African Fragrances x African Contemporary Art
Prepare yourself for a powerful olfactive trip to Africa. Roads, the niche perfume label, recently unveiled a quartet of fragrances inspired by the continent. In addition to the limited edition fragrances, Roads have commissioned four visually and geographically diverse African artists to create packaging artwork to accompany each fragrance.
Aroma-wise, Roads’ African Edition fragrances each incorporate naturally derived ingredients from the continent.
Big Sky, an ode to the expansive canopy over the continent’s dense landmass, opens with zesty citrus, lemon and orange flower with an earthy mix of patchouli, papyrus, oud and myrrh. It represents the vast African skies that frame the ever-changing landscapes beneath, a moveable muse that artists, film-makes, and photographers have all tried to capture. With natural top notes of citrus, lemon, and orange flower, flirting with exotic geranium, patchouli, papyrus, and oud, whilst the sensual base notes of Amber, sandalwood, cashmeran, myrrh, and Vanilla conclude the intoxicating journey. Dylan Culhane, a photographer from Cape Town, is behind its graphic art piece. He’s working with photography collage his work embraces the intense use of color and geometric shapes.
I Am Dance evokes the symbolism and expressiveness of dance, specifically a type of street-dance called Pantsula. The perfume is based on the freedom of African Dance. The Pantsula dance is a form of expression associated with hip-hop culture, its fast off-beat rhythm symbolizes a raw strength that is reflected in the powerful notes of this fragrance. Top notes of zesty lemon, mandarin and hazy marine accord are mixed with fresh apple, pineapple and aromatic lavandin. Finally, warm base notes of Amber, cedar wood, and the deepness of patchouli are blended beautifully to create a colorful and complex fragrance. The Tanzanian illustrator Lynnie Zulu is behind it visual counterpart. is an artist and illustrator with roots in Tanzania. Now living in East London, her work carries an exotic and energetic influence that is reveled across her bold tribal graphics.
The perfume Afropolis conjures up a modern picture of Africa with its unabashed muddling of gin, spearmint and oakmoss, iris, ebony woods and amber. It celebrates the dynamic cultural clash and rise of Africa’s multi-cultural, energetic, and diverse cities, here an exciting, exuberant, and tenacious fragrance emerges. Topped by the lightness of Gin, Juniper Berries, Fresh citrus and spearmint, reinforced by Blonde woods, Iris, Oak moss, and marine and colored by Ebony wood, vetiver, amber, and radiant cashmere musks to create a melodious finale. The Parisian artist Elise Hannebicuqe is behind its accompanying design. Elise takes her inspiration from the shapes and patterns found in traditional African art, and translates this to her instinctive style, blending shapes and colours. Her work includes a series of images inspired by Nelson Mandela.
Past|Present is inspired by the strength and conviction present in Nigeria’s literary scene. Modern Nigerian literature has received much international acclaim and respect in recent years. Be it political or poetic, the dignity and clarity in the words of writers such as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka helped shape the characteristics for this thought-provoking fragrance. Elegant top notes of Bergamot and smoked black tea blend effortlessly with classic Jasmine whilst the softness and warmth of Tonka bean adds the perfect backdrop. The art work is by Yaw Tony a talented Ghanaian/Canadian architect, artist and graphic designer based in Toronto. He is known for experimenting with patterns, fabrics and textiles. His designs are a creative collaboration of western culture and ancient African traditions.
Founded by businesswoman Danielle Ryan, the Roads brand is built around this inspiring woman’s cultural curation, curiosity, and passion. Coming from a strong entrepreneurial background (her family are the founders of Ryanair and a number of other successful businesses) Danielle says, “There are many reasons why I wanted to create ROADS, but above all else, I wanted to create an artistic brand that would not be confined to one idea, that wouldn’t be limited by definition, but be able to really champion new discoveries in countless surroundings.”
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