which I absolutely loved. but by far this Spring/Summer collection inspired by elements of Art is my favourite.”Not only was it a part of this year’s plans but also because I’ve always wanted to make a womens wear collection since I’ve started showcasing at SFW and other shows. It gives me an ability to tell a story through the style that I’ve created in a more realistic and understandable way” , says Afrika Mabena the designer. He wanted to show his other creative side.
The collection is telling a story of a young woman who loves shopping. A clean example of someone who just got paid, looking all nice and classy, feeling herself and comfortable in her outfit. And all this happens in a mall, heading to her favourite shoe store, to pick up her favourite shoes…the rest of the story is just the imagination of how this fun concept ends. Afrika used lines, shapes and colours. The colour combinations of the outfits was amazing, it was the right amount of black and white and the equally amazing touch of mustard and burnt orange. the stripes and the blocks draw you to the collection and the colours keep you there. I imagine that it was fun for the models to wear these outfits and there is no doubt in my mind that I would have had a blast on the runway. There is nothing more sexy than an outfit that makes a woman looks stylish and still allows her to have fun and I believe that Afrika Mabena achieved style and fun in this collection.
All photos by Eunice Driver
I was first introduced to Bulbulia Threads on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg runway this August and I instantly fell in love with the brand and the amazing work done by Tasleem Bulbulia who has been in the fashion industry for over 20 years (If you ask me she does not look a day over 20). From the fashion week I loved how her show was styled, from headwraps to jackets over evening dresses. It all looked too cool. I was so thrilled when Tasleem granted me a chance to style her collection my way and I must say that I had fun playing a model for the day.
The moment I laid eyes on this pink shirt dress I was sold. For a girl who doesn’t like pink I really had fun wearing it with the colourful and very springy jacket. #ShirtDresses are the in thing and for me what was interesting was how I was gonna style it. I didn’t wanna go with the typical scandal or sneaker so I went for a high heeled ankle boot. The dress is really comfortable and I think Ghandi Square as a location really brought the STREET to my street style.
It made sense for these denim pants to be styled with my favourite printed jacket to make the look pop . I loved how comfy the pants are and the detailed buttons are everything.
Seeing this coat at the Bulbulia Threads studio meant that I just had to have it even though I was not sure how to style it. Thobeka and I decided to go with all black and just let the coat and headwrap stand out. This look made me feel like I was in a movie playing some superhero.
I really love this skirt. It is my second favourite and wearing it was loads of fun. It is full and it really turned heads in Ghandi Square. It looks like I just walked out of some movie set and I own an upmarket penthouse in Johannesburg. I had fun playing a model and now I truly believe that I can be an actress because of all the roles that I played in this shoot.
These pants are everything. Tight at the bottom but a little loose at the top allowing you to be comfortable while looking stylish.
Now this is my favourite look. I love how the yellow pops and goes so well with my skin tone. I could not wait to get into this show stopper of a dress. We styled it with Maasai beads and a shuka to make it more dramatic.
Photographer: George Lewis
Co-styling: Thobeka Mbane
Taking inspiration from the multiple cultures in South Africa, TN Collectiv’s bridal range Collectiv Culture caters for the western woman looking for a modern twist on traditional wedding dresses. Instead of creating looks that already exist, Collectiv Culture has taken what is currently available for brides looking for traditional wedding dresses and reinventing them by using different techniques, finishes and embellishments in order to introduce a new class of traditional wedding dresses. Without completely westernising the dresses, the core aesthetic for each culture was kept without compromising the traditional look so that they can be clearly translated, while staying true to the fashion needs for the modern bride. Part one of the range drew inspiration from the Ndebele, Xhosa, Tsonga, Swati, Zulu and Setswana cultures. Besides having a past working experiences with the all of the women in the bridal campaign, they are beautiful, hardworking and successful women in their own right. Making them the perfect embodiment of the brand and the ideal models for the campaign.
I feel like the collection was specifically made for these ladies as I cannot imagine another person wearing the wedding gowns that they are wearing. Before I was drawn to the dresses, I was first drawn to these ladies and felt that they belong in those dresses and nowhere else. I love that these wedding dresses have evolved with time but there are still embracing our cultures. I think it is safe to say that Africans are moving away from “White Wedding” and I love that. We are beautiful and our cultures are too beautiful, it really warms my heart to see fashion designers like Tuelo Nguyuza showing the African bride that they don’t need to walk down in a white wedding gown in order to be considered beautiful.
Photos by According to Jerri
Accessories: by NtoZinhle Accesorise
Last night NN Vintage wowed fashion lovers with a star-studded showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg in Sandton. I was eager to see what NN Vintage had in store for us because I have always been impressed by their previous collections. I really relate to the garments and I am definitely the kind of woman who wears and understands NN Vintage. The African Queen trend has really taken over with women all over Africa embracing headwraps and really taking pride in their cultures. NN Vintage keeps up with the times and the collection is modern and played a lot with stripes, grays and a pop of colour just to brighten it up.
What stood out for me is that the showcasing was more than the fact that the Queens are proud of who they are. African queens love each other, they dance together, the have fun together and they generally encourage each other. African Queens uplift each other and provide opportunities to each other. That is what the African Queen trend is all about and I believe that the celebrities who walked for Nhlanhla Nciza’s show cemented the fact that African Queens support each other and they are happy for the other’s successes.
All images by AFI
Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi made their label debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg last night in Sandton. It truly was a great collection with lots of colour from the garments themselves and the choice of make-up. It’s a chilled back collection for a woman who loves to look great but still look simple. I loved the collection and the accessories complemented it very well. The Cleopatra inspired wigs were also highlight for many, especially me as I imagined what I would look like in one. It will be interesting to see Nandi and Inga grow as fashion designers because last night they certainly proved that they have the talent.
All photos by AFI
Fashion Design label Hauz of Lenze has released their SS16/17 lookbook and it is all about celebrating women.
As the Spring /Summer season unravels.Hauz of Lenze apologetically tells a story about his SS16/17 collection for the women themed “Enough is my new freedom” he uses fashion to express a feeling or experience that many fear to speak about because of fear of loosing that someone or the ‘What if I told the world’ but on this journey we see how Hauz of Lenze’ uses fashion to mend that caged and broken heart..letting him or her know that there is still love and I mean genuine love out there. She finally finds true love and remarries as the story unfolds.
He shot the door and walked away leaving me bruised…
Shattered and naked.
My self-worth, loyalty was stripped off minute after minute
Until there was nothing left in my personality,
I was almost losing the meaning of being a woman,
My feminity had reached its expiry date.
I felt empty, trapped in a world I called love..
Yet I never forgot about that strong and great woman I was growing to become,
That powerful woman lived inside a soul that had been insulted, emotionally beaten, called worthless names,
Waiting for that day resurrection would knock on her caged soul and set it free
That day when the power of light will cause darkness to lose its dignity,
Then the light will shine through her soul ones again bringing her hope and believe for a better life and a new journey to endless possibilities …
Today I stand next to my possibilities
Because that strong and powerful woman has been reborn..
And saying “ENOUGH” to all these bruises is the only way my new strong,
Powerful me can be separated from the “Darkness” I was ones called
Don’t let loyalty become slavery, let your story inspire and change lives..
ENOUGH is My New FREEDOM
Artists in Africa have been documenting their work in the best way possible. I love what their art does to me when I look at it. They produce art that is easy to relate to us African children and they capture it in the best possible. I have seen so much beauty in the work of these African artists, I have seen a beauty that I would have otherwise missed should I have been watching their subjects with my naked eye. One artist whose painting speak to my heart is Qhamanande Maswana a 24 year old Fine Art graduate from the Eastern Cape whose passion for art began when he was still in high school.
Culture is very much a driving force behind Qhamanande’s paintings, one cannot help but engage with the subjects in his paintings. My favourite painting is of a woman who looks absolutely amazing with flowers as her crown and her eyes are so intense and I feel like I can see what she is seeing even though she is facing the side and her cheek bones are beautiful bandla! Qhama says that he only paints when he is inspired and that he works hard at being inspired. I like that he just doesn’t sit and say today I am not inspired so I will not be painting. You have to get out and seek inspiration even from the smallest of things. Qhama boasts about being different from other artists because his work has a cultural feel to it which is inspired by his young days in the rural areas and he enjoys painting females because he grew up among females and he feels that the body gestures and expressions of females makes it easy to tell how they are feeling at that particular time.
The aim for my art is to engage the viewer with the roots and beauty of black people’s culture in South Africa as it has a modern and spiritual approach which is meant to take the viewer through the daily life of black Africans.I paint only when I’m inspired and I work hard at being inspired every day, if something touched my soul enough for me to paint it, the chances are there is someone out there who may feel the same because I think as an artist it is my job to inspire people What I enjoy doing the most is female portraits it might be because I grew up being surrounded by female siblings. Females, with their gentle, caring features filled with love. Their body gestures and facial expression makes it easy to tell what one was feeling or going through at that particular moment, and those expressions I capture to tell a story through my artworks.- Qhamanande Maswana
Qhamanande Maswana’s biggest highlight was when he was commissioned to do a portrait of Doctor Mangosuthu Buthelezi for the Fort Hare University Centenary celebrations and when he had a solo exhibition at the Arts on the Lain in Berea East London. As a consumer of art I tend to like art pieces that speak to me and pieces that I can relate to in one form and another. Qhama works hard in developing paintings that speak to both him and the consumer of his art and he loves to show the beauty that is in Africa. Part of his painting process goes into researching a specific theme that he wants to create as he does not want to just capture an image but he also wants to give the image life. Tools are also important for the painting process, pen and ink are great for strong detailed lines while oil paints are used to capture colour and form; and fast drying acrylic paints are for projects that need to be completed quickly.” Africa inspires most of my art, the beautiful people, their full lip and thick hair, their amazing skin tone. I am inspired by the strength of the people and I see royalty in all of them, my artwork speaks, not only for me but for people who were long silenced”, says Qhama.
You can order Qhamanande’s work from Qhama Maswana Art
Unilever has reaffirmed its commitment to improve the lives of millions of South African children through a new integrated brightFuture Schools Programme. The company held an exhibition at Shine Studios in partnership with the creative trio I See A Different You.The exhibition displayed portraits of young schoolchildren from Carter, Skeen, Gordon, M.C Weiler and Emfundisweni Primary Schools in Alexandra, alongside drawings they had created of their dreams for the future. Their ambitions ranged from doctors and nurses to soccer players and astronauts.
The purpose of the exhibition was to raise awareness of the new brightFuture Schools Programme by highlighting how the ambitions of South African children are sometimes beyond their reach, due to circumstances out of their control, such as poor sanitation. I See a Different You are known for their distinctive style and optimistic portrayal of South African people and stories. Justice Mukheli from I See a Different You spoke about their work on the exhibition. “We thought this would just be another shoot, but when we started working with the kids, they really blew us away. They are so smart and so curious. They have such big ambitions. The experience reminded us of when we were young and encouraged us to stay youthful and inspired.”
Unilever currently has successful schools programmes running in hundreds of schools, using their brands with purpose, but these have never been integrated. To date, Domestos has reached over 480 000 South African school children through the “Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Future” and Germ-busters Club programmes.Lifebuoy’s ‘School of 5’ programme has reached over 2 million children and 10 million South Africans in total.
Now, the Unilever brightFuture Schools Programme will integrate these programmes as well as two others, to create one holistic offering, incorporating health and hygiene education and Maths skills.
Unilever South Africa Executive Vice President, Peter Cowan spoke about the importance of collective action within the Unilever brightFuture Schools Programme.
“Our vision is to create a bright future for all South Africans, reaching 15 million people by 2020. We can’t do that alone. Our partnerships with UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education will allow us to scale up the work we’ve been doing to address some major problems and create an even bigger impact. This is a watershed moment where we are all taking action to achieve real change.”
Gauteng MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi who also attended the event, said, “Through this partnership, we welcome the commitment of Unilever and UNICEF in this endeavor. We need to do all we can to give young people the skills and education they need to reach their full potential. We know that many of our schools are having difficulty with sanitation issues and through these programmes, we can teach children good hygiene habits that will allow them to be at school and get the education they need.There must be no child in South Africa who can’t realize their dreams due to limitations that can be defeated.”
The brightFuture Schools Programme will start piloting in 31 schools in KZN, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo over the next five months. It will integrate the Domestos and Lifebuoy health and hygiene programmes, a new oral hygiene programme from Pepsodent and the popular Omo Smart Kids Maths programme. Children will complete a 21-day behavior change programme and will receive product and content to complete tasks at school and at home with their families. This broadens the reach of the education so that, ultimately this pilot has the potential to reach over 100 000 community members.