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‘Africa Fashion’ Exhibition Hit Brooklyn Museum With New Designers, Unique Textiles

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A mannequin stands with head tilted, a knee jutting from the deep bias chiffon and woven fabric hemline of Papa Oppong’s Takari T, a T-shirt worn as a dress from the Ghanaian-born designer’s celebrated 2021 Yopoo collection, which evokes a Ghanaian woman’s life from birth to marriage to death. A “Ghana Must Go” bag — the ubiquitous blue, white and red reusable bags that have come to symbolize the forced migration of millions of Ghanaians from Nigeria — sits on the floor next to the mannequin.

It’s one of two looks from Oppong included in the Brooklyn Museum’s iteration of “Africa Fashion,” the blockbuster exhibition that opened last summer at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and which runs Friday through Oct. 22 in New York.

“I can’t believe this is my work,” muses Oppong, as he raises his hands to his cheeks. “It doesn’t seem real. Coming from Ghana, I dreamed of creating work that could be this accessible. So this,” he says, spinning around to take in the work of fellow designers on display in a large central gallery, “is truly a dream come true.”

Like many of the additional designers included in the Brooklyn Museum exhibit, Oppong’s pieces evoke the heritage but also the political and socioeconomic realities of the African diaspora; from political satire and adherence to traditional weaving, hand-dyeing and beading techniques to collaborations with other African artists, from illustrators to weavers to photographers and musicians.

Organized thematically, the exhibition features garments, textiles, photography, books, music and catwalk footage from more than 40 designers and artists from 20 of Africa’s 54 countries, including pioneering 20th-century designers Kofi Ansah (Ghana), Naima Bennis (Morocco), Shade Thomas-Fahm (Nigeria), Chris Seydou (Mali), and Alphadi (Niger) in the “Vanguard” section. “The Cultural Renaissance” section explores the independence era, from the 1950s through the 1990s, a period of dramatic political, social and cultural upheaval reflected in the Pan-African fashion and art scene. “Politics and Poetics of Cloth” surveys the rise of Indigenous cloth as a political act; textiles from the museum’s Arts of Africa collection complement the V&A’s wax prints, commemorative cloth, àdìrẹ, kente cloth and bògòlanfini. “Capturing Change” chronicles the independence years through artists such as Seydou Keïta (Mali) and Malick Sidibé (Mali), from the museum’s collection, as well as fashion photography by James Barnor (Ghana). “Cutting Edge” is organized around concepts including “Afrotopia,” “Artisanal,” “Co-creation,” “Provocation,” “Minimalist,” and “Mixologist” and showcases a new generation of fashion designers and creatives, including South Africa–based designer Thebe Magugu, winner of the 2019 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize. “Through the Photographer’s Lens” examines the power of contemporary photography with a series of images of intricate African hairstyles from Nigerian photographer J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, and work from New York native Kwame Brathwaite, the father of the 1970s “Black is Beautiful” movement who died last April. The exhibition concludes with “Global Africa,” which explores how the digital world accelerated the expansion of Africa’s influence in the fashion industry.

Photographer J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s images of African hairstyles are among more than 50 additional items from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection.

Additional new contemporary pieces also include Brother Vellies designer Aurora James’ Mother Nature gown with a raffia skirt and basket bodice, which the Ghanaian-Canadian designer wore to the 2019 Met Gala; a basket bag from Sudanese-American designer Eilaf Osman; and a shirt and skirt ensemble from Studio One Eighty Nine that features a pineapple husk belt and dried raffia straw hat.

“Haute couture, notions of the handmade and luxury, slow fashion, using dyes or materials that are non-invasive to the environment, this conversation around sustainability has always been part of the African continent,” says Ernestine White-Mifetu, the Brooklyn Museum’s Sills Foundation Curator of African Art, who adapted the exhibition with Annissa Malvoisin, the museum’s postdoctoral fellow in the Arts of Africa.

“And the contemporary designers from the continent have continued those traditions while taking the making and design of African textiles to a new level that’s extremely exciting,” continues White-Mifetu. “And this is an opportunity for audiences in North America to get to know what that looks like.”

The exhibit includes more than 50 items from the museum’s collection, including Egyptian jewelry from B.C.E. through 1st century C.E. and 19th and 20th century jewelry from Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso. Many of the items have not preciously been on view. (The museum’s African galleries are currently undergoing a major renovation with a reinstallation slated for 2025.)

“African regions and culture and art isn’t stuck in a specific time period,” says Malvoisin. “The African fashion scene has always been vibrant, even 3,000 years ago. It was really important for us to include our collection because our collection highlights the cultural continuity and technological and manufacturing production that has continued for thousands of years and which are still being used today by the designers featured in the show.”

The contributions of African-born designers is already obvious in the fashion industry, but the exhibit is arguably the first comprehensive recognition of that legacy.

“We do fashion shows a lot [at the Brooklyn Museum], but to focus on African fashion in an expansive way, and to bring something like this to North America and in New York, which is one of the fashion capitals of the world, is really important. These shows are quite commonplace for European and North American designers,” says Malvoisin, invoking the Brooklyn Museum’s recent retrospectives of Christian Dior and Thierry Mugler. “This is placing African fashion designers on the same level as all of these other luxury fashion houses and designers. I feel like it’s just the beginning. Perhaps this will also lay the foundation and groundwork for something like that happening for an African fashion designer.”

Standing in the exhibit’s large central hall, Oppong — dressed head-to-toe in black Balenciaga, right down to his kitten-heeled shoe socks — takes in the designs from his contemporaries. “I know so many people in here,” he says, raising an arm toward a mannequin draped in Christie Brown’s She is King gold and black gown.

“I did art direction at Christie Brown for a year,” he says. “I love Kenneth Ize, Imane Ayissi. This hall is just magical.”

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Africa

Mexican Authorities say they saw a huge increase in migrants from Africa and Venezuela in 2023

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Mexican authorities say they saw a huge increase in the number of migrants from Africa and Venezuela entering the country in 2023.

Those migrants generally enter Mexico from Central America, and cross the country in a bid to reach the U.S. border.

Mexico’s Interior Department said year-end figures showed that nine times more migrants from Africa entered Mexico in 2023, with numbers rising from 6,672 in 2022, to 59,834 in 2023.

The report also showed the number of migrants from Venezuela more than doubled last year, rising from 96,197 in 2022 to 222,994 in 2023.

In part, that may reflect more rapid and more numerous movements of migrants through the jungle-clad Darien Gap that connects South America to Panama.

Smugglers are moving migrants more quickly through the dangerous route, which last year was traversed by over half a million migrants. Once in Panama, migrants make their way through Central America to Mexico.

Overall, the number of all irregular migrants found in Mexico in 2023 rose by 77%, going from 441,409 in 2022 to 782,176 last year.

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Africa

Nigeria vs South Africa: AFCON prediction, kick-off time, TV, and live stream

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A meeting of two imperious defences will decide the first entrant to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final when South Africa and Nigeria meet on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles have conceded just one goal at this AFCON and dispatched Angola in a tight game to qualify for the semi-finals.

But Bafana Bafana matched their run of four consecutive clean sheets as goalkeeper Ronwen Williams delivered the heroics in their penalty shootout win over Cape Verde.

Only once since their last Cup of Nations title, which came just over a decade ago, have Nigeria reached the last four – and they have lost five of their last six AFCON semi-finals.

South Africa’s wait stretches back even further, with no title since 1996 and this their first run to the last four since 2000.

Date, kick-off time and venue

Nigeria vs South Africa is scheduled for a 5pm GMT kick-off on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

The match will take place at Stade de la Paix in Bouake.

Where to watch Nigeria vs South Africa

TV channel: In the UK, the game will be televised live on BBC Two, with coverage starting at 4.30pm GMT, as well as Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League.

Live stream: Sky subscribers can also catch the contest live online via the Sky Go app while the game will also be shown for free via the BBC Sport and iPlayer portals.

Live blog: You can follow all the action on matchday via Standard Sport’s live blog.

What we know

♦ Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen was taken off late on against Angola with an abdominal injury and he did not join the rest of the squad in flying out to Bouake on Monday evening.

A team statement assured that he could yet be released to travel on Tuesday if he passes medical checks.

Hugo Broos has a settled line-up for South Africa, with the defence entirely made up of Mamelodi Sundowns players.

However, after failing to score against Cape Verde he could tinker with the attack.

♦ Both teams have been outstanding defensively throughout the tournament and it feels as though a single goal will prove the difference in this game.

Head to head (h2h) history and results

Super Eagles captain William Troost-Ekong scored an 89th-minute winner when Nigeria knocked Bafana Bafana out of the 2019 Cup of Nations quarter-finals, which was these two sides’ last meeting.

Nigeria wins: 7

South Africa wins: 2

Draws: 5

Nigeria vs South Africa match odds

Nigeria to qualify: 1/2

South Africa to qualify: 7/1

Texas Guardian News
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Africa

Nigeria vs South Africa: AFCON prediction, kick-off time, TV, live stream

Published

on

A meeting of two imperious defences will decide the first entrant to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final when South Africa and Nigeria meet on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles have conceded just one goal at this AFCON and dispatched Angola in a tight game to qualify for the semi-finals.

But Bafana Bafana matched their run of four consecutive clean sheets as goalkeeper Ronwen Williams delivered the heroics in their penalty shootout win over Cape Verde.

Only once since their last Cup of Nations title, which came just over a decade ago, have Nigeria reached the last four – and they have lost five of their last six AFCON semi-finals.

South Africa’s wait stretches back even further, with no title since 1996 and this their first run to the last four since 2000.

Date, kick-off time and venue

Nigeria vs South Africa is scheduled for a 5pm GMT kick-off on Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

The match will take place at Stade de la Paix in Bouake.

Where to watch Nigeria vs South Africa

TV channel: In the UK, the game will be televised live on BBC Two, with coverage starting at 4.30pm GMT, as well as Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League.

Live stream: Sky subscribers can also catch the contest live online via the Sky Go app while the game will also be shown for free via the BBC Sport and iPlayer portals.

Live blog: You can follow all the action on matchday via Standard Sport’s live blog.

What we know

♦ Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen was taken off late on against Angola with an abdominal injury and he did not join the rest of the squad in flying out to Bouake on Monday evening.

A team statement assured that he could yet be released to travel on Tuesday if he passes medical checks.

Hugo Broos has a settled line-up for South Africa, with the defence entirely made up of Mamelodi Sundowns players.

However, after failing to score against Cape Verde he could tinker with the attack.

♦ Both teams have been outstanding defensively throughout the tournament and it feels as though a single goal will prove the difference in this game.

Head to head (h2h) history and results

Super Eagles captain William Troost-Ekong scored an 89th-minute winner when Nigeria knocked Bafana Bafana out of the 2019 Cup of Nations quarter-finals, which was these two sides’ last meeting.

Nigeria wins: 7

South Africa wins: 2

Draws: 5

Nigeria vs South Africa match odds

Nigeria to qualify: 1/2

South Africa to qualify: 7/1

Texas Guardian News
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