February always brings about exciting events celebrating Black History Month and this year is no different. This week, we’re looking forward to an exceptional exhibit coming to The ROM and Harbourfront Centre called “Water Carry Me Go” produced and curated by Toronto-based Creative Director/Designer, Chinedu Ukabam.
He explains, “‘Water Carry Me Go’ is an expression in Nigeria which is to say, ‘If I’m lying let the water carry me away’—it’s a way of taking an oath… It’s also a wish that people make when they are migrating. They want the water to take them away to somewhere else and hopefully to a better place.”
The exhibit is stunning collection of garments by seven designers including Chinedu who has handpicked them from around the world: Carol Barreto (Brazil), Sindiso Khumalo (South Africa/UK), Ashley Alexis McFarlane (Canada), Nkwo Onwuka (Nigeria/UK), Gloria Wavamunno (Uganda) and Robert A. Young (Trinidad and Tobago). The show is an attempt at presenting fashion as not a commercial, mass produced product and instead, a means of telling stories and celebrating art. Each designer has created an avant-garde piece inspired by their own cultural and historical identities.
“There is so much to be inspired by. As someone who loves patterns, it’s something that I’m constantly being influenced by and learning from… Remixing or “culture-clashing” is also a recurring theme.” From the bold colours, geometry to the ancestral reference, the designs personify pride and bring the beauty of African fashion design to the forefront.
People are encourage to take in this collaboration and open themselves to interpretation. “I want people to first and foremost, appreciate the art behind fashion. I want them to understand how much work goes into executing these highly developed concepts and trying to connect them to garments. Secondly, I hope it’s a way for people to learn about things they might not have known… If they are entertained, that’s great—if they are educated, that’s a bonus.”
Water Carry Me Go launches at The ROM’s Friday Night Live, Feb 5th at 8pm as a performance art piece with “live mannequins”. Afterwards, it will be installed as a permanent exhibit at the Harbourfront Centre from February 6-12.
Photography by Jalani Morgan
Posted by Samira
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