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Image courtesy of the artist.

'Aba Women Riot' by Fred Martins

In 'Aba Women Riot' Nigerian Artist, Fred Martins, Reinterprets a Groundbreaking Moment In African History

In a new series of prints, the artist celebrates 'the women who lend their voices and stood strong against the oppression of Africans.'

March marks Women's History Month, and for African women, one event that epitomizes the will and tenacity within our community is the Aba Women's Riot, also known as The Women's War of 1929, in which thousands of predominantly Igbo women in eastern Nigeria mobilized to challenge British colonial rule and the barriers placed on women's civic life.

This paradigm-shifting moment in history is the center of the latest series from Nigerian visual artist Fred Martins, who began conceptualizing "Aba Women Riot" in 2019, while reflecting on the invaluable contributions women have made throughout history. "I reflected on the power of femininity and how it has affected history on every stage and era of human civilization," said the artist in a statement.


He expanded on the connection between the historic demonstration and the movements towards liberation that came after, in which notable men are often revered. "The Aba Women's Riots was the game changer that woke [up] Africa and reverberated the continent's voice of freedom. The women's resistance inspired founding fathers of many African nations to seek independence," he adds. "It was the wake of feminism in 1900s Africa."

Fred MartinsImage courtesy of the artist.

The artist released the series during Black History Month to "celebrate the women who lend their voices and stood strong against the oppression of Africans." It consists of several fluid illustrations that "imaginatively reinterpret faces of women on palm fronds as shadows against a dusty earth background," says Martins. "The young palm fronds in Igbo culture are an important 'sacred' tool, symbolic for 'protest.' The women parceled the young fronds to other women in neighboring regions as a message to their allies," he adds.

Martins has often created striking, highly imaginative works that magnify revolutionary Africans. His acclaimed 2016 series "Orange, Black and Freedom," paid homage to the likes of Miriam Makeba, Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and more, through intricate portraits that placed their image within a symbolic afro comb. Other series from the artist include the "Black and Freedom" collection, in which he used butterflies and Black Power fists to represent the past and future of the continent.

With "Aba Women Riot' Martins acknowledges a piece of African history that deserves to be widely commemorated. As we celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout the month, the stunning series is a fitting place to start. See it below and keep up with the artist's work via his Instagram page.

'Aba Women Riot' by Fred Martins

Image courtesy of the artist.

'Aba Women Riot' by Fred Martins

Image courtesy of the artist.

'Aba Women Riot' by Fred Martins

Image courtesy of the artist.

'Aba Women Riot' by Fred Martins

Image courtesy of the artist.

'Aba Women Riot' by Fred Martins

Image courtesy of the artist.

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Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Qatar Museums

Influential Louis Vuitton And Off-White Designer Virgin Abloh, Dies at 41

The popular Ghanian-American designer had been battling a rare form of cancer in private for several years.

The fashion industry has lost a talented, unique, and boundary-pushing influence this weekend.

41-year-old Ghanianian-American designer Virgil Abloh has died after a 2 year battle with a rare form of cancer, a statement from his associates LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said on Sunday. Abloh, founder of luxury streetwear brand Off-White, and artistic director of men's wear at French fashion house Louis Vuitton leaves his wife Shannon, and 2 children - Lowe and Grey. Chairman and CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault said in a statement, "We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom." "The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother, or their friend," he added.

After the news broke on Sunday, Abloh started trending on Twitter, with fans of the designer remembering his influence on music, art, and fashion. The 1990s saw Abloh DJ and the creative director once told The Guardian in a 2016 interview, "When the phone is off, I play my favorite songs really loud for myself, and I'm not talking to anyone. I'm not managing anything. It's just like a time when I can listen to music… I'll be DJing after I'm done designing or doing anything else." Virgil got his hands into designing album artworks after strumming up a friendship with American rapper Kanye West before becoming the creative director of West's DONDA Creative House. More recently known for his creative streetwear brand 'Off-White' the designer became popular among fashion-conscious youngsters and will forever be immortalized.

A statement posted to Abloh's Instagram explained that "Virgil chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture"

Friends, fans, and colleagues took to social media to share their well-wishes for Virgil as he transitions to his next destination.



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How Relocating to Ghana Helped Reinvigorate Jewelry Designer Aisha Asamany's Work

Moving to Ghana gave Aisha Asamany's luxury jewelry brand, inspired by Adinkra symbols that traditionally project strength, fearlessness, love and power, renewed verve to tell personal stories of her growing clientele.