In September 2014 conceptual artist Onomé Otite and I debuted ‘Frida and me’ at the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival (AACDD Festival), which was held at the Bargehouse, OXO Tower. The festival ran in conjunction with the London Design Festival.
The first in a collaborative series of installation pieces, ‘Frida and me’ pays homage to Frida Kahlo. The installation evokes the style of Frida’s iconic self-portraits whilst also exploring one of her key subjects – IDENTITY. With ‘Frida and me’, Onomé and I wanted to make the statement that identity is more than just a person’s ancestry. It has been ours as well as many people of the Diaspora’s experience to find ourselves somewhat displaced, we are not quite African but not fully of our birthplace, yet influenced by both.
The installation incorporated a number of contrasts to communicate the internal identity struggle we face; conflicting African wax print patterns set against the rich colours of the painting and varied flora. The striking model confronts this further, adorned in African garb and adopting confident majestic poses à la Kahlo. The piece makes the statement that identity is a many-coloured thing and that we are proudly embracing ours, as multi-faceted as it is.
Medium Canvas: Gouache, Acrylic and Metallic Paint on burnout tissue covered canvas by Enam G Designs
Canvas Size: Each panel – 50 x 200cm
Installation: African wax print flowers, fake flowers, ivy, bamboo by Onomé Otite and Enam G Designs
Model (Bibi Moyo) wears: African wax print cloths – model and stylists’ own, Jewellery – model’s own
Photography: Onomé Otite
Styling: Onomé Otite and Enam G Designs