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Ozwald Boateng Collaboration

‘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

Photo credit: Deniz Guzel


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