Our first collection’s lookbook is shot in our friend and African Accent vendor Kwame Samuel’s shop in the The Art Market. Art markets are one of many hubs for creativity and ingenuity in W. Africa, in each booth it is not unlikely to find experts in W. African art with a wealth of knowledge to share. Speaking of experts in W. African art, the first time I stepped into Kwame’s shop I instantly knew it was special, the first time I stepped into his space amongst the many vintage W.African masks, many from Mali, Senegal and more. The Plexiglas ceiling let in a rare ray of the sunshine not common in the rainy season and I felt as if I were transported spiritually to another realm. I felt an aura that silently alerted me that although, Imagine our intern and photographer, Kwame and myself were in the space, it felt spiritually congested.
Kwame’s shop was the perfect canvas and backdrop on which we would display the bright, vibrant colors against the worn warm textures. The combination of wood and dust created the perfect neutral color pallet, which perfectly juxtaposes our new brightly hued collection. Having the cultural masks behind me felt very symbolic, I felt that each pair of eyes carved into the skulls of each of the dozens of masks, were the eyes of my ancestors boring holes into me. Under their watchful eyes I was able to muster the confidence to shoot a lookbook in one of the busiest places in Accra. Though strangers and passersby glanced at us in wonder at this unfamiliar sight I felt confident amongst the beauty of our ancestral artistry.
I must admit that perhaps the congestion I felt must have been the overwhelming feeling of being overcome with gratitude. Kwame was very gracious in allowing us to utilize and share his space and for sharing his story with us. Kwame is from the Volta reigion of Ghana to which he travels each weekend to teach and care for the children in his charity, named Life never Ends.
“When Samuel was 13 he left his village to move to the city of Accra in Ghana. He soon learned that he did not know how to properly survive and found a mentor to teach him how to make bracelets, drum, dance and carve. Years later, he worked his way into a school in Ghana to learn necessary skills so that he may teach others. He opened up his own store in the Accra Cultural Arts Market, quickly realizing he needed to return back to his village to do something to help kids who did not have parents or mentors to guide them. He created an orphanage, a space for young kids to develop their own trade and skill.
Samuel believes that education is key and the future of Ghana. Teaching kids a trade so they can support themselves, their families, their villages, Ghana and all of Africa.”
For more information about Life Never ends or to make a contribution to sponsor a child to learn a new trade, go to www.lifeneverends.co/
If you are interested purchasing a vintage mask from Kwame’s shop send us a an email!