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Prêt-À-Poundo: Have You Heard of Seraka?

Interview with Senegalese designer Selly Raby Kane, founder of Seraka.


Designer Selly Raby Kane. Photo credit: Layepro

Senegalese designer, international traveller and world citizen Selly Raby Kane is a fantastic emerging artist and the founder of Seraka. Kane gives us an opportunity to look at the value of art in society and its influences in our artistic choices. Pop art, street art, and music all contribute towards her vision and design choices, giving her an original aesthetic appeal. Celebrating modern shapes, prints and colors makes her pieces come alive — the ideas begin to flow and the innovations begin to make their way as you move along. Every piece is different and unpredictable, bringing on another universe. Capsule, Seraka's S/S 13 collection, recalls a pop-art African mask and shows us how to stand out by entering the futuristic realm. We spoke with designer Selly Raby Kane and get a look at the collection below.

All pictures by Eduardo Acevedo / Styling Quanasia Graham / Model Angelina Lee / Make Up Milan Staples / Hair Aretha Covington

Who is Seraka?

Seraka is a designer brand created in Dakar and destined to fashion forward women.

How did you start creating? When did you start considering fashion?

As a kid, I used to collect from here and there thousand of small fabric pieces and sew crazy outfits to my dolls and teddy bears. I think creating styles and looks came from there.

Did you study fashion? If yes, where?

Yes I did. In Mod’Spé Paris.

Where do you seek your inspiration?

Fantastic movie genre, travels, people, colors, music, cartoons ,streets

What materials are you using? Where do you get these materials?

I adore basin, a traditional textile usually used for boubous, it's so rich silky, complex, simple and graphic. I use a lot of leather, suede, wax, denim, jersey. I like cool materials and atypical mixes.

Where does the conception happen?

It happens whereever I live at the time. For example I created my three first collections in my small Parisian apartment, eating coockies and drawing 24/7!

How would you describe Seraka signature in one line?

It is fresh, easy, cool, edgy, tricky sometimes and most of the time colorful.

What makes a good look?

Statement accessories, mix of influences, a bit of rock 'n' roll and an edgy haircut.

What is cool?

Creepers!

I had the chance to visit your website, I saw your pictures, I can't see your eyes, what is going on behind those glasses?

Well a lot of things! And if you look closer to my clothes you’ll discover a bit of me in each piece.

I think that you're great example of the African inspired revolution, mixing cultures with African prints and these modern shapes, do you think that you are bringing something new?

Well I’m definitely expressing my own point of view. I think fashion should be fun and easy. Born and raised in Dakar then studying fashion in France, then coming to the United States, then traveling in Africa, made me build a cosmopolitan conception of fashion. I don’t think of where I come from when I design clothes; it just comes from who I am and where I’ve been.

Where have we seen your work? What is your last collection? Could you describe it to us and tell us what was different from the previous one?

My last collection was an homage to streets through street art, through cinema and music. I was inspired by street artists such as Banksy, Basquiat, Invader, Herakut etc. It was more structured and less naive then the previous one.

What is your masterpiece? The one which will describe you the most.

The Iconic Black & White top of the Iconic capsule collection is what would describe me the most. It's cartoony, and graphic.

Today, as a fashion designer who has media coverage, are you using fashion as a way of talking? Or maybe inspiring the youth?

We are in a period in Senegal where a new generation of artists, designers, shows that things can be done differently. Today is the perfect timing, a revolution in arts is taking place in my country and I’m honored to be a part of that mutation! In an international context, I just want to broadcast that revolution.

Today, we have the emergence of many African fashion week in many countries. This evolution is the proof of the existence of African fashion, should African designers be present in regular fashion weeks? Is there any discrimination?

I think we should feel challenged and not discriminated. The African market has millions of people. Let’s create our own fashion industry!

What do you think of the African fashion? And the evolution?

African fashion is rich, free, open minded and so democratic. You can wear whatever you want, wear handmade garments for less than $12. This is what I like in African fashion, it's a symbol of democracy and freedom. Now, the evolution is a consequence of the elimination of any type of boundary between neighborhoods, cities, countries and continents. Each of us bears a part of someone else’s culture and that is the very beauty of humanity.

What are your hopes for the African fashion?

The main one is to create a strong fashion industry and elaborate a fashion offer that can meet the local demand.

What's next? Do you have any other event planned?

I’m preparing my annual Dakar show with a collective named les Petites Pierres which I'm a member of. It's composed of young alternative artists from the Dakar scene. Alternatively, I’m working on my next collection and on a concept store opening.

Describe Seraka in one word.

Fun!

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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 Christies.com. 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:

Galleries

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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