The Return of A Fully Clothed Woman

WOMEN FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES ARE EMBRACING MODEST DRESSING. COULD THIS BE A GLOBAL MOVEMENT ON THE RISE?

There's a new wave of feminism which proves to show that an empowered woman is no longer subject to specific definitions nor must she live by a specific set of preset values. These days, avenues are popping up which allow women to create and express their own definition. Fashion is one of them.

This trend dubbed 'The Modest Movement' is now gaining steam and different fashion brands are keying into this rising market segment by launching bespoke modest fashion collection. They are forced to think strategically about how to appeal to observant women with numerous religious and cultural backgrounds or women who want to dress elegant in pieces that are elegant and not too exposing.

There's no doubt that this began from the Arab nations were women wear hijabs and dresses with high necklines and low hemlines and also from Asian countries. This is a growing market and the growing chorus of voices demanding more choices can't be ignored. 

This month, supermodel Gigi Hadid features on the cover of the newly launched Vogue Arabia in a diamond encrusted hijab. This brought mixed reactions.

Of the brands that are providing solution to modestly dressed women, we have Ghizlan Guenez, Founder and CEO, The Modist, a new e-commerce venture that caters to the modest fashion market. 

COURTESY HARPERS BAZAAR ARABIA

COURTESY HARPERS BAZAAR ARABIA

According to Guenez

"Our woman might be a banker who wants a power suit or the piece that will take her from morning to evening, that's elegant and not too exposing. She might also be a mother attending her daughter's wedding, or a university student in Dubai who's trendy, but dressed modestly for cultural reasons. The women I grew up with are modern and fashionable, but happen to dress this way. My mother, my cousins... they'd have to go from one store to another looking for pieces that could work for them. I realised there had to be a solution.It was after witnessing the frustration of women around her first hand that Guenez first conceived The Modist."

The team behind the modist

The team behind the modist

Halima Aden 2nd row, contested for Miss Minessota in her modest dress and hijab. She has now won different modeling contract.

ADELE WEARS MODEST

ADELE WEARS MODEST

Fashion brands in Africa can take advantage of this as this continent is as a huge market. The smart ones can leverage on this trend to export African fashion to developed nations.

Osa Seven: Making illegal Legal

A YOUNG NIGERIAN ARTIST IS CHANGING THE FACE OF HIS CITY WITH AN ART FORM, UNPOPULAR IN HIS COUNTRY. 

Art lovers and creatives will not see this as news, actually is no news. Osa Seven, a visual artist and graffiti artist has turned the once illegal to legal with a spray can and a heart of passion.

Osa Seven // Photo via omgvoice.com

Osa Seven // Photo via omgvoice.com

The news of Osa Seven being commissioned by the state government on a state graffiti project goes on to tell us the power of personal branding in a social age. Osa Seven who is a graffiti artist, brand developer and GFX designer studied visual communications at the University of Lagos in accordance to his passion. Though controversies spinning around graffiti art form has continued to create disagreement amongst city officials, law enforcement, and writers, making it even illegal in many places, especially when used on public property without appropriate authorization, the art has remained very resilient and even relevant through times.

Osa Seven who has carefully document and carried his increasing followings on his graffiti journey through the years using Social media announced via his facebook page earlier this year stating

Photo via facebook.com/osa.seven

Photo via facebook.com/osa.seven

“Last year I posted this image with a caption about how I don’t believe in defacing public spaces, or walls in the name of “Disruptive Art”, even where I’m told that I’m not a real Graffiti artist. My team and I have been working and planning on ways to partner with the government to beautify public spaces and use those platforms to promote socio-cultural teachings as well as nationalism. Today, I’m happy to announce that I have been commissioned by the State Government to create an 80 feet Monument. This artwork has been Commissioned as a key story to be etched in History for many years to come. It’s a great opportunity for us. There are LEGAL ways to do things. Many people take the short cut in the name of “Disruption”…but true Disruption is being able to make people see the value in your work that they Invite you to do more of it!”

This message got art lovers and creatives really excited, it was a win for young artists, a win for art in Nigeria and most importantly a reward for hard work and appropriateness. Knowing that Graffiti inappropriate use of this art form could close the door for other upcoming artists, the artist took initiative to make the illegal legal through proper communication and right process. Today more doors are opening for young artists in Nigeria and moves like this are just the way to go. Watching Osa Seven painting on stage at the presidential meet up with young Nigerian Creatives, The Conversion last year was only just the beginning.

photo via facebook.com/osa.seven

photo via facebook.com/osa.seven

Confirming his previous message weeks later on social media, he wrote saying “There’s so much I can say about this photo, but I’ll keep it simple and say, I’m honored to be working with Lagos State Government on this monumental project. This piece is going down in History as an official commissioned monument, and I'm humbled to be making it. To all the artists who are focused on making a positive impact through their art, this one is for you! Over the next few weeks, i’ll be working on site – will let everyone know when I’ll be working, and your support would be greatly appreciated! #GraceUnlimited #OsaSeven”

Though Graffiti may not be popular culture around here, this art form which outside Nigeria has been used as social or political may one day become a positive tool for change and Osa Seven’s Humble contribution is a step in right direction to this prediction.

Osa Seven on the "art for a cause" campaign // Photo via fuze.ng

Osa Seven on the "art for a cause" campaign // Photo via fuze.ng

Through his art, he has constantly move and pushed for value in the society and his immediate community even by setting up a network of other creatives in an “Art for a Cause” campaign, giving public school walls some mind blowing arty face life. This is how to change is done.

  

Return of the Mask

MODERN AFRICAN MASKS ARE CONNECTING TRADITION WITH THE FUTURE

Core Africans how integral traditional masks are to the cultural history and heritage.

AFRICAN MASKS BY TRUDY JOHNSON

AFRICAN MASKS BY TRUDY JOHNSON

Masks are one of the elements of great African art that have most evidently influenced Europe and Western art in general; in the 20th century, artistic movements such as cubismfauvism and expressionism have often taken inspiration from the vast and diverse heritage of African masks. In most traditional African cultures, the person who wears a ritual mask conceptually loses his human identity and turns into the deity represented by the mask that is being worn. The function of an African mask is to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the forces of good and evil.

A range of African artists have been transforming the African mask with new foci; well known for that is Benin’s Romuald Hazoumé. His work often revolves around the 'Jerry Can', a plastic container widely used to transport oil in his home country. In his stead is Ghana’s Serge Attukwei Clottey. His use of discarded materials like re-purposed metal scraps, old lights and gears, and woven fabrics is meant to draw attention to the environmental and social impacts these articles have. Also there is Zak whose art emphasize literal messages; one of his most recent sculptures is painted in the colors of the American flag and has arms raised in the “Hands up, don’t shoot” pose of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The appeal of masks is gaining momentum through traditional practices spanning the diaspora on many continents; while this falls in the midst of the much gained recognition of black people and Africans both home and in the diaspora; it is still a brilliant step to cultural preservation and worldwide involvement in appreciation of African culture.

Below is a gallery of the nine masks created by international and local artists:

CYRUS KABIRU

DJYNO JACQUES

BANANA