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Focus on your dream, 2019, Acrylic and silk screen print on canvas, 130 x 110 cm / Image: Courtesy of the artist and OOA Gallery, Barcelona

Boris Anje Tabufor (*1993), whose artist name is Anjel, is an artist based in Duala, Cameroon. In his work he is dedicated to shaping multifaceted, beautiful black bodies, as empowered and confident individuals. His use of radiant colours, overall patterns and highlighted consumer and popular culture makes his Neo-Pop pieces stand out. His painting style is reminiscent of the Old Masters, paying attention to detail by delicately forming wrinkles, creases and shining, smooth skin. Mainly working with acrylic paint on canvas, however, his fascination with Warhol’s Pop Art can be felt by his use of silkscreen as an artistic technique.

Developing a passion for art early in life, and having the privilege to receive early drawing lessons from his artist cousin Samuel Njomke, Anjel moved on to study drawing and painting at the Institute for Fine Art in Foumban, Cameroon, where he gained his master’s degree in fine art in 2018. …


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Book cover of my copy — illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Kinky curly hair “has a mind of its own”. The protagonist Zuri of Matthew A. Cherry’s children’s book “Hair Love” says this about her own hair. All those, who have kinky curls or coils, know that this is true. Especially those who are of African descent and recognize their hair as 4c know that maintaining healthy, beautiful hair can be a struggle, even more so if it grows long.

For some, dealing with their curls day in and day out might have developed into a love-hate relationship. As beautiful as curly hair is — ranging in types from 3a to 4c — it takes up a lot of time to keep it that way. For the longest time curls and particularly tight, kinky curly hair has been deemed as unattractive by most beauty industries and societies around the globe. The promotion of hair straighteners and hair relaxers has been especially aimed at young girls and women over many generations, which has led countless women to dislike their hair and damage it in an attempt to transform it into long, straight hair. …


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Constant III, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 140 cm / Image courtesy of the artist and Afriart Gallery

Sungi Mlengeya is a Tanzanian self-taught artist, who has chosen, only recently in 2018, to follow her life-long passion of creating art, leaving her career in finance in the past in order to pursue her artistic career. Even though Mlengeya’s work is based on a minimalistic approach to figurative painting, her pieces speak a vigorous and clear language of empowerment.

Using acrylic paint on canvas, the artist creates beautiful black bodies, mainly women, whom she shapes from a reduced colour palette of black and dark browns. The bodies are delicately formed, with great care to create smooth unblemished skin. The female figures are often paired or in groups of several individuals. In the way the portrayed women vary in posture, position and relation to each other, their uniqueness is highlighted. Even though their skin tone is crafted from the same source of colours and appears identical — which creates a sense of togetherness or common bond — they are clearly distinguishable from each other. Each woman in her own right displays different bodily features: slim, sturdy, tall or short physique, upright or relaxed posture, oval or round face. …


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The Nigerian fashion label Imad Eduso is a women’s wear brand based in the country’s metropole, Lagos. The brand name is the creators given name, Dami Osude, spelled backwards — a twist that seems to herald the exceptionality of her designs. Established in 2015, the brand has found its unique voice in the crowd of fashion labels over the past five years.

The brand’s spring/summer 2020 collection boasts with extraordinary, bold designs in bright and riveting colours, like emerald green, mulberry purple, cobalt blue, magenta and sunny-sky blue.

The label has been noticed by high ranking celebrities, most notably by the Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong’o and the inspirational author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, most known for her bestseller novel Americanah. …


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Yaa Gyasi’s first novel “Homegoing” is an incredibly gripping, complex novel, revolving around the characters of a family tree that reaches back from present day to roughly 250 years in the past. Gyasi tells the story of these family members over several generations, while depicting the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on their history as well as its far-reaching consequences on their lives on Africa’s Gold Coast and in the US.

Gyasi was born in Ghana and then moved to the United States with her family as an infant. She got the idea for the novel on a trip back to Ghana’s Gold Coast, when she visited its still standing slave castle and heard its gruesome history. She learned how the slave traders lived in the top levels of the castle with the wives they had taken from the nearby villages and thus, basically living on top of the slaves, who were crammed into the castle’s dungeons in inhumane conditions and waiting to be shipped of to the American continent.¹ …


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Book cover of my copy — illustration by Vashti Harrison

The Hollywood actress, Lupita Nyong’o, published her first children’s book last year in cooperation with illustrator Vashti Harrison. The decision to embark on this journey was a deeply personal one as she states in the author’s notes at the back of the book. The story is based on her own experiences as a child of being bullied and feeling ugly, because of her dark skin. Now she wants to spare young black children the agony of feeling unworthy of love, simply on grounds of their skin colour. …


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We Need New Names by Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo, whose birth name is Elizabeth Zandile Tshele, is a magnificently written novel about the turbulent life of a young girl named Darling.

The author has gained widespread recognition with this novel being shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize. Among other accolades, Bulawayo has been awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship, National Book Award’s “5 Under 35”, Guardian First Book Award, Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.¹

The first part of the novel We Need New Names centres around the protagonist Darling and her group of friends growing up in Zimbabwe during the 2000s. As the novel is written from the girl’s perspective, the reader sees the world through her young and scarcely educated eyes. Bulawayo writes the text in a way that reflects the girl’s limited means of expressing herself and her lack of understanding of the political turmoil surrounding her as well as the grander events moving the global community. Only grasping bits and pieces of the news they hear, the group of friends invent games centred around big issues, without even understanding the significance of the topic. So they play “Find bin Laden”, without knowing the impact this Person had on the global community, and “country-game“, in which the highest goal is to get the country with the highest living standards. In their current living conditions and on the grounds of a lack of knowledge, they glorify the richer countries and imagine that the living standards for all people living there are equal — with equal opportunities for everyone. …


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“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.” (Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Chapter 20, p. 124–125)

My copy of this book has not been read only once and certainly does not look like it came fresh from the shelf. It rather looks like it is taking its title to heart. The edition is from 1982, and it has been my mother’s copy before she gave it to me. …


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Picture of my copy’s cover

White Teeth (2000) is the debut novel by author Zadie Smith.

The accomplished author is of mixed ethnicity, having a Jamaican mother and an English father. She grew up in Willesden, a north-west London borough of Brent. Since 2010 she has been a professor for Creative Writing at New York University.

White Teeth is a complex and gripping novel revolving around the ever present topics of race and identity in the multicultural city of London. When I came to that city for the first time during my time at University, I had a novel feeling that I had never had before — I disappeared in crowds. In Nigeria and Germany where I grew up, I always stood out due to being of mixed ethnicity and being neither really black nor white. I loved the city and the feeling of blending in. So I chose to do an internship at a Mayfair contemporary art gallery and stay for half a year. Very soon I realised that this initial feeling I had, did not apply to all places in London and especially not to all occupational fields. Working in the arts in Mayfair I again felt the very familiar feeling of standing out. …


Woman wearing rose coloured dress with ruffles
Woman wearing rose coloured dress with ruffles
Annastasya Frida Coulibaly wearing her label AFRIDA — Avec Plaisir

I would like to introduce you to the fashion label AFRIDA — Avec Plaisir. Designer Annastasya Frida Coulibaly used her two forenames to compose the label’s name AFRIDA. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that it’s spelling is close to the name of her home continent, Africa. Coulibaly, who creates beautiful feminine, extravagant and timeless designs, was born in Ivory Coast, West Africa, before she came to Germany as a young child. She was educated in Germany and studied psychology, when she realised that her heart belonged to fashion and creation. She chose to learn the tools of the trade by training to become a dressmaker in Frankfurt am Main. Her first official collection featured glamorous, tight fitting dresses made of black and gold glittering elastic fabrics paired with see-through materials and cutouts. However, the main bulk of her collection was made of African wax prints, with bright, striking colours. …

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Ashinedu Art Advocate

Promotion of Afrocentric Creative Content

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