Design
Photo courtesy of IKEA.

IKEA's ÖVERALLT Collection, Featuring Designs by Notable African Creatives, Is Finally Here

"This is how design makes the world smaller and brings people from different cultures closer together," Senegal's Bibi Seck says.

Back in 2017, we got wind that a new IKEA collection was in development, spearheaded by renowned African designers across disciplines.

After a meet-up at Design Indaba, Marcus Engman, IKEA's head of design, and Ravi Naidoo, Design Indaba's founder, discussed a plan to highlight work coming from African architects, illustrators and designers—ultimately releasing the ÖVERALLT Collection 2 years later.

The limited-edition collection features sleek home goods and furniture items from the minds of eight designers hailing from five African countries—Issa Diabaté, Selly Raby Kane, Studio Propolis (Naeem Biviji and Bethan Rayner), Bibi Seck, Reform Studio (Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad2019 OkayAfrica 100 Women honorees), Renee Rossouw, Sindiso Khumalo and Laduma Ngxokolo. According to IKEA, it seeks to "build bridges and note walls—ultimately creating room for better habits together."

"This is how design makes the world smaller and brings people from different cultures closer together," Seck says.

Virgil Abloh also designed for the fifth short-term collection—IKEA Art Event. The mind behind Off-White designed what he considers to be an ironic take on the Persian rug. Using shades of gray and his signature labeling with quotations, Abloh gives commentary on the parents who protect their furniture at all costs (anyone else had plastic coverings on their couches?).

Check out the collection along with Abloh's rug below, with all images courtesy of IKEA.


"I wanted an ironic take on the traditional attitude to furnishing where the living room is just a showroom, not somewhere you sit," Virgil Abloh says of his IKEA Art Event rug in a statement. "The parental 'don't ruin the furniture' kind of thing I think has really impacted how younger people furniture today."

"The patterns are inspired by where I come from, and by the journeys I've made," Ngxokolo of South Africa's MAXHOSA BY LADUMA says. "I hope it will bring comfort and pride to people."

"I imagine people sitting in this rocking chair, rocking and reflecting," Bibi Seck, the Senegalese designer and co-founder of Birsel+Seck, says. "I imagine my father who is in his eighties sitting in it, smoking his cigar; my sister-in-law with her newborn baby; my niece and nephews playing on it."

"We believe that design can solve stubborn problems," Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem of Reform Studio say. "Reform is an umbrella of many 'Re's'– a recreation of an existing idea, a redevelopment of objects, a reusing of materials, a reviving of cultures and reforming of our world."

"I wanted to design a proud South African textile," Renne Rossouw, who designed the textiles with Sindiso Khumalo. "So I proposed an artwork with my favorite animal, the African Elephant. It's such a beautiful and intelligent animal that really knows how to care for their young ones."

"These baskets are mainly inspired by the ritual of hair braiding," Senegalese fashion designer and artist Selly Raby Kane says. "It's this shared moment when your head either ends up on a family member's lap for hours and hours, or you lean back in a chair in a cool salon, listening to the latest Dakar and foreign pop."

"We are interested in ideas that are not only good for Africa but may be relevant anywhere," Nairobi-based Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji of Studio Propolis say.

The husband and wife duo was inspired by the Kenyan evening custom where friends gather together with their own chairs to talk about their day and about life when designing the ÖVERALLT table and accompanying benches.

"Depending on where the designs are assembled, they can take on different personalities," Diabaté says.

"I wanted to design a pleasant and functional object without using costly materials or sophisticated technology," the Ivorian designer and architect adds. "This chair is made out of a sheet of plywood and a jigsaw, technically. No necessity for nails, glue or screws or any other complex fabrication process."

"Throughout the design process it's been interesting seeing how many more similarities we have than differences, even when our approaches are opposites," Sindiso Khumalo says.

See the full ÖVERALLT Collection here.

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Photo courtesy of Doble Seis Entertainment

Burna Boy, Teni, AKA, Sho Madjozi, Mr Eazi & More Earn 2019 BET Award Nominations

This year's "Best International Act" categories are stacked with some of the biggest names in African pop.

The nominees for this year's BET Awards have been announced, and one again, some of the biggest names in African pop have been named in the " International Act" categories.

This year, Nigerian acts Burna Boy, Mr Eazi have been nominated in the "Best International Act" category. They've each had standout years, with both artists performing at the Coachella Music Festival this year.

They're nominated alongside South African star rapper AKA, who won a Kids' Choice Award earlier this year for "Favorite South African Star," and the French-Malian pop singer and one of OkayAfrica's 100 Women Aya Nakamura. French-Cameroonian and Togolese rapper Dosseh and UK rappers Dave, and Giggs round out the heavily-stacked category.

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Film
Photo still courtesy of Chika Okoli.

This New Documentary Sheds Light On the History of a Beloved Nigerian Staple—Agege Bread

'Fresh Agege Bread' by Chika Okoli's FABA gives us a much-needed insight into the popularity of Nigeria's coveted Agege Bread.

This new documentary following Nigeria's own Agege Bread contributes to the need of preserving and documenting food culture on the continent.

In Fresh Agege Bread, directed and produced by filmmaker Chika Okoli of FABA (For Africans By Africans), we follow food researcher Ozoz Sokoh as she traces the history and popularity of Agege Bread featuring its pioneering bakers, community figureheads and locals. The documentary touches on the rise of the booming product as well as addresses some of the controversies around the health and safety measures applied in the production of this staple.

For Okoli, the inability to find such insights about this significant food in Nigerian culture is what inspired her to develop this documentary.

"Agege Bread is so popular in Lagos but shockingly, there is very little information about it online and the same can be said about other cultural elements that are significant to our way of life," she shares with us.

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News
amA picture taken on May 17, 2019 in Berlin shows a Stone Cross, a key 15th-century navigation landmark erected by Portuguese explorers, seen at the History Museum in Berlin. (Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Germany to Return Stolen 15th Century Stone Cross to Namibia

Germany's Culture Minister says the move is a "clear sign" that the country is committed to coming to terms with its colonial past.

In the latest development in the movement towards African art repatriation, the German government will return a 15th-century Portuguese stone cross that has been in its possession since the colonial era, back to its original home in Namibia.

The cross was a navigation landmark placed on the coastline of present-day Namibia in 1496, before it was taken in the late 17th century under German colonial rule, BBC Africa reports.

The Namibian government put out a request for its return back in 2017, and the request was formally approved today by the Berlin Museum. The cross is set to be returned in August, according to a statement from the museum.

READ: Taking Back Our History: Understanding African Art Repatriation

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