Sakubona — a Zimbabwean Ndebele greeting that means, “hello…” “we have seen you”
‘Sakubona’ is a dialogue between Ozwald Boateng’s AW22 Adinkra symbol infused collection and London based artist Bokani’s mystical stained glass paintings. Together the two offer commentary on the relationship between perception and the perceived; modern and traditional Africa, symbolism and meaning.
Bokani’s technique involves urgent, gestural movements, exploring and responding to colours as they interact on the canvas. She believes in the integrity, freedom and honesty of abstract painting. As an artist with a unique background in computational art, Bokani has developed a method over several years of creating rational patterns in abstract strokes that lead the viewers’ eye across the paintings, reminiscent of the dancing African printed cloths of her childhood.
Boateng has created a collection that pays homage to his Ghanaian heritage through incorporating Adinkra symbols in the fabric. Woven in the finest luxury silks and suiting, the capsule retailing exclusively at Selfridges features the ‘Nsaa’; a symbol which in the Akan language refers to authenticity and an appreciation of quality; both in a material and emotional sense of measuring oneself. For Boateng the emotional connection between the clothes and the wearer is the key force that drives his design process.
Bokani’s stained glass paintings are meticulous layers of enamel paint on glass, designed to pull the viewer into the work by reflecting their distorted image back to them. The title of the project is a Zimbabwean Ndebele greeting, originally a dialect from the Zulu people; Boateng’s collection references his Ghanaian heritage and Akan symbolism; Bokani’s deep jewel toned surfaces reference the Zimbabwean legacy of mystical object-making as well as her memories of expansive Bulawayo horizons: the combination of all three create an iconic pan-African salute to the power of African heritage within a cosmopolitan London setting.
These works have been especially crafted to feature tones from this particular Boateng capsule collection for Selfridges. The aim of the work is to begin an inter-cultural conversation about complicity, how we impact each other’s lives, and ultimately to invite us into a new way of seeing ourselves.
curated by Rachael Barrett
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