Burkina Faso hopes to position itself as an emerging fashion hub as it concludes the third edition of the “Ouaga Fashion Week” in Ouagadougou.
The Director of the event, Alex Zabsonre said the show featured 35 designers — chosen from about 200 applicants — from West Africa and Europe, who showcased their outfits in the capital city, Ouagadougou.
The 2022 “Ouaga Fashion Week” had for the first time in the history of the show, the majority of designers, about 75%, were from Burkina Faso.
“Burkina is one of the African countries that have a lot of potential to offer as far as fashion is concerned … That is the reason why I set this project up, to expose Burkina designers and get them recognized at the international level,” he said.
Many of the designs featured Burkina Faso’s traditional, handwoven Faso Dan Fani cloth made from cotton. Burkina Faso is a top–10 exporter of cotton, accounting for an average share of 3 percent of global exports since 2000.
Fashion in Burkina Faso, if effectively explored, particularly with its endowment in cotton could offer the West African country some form of solace and become a core area of comparative advantage for it in the comity of nations. But Ouagadougou must first get healed of the growing plague of insurgency and general insecurity before it could scale commerce and industry.
Repentant Germany signs accord to return stolen Nigerian artifacts, Benin Bronzes
Germany and Nigeria have signed a memorandum of understanding for the return of centuries-old sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes that were taken from Africa in the 19th century.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth, as well as Nigeria’s Culture Minister Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairo Dada.
The German Foreign Minister admitted “it was wrong to take the bronzes; it was wrong to keep them for 120 years.”
Two pieces of artifacts, a head of a king and a relief slab depicting a king with four attendants were handed over to commemorate the return of the pieces.
“This is just the beginning of more than 1,000 pieces from the Kingdom of Benin that are still in German museums, and they all belong to the people of Nigeria,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. “It was wrong to take the bronzes; it was wrong to keep them for 120 years.”
The bronzes “are some of Africa’s greatest treasures, but they are also telling the story of colonial violence,” Baerbock said.
African arts litter many museums in Europe and North America. Some of the countries have sought to resolve ownership disputes over objects looted during colonial times.
One of such museums, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, an authority that oversees many of Berlin’s museums, announced last year that it was beginning formal negotiations on returning pieces that are in its collection.
According to washingtonpost, hundreds of African artifacts were sold to collections such as the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, which has one of the world’s largest groups of historical objects from the Kingdom of Benin, estimated to include about 530 items, including 440 bronzes. Many of them date from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
Historyextra reports that Benin Bronzes are a collection of more than 3,000 figures and other decorative pieces looted by the British in 1897. The artifacts are housed in at least 161 public and private collections scattered around the world.
First ever African Fashion exhibition debuts in the UK Saturday
The first ever African Fashion exhibition which has been touted to be UK’s most extensive exhibition of African fashion artistry is set to debut in London on Saturday, July 2, according to the show organisers.
The epoch making African Fashion event which is aimed at showcasing designers from the black continent, as well as exoose Africa’s diverse heritage and cultures, which will open at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, is also the country’s first exhibition dedicated to the medium.
Apart from the fashion show, there will also be an exhibition are African objects, sketches, photos and film from across the continent, starting from the African liberation years in the 1950s to 1980s to up-and-coming contemporary designers, according to the event organizers.
The project curator, Elisabeth Murray, in a statement, said the scene is set with a section on “African Cultural Renaissance”, highlighting protest posters and literature from independence movements that developed in conjunction with fashion.
“The Vanguard is the central attraction, displaying iconic works by well-known African designers including Niger’s Alphadi, Nigeria’s Shade Thomas-Fahm and Kofi Ansah of Ghana.
“Over 250 objects are on display for the African Fashion exhibition, with approximately half of these drawn from the museum’s collection, including 70 new acquisitions.
“Many of the garments on show are from the personal archives of a selection of iconic mid-twentieth century African designers with one of the highlight being the centre-piece made by Moroccan fashion designer Artsi Ifrach, called “A Dialogue Between Cultures” which was Inspired by the British trench coat and headscarf,” Murray said.
“The conversations and collaborations that have shaped the making of the Africa Fashion exhibition are a testbed for new equitable ways of working together that allow us to imagine and call into being the V&A of the future,” she added.
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