In Color, Chromophobia, and Colonialism: Some Historical Thoughts, Carolyn Purnell outlines how in 18th and 19th Century Europe “bright colors were taken as a sign of degeneracy and inferiority.” For those (presumably very dull looking) Europeans, colour was associated with childishness and a lack of civilization.
Since “all black everything” and “all white” interiors are still taken as the height of sophistication in some circles, the images collected here highlight the fact that looks which manage to make a range of colours, patterns and textures cohere are hard to achieve. They indicate intelligence, taste and intuition.
Oroma Elewa Unearths ‘The Way We Plait’, Limited Edition Pop'Africana Zine.
When Oroma Elewa’s creative endeavour into the world of publishing first launched in 2009 in the form of Pop'Africana, it was more than a breath of fresh air. Curated by Elewa, both the print and digital platforms featured carefully conceptualized text and images ranging from fashion editorials and photography, to style features and intimate interview profiles of carefully selected creatives. All this and more made it incredibly difficult to see the project end in 2012.
Now, five years later, those of us who still feel unfulfilled by the hijacked and somewhat unfulfilled 'Africa rising’ narrative, and still reference Oroma and her work when seeking Africa and diaspora-sourced inspiration, can breathe easy once again.
A few days ago, after a series of hints and teasers on instagram, Oroma released the first instalment in Pop'Africana’s new limited edition zine series. The first edition, “The Way We Plait,” is an intimate chronicle of the details and processes that go into hair braiding. Inspired by a mixture of intrigue and curiosity, it “draws heavily from observations and experiences in the culture of hair making,” from scalp sensitivity to the hands of the hair maker. What’s more, the zine honours the iconic legacy of late Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere who passed away earlier this year.