Photos

Interview: Folasade Adeoso Talks Digital Art, Destiny's Child & Tumblr

Folasade Adeoso is more than 'just a model' she's a artist taking the blogosphere by storm with her digital reappropriations of colonial and fashion photography


Fola, Mother Nature The Overseer of My Journey (The Child's Point of View) (2013)

Folasade Adeoso is something of an online sensation. Fashion blogs love her, and in the blogosphere her work as a model with New York photographers like Kwesi Abbensetts and Barron Claiborne picks up thousands of likes, reblogs and shares. But there's another side to Fola, a side that doesn't "want to smile for your Nikon." For years she's been creating digital art on her computer and using the internet as a platform to exhibit. Her most recent pieces rework photographs which tumbl across her dashboard to create compelling digital art. Using precisely drawn lines and .gif animation Fola overlays Grace Jones' eyes with flashing flowers or obscures the face of an anonymous man cradling a child with a bouquet of spring flowers. Not wanting contemporary artists' work to unduly influence her, she studiously avoids their work, yet her reappropriation of ethnographic photographs seems particularly zeitgeist and situates her within the conversations surrounding colonial imagery and the new paths of circulation it finds in our internet age. Fola came to the Okayafrica offices to talk about her digital art, tumblr and Destiny's Child. Click through for the conversation accompanied by a gallery of her work.

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Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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