Arts + Culture
Photo still from Daniel Obasi's 'Udara' courtesy of Vlisco.

Daniel Obasi & Yagazie Emezi Probe Igbo Culture's Past and Present Traditions In This New Multimedia Project

The Nigerian artists have created a short film and lookbook in collaboration with Vlisco&co.

At the top of 2018, Nigerian creative Daniel Obasi pushed the envelope with his fashion film collaboration with Vlisco&co;, An Alien In Town.

The artist has teamed up again with the Vlisco venture, along with photographer Yagazie Emezi, for the latest edition highlighting Eastern Nigeria.

After touching base with its Nigerian creative network for a roundtable discussion, Vlisco&co; presents a unified visual narrative exploring the old and new traditions of Igbo culture and its connection with Vlisco wax. This multimedia project was deeply researched and gave Obasi and Emezi the room to document beliefs, myths and ways of life found in Igbo culture that are still alive, despite the preconceived notion that they are fading away.

These projects feature Vlisco fabrics that are too familiar in Igbo (and Nigerian) households, and were reworked into contemporary designs by Nigerian designers Fruche by Frank Aghuno and Gozel Green.


Photo still from Daniel Obasi's 'Udara' courtesy of Vlisco.

Photo still from Daniel Obasi's 'Udara' courtesy of Vlisco.

Obasi's short film, Udara, is a spiritual experimental fantasy that pays homage to Igbo culture's complex diversity through its symbolism, music, traditional beliefs and the tension between Christianity and traditional religion that's ever-present in Igbo communities. The film is deliberately timeless, drawing inspiration from the past and present in hopes to expand the perspective of what is possible with Igbo culture.

The synopsis continues:

After the loss of a dear one, two girls take a trip back to their hometown in an attempt to connect with the past. Ada is constantly haunted by dreams of herself in a different lifetime, [while] Nne, her sister, tries to guide and console her. Agu and Eze both stand on opposing ends of the conversation of religion. Agu [is] a crusader for tradition but is somehow still a church goer and Eze is stuck between proving himself traditionally as an Igbo man or following his father's dreams to become a church priest. Ironically, Agu and Ada (both strangers) are caught up in the same mystical dream from a lifetime ago until they run into each other.

In Udara, Obasi also explores the concept of ilo uwa, or reincarnation—"the belief that someone can be re-born in another lifetime."

Watch the film below.

Emezi's concept for capturing Gozel Green and Fruche's collections in the lookbook component of this project stems from the Igbo custom of same-sex marriages in pre-Christian Igboland and Uli drawing—a well-known traditional art form practiced by Igbo women that has gradually disappeared from the public eye.

"It was important for me to produce more than a lookbook—the works created are an amalgamation of Igbo culture, present and forgotten," she explains on Instagram.

She also adds that before Christianity was introduced in Igboland, women were permitted to choose a wife and go through traditional marriage rites as a result of the death of a husband where no child was produced. "To have children, they could freely choose a man and the child(ren) would bear the name of the woman-husband. In other cases, a single wealthy woman could choose a wife and sometimes, more than one," she continues. "In our story, the women still have just themselves, at easy in their home and confident in their identity."

Emezi was able to connect with makeup artist Oragudosi Sophia Obiamaka to adorn the models in the lookbook with accurate Uli designs. Igbo women not only adorned their bodies with Uli using a semi-permanent dye from specific trees, but also the walls of their homes. "Uli designs can, at times, be abstract while other designs represent aspects of daily life from animals, nature and home accessories," Emezi explains. "With the entry of Western religion and forceful colonial powers, the practice was deemed as 'primitive.' Women were encouraged not to draw Uli designs on their bodies, but rather, on cloth. As result, this led to a sharp and steady decline of the art form."

Take a look at our favorite images from the lookbook below.

Designed by Fruche for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Gozel Green for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Fruche for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Gozel Green for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Fruche for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Gozel Green for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Fruche for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Gozel Green for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Designed by Fruche for Vlisco&co.; Photo by Yagazie Emezi, courtesy of Vlisco.

Style
Photos by David Pattinson.

First Look: This New Collection from Art Comes First Is Peak Black Yeehaw Aesthetic

The design and brand consultant duo previews the SS20 collection displayed during their residency at The Mandrake Hotel in Paris.

Following their wavy Surf Afrika collection, Art Comes First (ACF) shares with us a preview of their SS20 collection that is all things Black Yeehaw Aesthetic.

Dubbed El Charro Negro, the collection features neutral colors and an array of textures—from leather, embroidery, fringed denim and ponchos, to vests, suede jackets and straight flyness.

Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh of ACF are known as the "Travelling Tailors" where their ventures around the world influence their designs. This time the nomads, who hail from the West Indies, Ghana and Angola respectively, have landed in Paris.

Earlier this month, ACF curated a week-long event-filled residency at The Mandrake Hotel in Paris that encapsulates their ethos of taking cultural influence from around the world and only staying still long enough to create. There, Lambert and Maidoh presented an installation, live musical performances and DJ sets, a film screening and a pop-up shop leading up to Fashion Week. The residency also showcased the duo's latest collaboration with London mainstay Fred Perry.

El Charro Negro will still be showcased in Paris at another location from June 18 to 23. Keep up with ACF on Instagram to stay tuned for details.

Check out our favorite images from the collection below.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Nonso Amadi & Kwesi Arthur's 'Comfortable' Will Get You In Weekend Mode

Watch the trippy new music video for this link-up from the buzzing Nigerian and Ghanaian artists.

Nonso Amadi is one of the standout acts from a young wave of Nigerian musicians blending afro-fusion with RnB and much more. He's now dropping the brand new single "Comfortable," an addictive self-produced track that sees him linking up with bubbling Ghanaian act Kwesi Arthur, which we're premiering below today.

"Comfortable" is built on woozy synth keys and sparse beat work, all spearheaded by Nonso Amadi's vocals about wanting freedom in a relationship.

"The song is inspired by experiences with having a girl over and not wanting them to get too comfortable by staying too long with you," says Nonso Amadi. "I thought it'll be interesting to create a song around this 'cos it's not a perspective were used to hearing from guys very often."

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Screenshot via YouTube.

Maleek Berry Makes a Statement with His First Track of the Year, 'Flashy'

And the music video follows suit.

After months of anticipation, Maleek Berry finally dropped his first track of the year, "Flashy."

The Nigerian crooner-producer surely makes a statement on the track while flexing his rapping skills, as he chronicles how he leveled up to be flashy—and it's well-deserved. The video shows us a scene of a fly photo shoot that's underway, where Maleek is dripping in gold and fancy cars surrounded by stunning black women and his homies—Eugy, Tinie Tempah, Juls and more.

Watch the video, directed by Capone and Guise of Vissionaire Pictures, below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.