The Warm, Welcoming Senegalese Coast Shines Through Sophie Zinga's 'Hibiscus' Collection

Photographer Florence Ngala and Sengalese designer Sophie Zinga collaborate for a gorgeous fashion editorial.

It's beyond heartening to see how things come full circle for young African artists.

Florence Ngala, who we featured first in our series, This Week In Photos, reached out to me with a gorgeous fashion editorial featuring designs from Senegal's Sophie Zinga. How this collaboration came to be is a great example of how you never know who can come across your work—thanks to the internet.

"It's actually a funny story," she says via email. "Nigerian artist Oroma Elewa and I had met before (she's awesome) and after having a second encounter and a chat, she went on to get in touch with me about working with her during NYFW. While traveling to meet with her in Chelsea, I saw the amazing and super dope Amy Sall getting into a cab and took a street style shot of her. I sent her the photo and she posted it, which is how Sophie, a good friend of hers, went on to find my work and reach out to me about shooting for her."

This link up was an opportunity for Ngala to visit and work on the continent for the first time, and produce work she came to love.

The collection, entitled "Hibiscus," is inspired by the flower native to the designer, as well as the hibiscus flower's socioeconomic impact on Senegal and in countries in the Caribbean (care for any sorrel, anyone?).

"There is a widely popular drink called bissap, which is made from the hibiscus flower," Zinga says. "Bissap is a national drink which is widely offered during the most important ceremonies in Senegal and has medicinal virtues. The hibiscus is widely referenced in the collection in terms of its vivid colors and its texture."

For Ngala, her inspiration from the photography angle came from Zinga's exquisite designs and how her creativity and effort shines through the collection. "She already had a strong vision for the vibe she wanted in the images," Ngala says.

Ngala continues:

When working with her, she expressed how inspired she was by the "African Cosmopolitan," the working, global-minded, savvy woman. She wanted the images to be clean and to have a modern, high end look, while at the same time, paying homage to her roots.

She'd explained to me that this is why she casted the models she did because they looked "quintessentially Senegalese" as well as why she decided to shoot the images in the country where she's from. We scouted other locations but ended up reverting to her childhood home, which her parents gracefully let us use. This was also cool because I brought to her attention that I thought it would be so dope to hold the shoot there after she shared with me that this was where she grew her brand out of years prior.

Have a look at selects from Hibiscus below.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.

Photo by Florence Ngala.


Location: Dakar, Senegal

Photography: Florence Ngala

Models: Aminata Faye, Aicha Gueye

Creative Director: Sophie Zinga

Makeup: Aida Ndiaye

Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery

The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019

1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."

Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957

Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:


31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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