Posts in Cultural Experiences
Mali: Music in the Face of Adversity

Mali has a unique and deeply imbedded musical tradition dating back hundreds of years. Bordered by Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, Burkino Faso, Guinea and Senegal, it is a vast, landlocked country, parched and arid, extremely poor, and difficult to navigate as a traveller. Yet aesthetically Mali is spectacular: dramatic cliffscapes, huge skies, the thread of the River Niger which weaves through the country, an unmistakable Sudano-Sahelian architectural style, the most celebrated example being the Great Mosque of Djenne. Perhaps what stands Mali apart most, however, is a distinct and delicately preserved cultural identity…

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2019 - A Year of Art From The Continent

Contemporary art throughout Africa continues to flourish and 2019 is looking more exciting than ever. Thursday 14th February sees the start of The Harlem Fine Arts Show (HFAS) - the largest travelling African Diasporic art show in the United States. Investec Cape Town Art Fair kicks off this coming Friday and showcases the most important galleries from across the continent, including Goodman Gallery, Addis Fine Art, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Omenka Gallery, First Floor Gallery Harare... We are particularly intrigued by This Is Not a White Cube in Angola’s capital city, Luanda, which promotes local artists and is working hard to be present at this year’s international fairs…

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Something About Samburu

Driving north up the Thika highway from Nairobi and that familiar feeling of excitement settles. I must have driven this route hundreds of times but leaving the dual carriageway for the scenic single lane up to Mount Kenya and beyond is a journey I’ll never tire of. Mangoes in Sagana, the ever-chaotic town of Karatina, young guys on the roadside selling sacks of miraa… Climbing higher and higher in altitude the temperatures become colder. Past Lewa Conservancy, down, down, down towards the dusty, desert heat of Isiolo, the land of Boranas, Turkanas, Samburus, Rendilles, closer to the wilds of northern Kenya. A few hours north of here and the edgy city life of Nairobi is but a distant memory.

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Modupeola Fadugba & the Harlem Honeys & Bears: Dreams from the Deep End

Art is about being stirred – identifying creatively with an idea and responding to something which is there to engage us. Modupeola Fadugba’s exhibition “Dreams from the Deep End” is a body of work which both captivates visually and completely absorbs from a topical perspective. Currently on display at Gallery 1957 in Accra, we were lucky enough to be there for the opening, which coincided with the 2018 Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Jamestown…

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Traditions & Ceremonies of Togo & Benin

Sitting in a classroom at the University of Lome, a discussion is underway with one of the tutors about his recent encounter with a “djinn”. He was quick to explain to me that “in Togo you never believe in just one thing. We might be Christian or Muslim but there is always something else.” "Vodun", as it’s known in Togo and Benin, was a theme which would present itself time and again in the coming months in trance ceremonies, festivals, shamans, fetishes and rites of passage.

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Responsible Cultural Tourism on the Omo River

Cultural sensitivity is a subject close to our hearts and one which fuelled much discussion during our recent visit to the Omo Valley. Is there ever an acceptable time to take photographs of people without asking? What is the best way to try and achieve some sort of meaningful interaction? How can we set the right tone and avoid photo-money exchanges and/or the begging culture which helps no one much in the long run?

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A Tale of Two Cities: Lagos & Accra

There is something thoroughly exhilarating about travelling in West Africa. It bares very little resemblance to the well-established safari circuits of East and Southern Africa, but what it lacks in finesse, it makes up for in joie de vivre with some of the best music, art, culture & food on the continent. Lagos & Accra are both dynamic cities pulsating with creative energy and buzz.

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Music: The Heartbeat of Mali

To imagine Mali without music is like trying to picture a world stripped of colour. It signifies a cultural black hole, removal of a heartbeat, destruction of an entire identity. To quote Manny Ansar, director of the Festival in the Desert: “Everything is transmitted in Mali through music, through poetry. We enjoy life through music”.

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Exploring Contemporary Art Scenes Throughout Africa

An interest in contemporary African art has been on the incline for the last 10 years or so but never has it experienced such dynamic momentum as is currently underway. Last year saw the first edition of ART X Lagos, a new art fair designed to greater connect Nigeria to the contemporary art scene both internationally and across Africa. Biennales like those in Casablanca, Marrakech, Dakar, Kampala, and Bamako are gaining more recognition. For the first time ever, Nigeria had its own pavilion at this year's 57th Venice Biennale, represented by Victor Ehikhamenor, Peju Alatise and Qudus Onikeku...

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