The Best African Art In 2014
Okayafrica looks back at the best African art in 2014, featuring work by Wangechi Mutu, Emeka Ogboh, Omar Victor Diop and more.
NOT x Chris Saunders, Jenny Lai & Chris Saunders (USA / South Africa)
Macdonald Mfolo. Dennis Chuene. NOT X Chris Saunders, 2014.
In January of 2014, New York-based designer Jenny Lai traveled to Johannesburg to team up with South African photographer and filmmaker Chris Saunders, the same director behind Nozinja's "Tsekeleke," which we recently crowned one of our Top Videos of 2014. Lai is the founder of NOT, an experimental womenswear brand that defines itself by its own definition of the word "not." According to the label, "not" is "the space around the solid and tangible, the hidden spaces within the folds of the clothing, and the open spaces where you reveal yourself surprisingly. It negates the solid and tangible in favor of space, imagination, and movement."
Together Lai and Saunders set out to showcase "cultural reinvention" through a fashion-meets-photography experiment entitled NOT x Chris Saunders. Moving across Joburg, Orange Farm, Soweto and Cape Town, the collaborators linked with four South African hyper-creatives to creatively interpret Lai's NOT garments. The group included accessories designer Dennis Chuene (who founded Vernac Bags), vintage clothier Dr. Pachanga, menswear designer Floyd Avenue (from the Smarteez in Soweto), and Pantsula dance costumer/puppeteer Macdonald Mfolo. Their work, displayed as a selection of re-interpreted NOT garments along with Saunders' images and final cuts documenting the collaboration, debuted back in September at NYC's "global art campaign space" Wallplay. Visit Another Africa for their exceptional coverage of the project, including interviews with Lai and Saunders, Floyd Avenue, Macdonald Mafolo, Manthe Ribane, Dennis Chuene, and Dr. Pachanga.