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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.

>>>More Photos: Wallplay Presents NOT x Chris Saunders In NYC

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Samuel Fosso, Self Portrait, 1977. International Center of Photography, Purchase, with fundsprovided by the ICP Aquisitions Committee, 2004 (19.2004) © Samuel Fosso, Courtesy JMPatras/Paris

These Portraits by African Photographers Reveal the Power In Self-Presentation

We take a tour through the International Center for Photography's "Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection", which features influential works from Malick Sidibé, Zanele Muholi, Samuel Fosso and more.

The eyes of the young woman in Zanele Muholi's "Anele, 'Anza' Khaba," look as if they're staring directly into your soul. With her arms folded against her chest, it seems she might be putting a guard up or that they might simply be trying to look cool for the camera. With portraiture especially, how far you decide to read into something is up to you, as often, the line between a subject's desire for self-presentation and what the photographer themselves seeks to convey, isn't always clear. These are the types of observations that the "Your Mirror: Portraits from the ICP Collection", sparked in my mind as I strolled through the space with its Director of Exhibitions and Collections, Erin Barnett.

"You learn a lot about yourself and about other people by looking at portraits, but not always what you think you know," she says. We also learn a lot about the person behind the lens. The ICP's exhibit features works from photographers from across the globe, with the mission of surveying "the nuanced ways people present themselves for the camera, how and by whom they are represented, and who is deemed worthy of commemoration." The works of four prominent African photographers are included in the exhibition: the Malian icon Malick Sidibé, Cameroon's Samuel Fosso, along with South African photographers Zanele Muholi, and Lolo Veleko. Their photographs, the settings, and who they choose to document, give us a glimpse into their vision as much as it does the subjects in their photographs (which for Samuel Fosso, in this case, is himself.)

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Our guide to Blackness at this year's fair.

It's that time of year again. Art Basel is bringing its magic back to Miami. The annual art fair that showcases modern and contemporary art, is set to have more than 4,000 artists displaying work across all mediums. The Miami iteration of the week-long fair has become a space for artists, galleries, collectors and countless art lovers to connect, be inspired and party for the last 16 years.

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(Photo Courtesy of DIARRABLU)

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Who knew that math and fashion could work together so seamlessly? Apparently Diarra Bousso did, the self-described "Creative Mathematician" and mastermind behind DIARRABLU. The Senegalese serial entrepreneur and multidisciplinary artist left a career of trading on Wall Street to pursue design and it paid off. She has just been awarded a coveted spot as the Designer in Residence at the San Francisco Fashion Incubator for her innovative use of equations and algorithms in her beautiful designs.

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(Photo by Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)

Daniel Kaluuya Is Producing a Live-Action 'Barney' Movie with Mattel

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In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya is set to produce a live-action Barney movie in conjunction with Mattel Films. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the story.

Kaluuya will co-produce the film as part of his 59% production banner, which signed a first-look deal with Paramount back in May. Speaking on his involvement with the project and the impact of Barney & Friends, Kaluuya had this to say: "Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We're excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of 'I love you, you love me' can stand the test of time."

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