Ousmane Saw, Larger Than Life

Ousmane Sow, a luminary figure of African contemporary art, died early Thursday morning in Dakar. He was 81. “He takes with him the dreams and the plans that his body, too tired, did not wish to follow,” Sow’s family told Agence France-Presse.

Born in the Senegalese capital of Dakar in 1935, Sow was one of Francophone Africa’s most prominent artists. He was known for sculpting his imposing creations without the use of a model. He spent most of his adult life between Dakar and Paris, where he first moved when he was 22.

As a young man, he found odd jobs in the French capital and sought overnight shelter at police stations and hospitals, apparently in exchange for fresh bread in the morning. He enrolled at a physiotherapy school, where he was able to indulge and develop his fascination for the human body.

Sow had already begun modelling sculptures with the use of stones on the beaches of his home country. In Paris, Sow’s work caught the eye of his teacher and one of his sculptures was even displayed in class.


First exhibition

In 1960, following Senegal’s independence from France, Sow returned to Dakar where he held his first exhibition.

But it was to be decades before he would gain recognition in his adopted country.

Sow finally captured the attention of Europe in 1999, when his giant sculptures of wrestlers were exhibited on the famed Pont des Arts bridge (photo below) near the Louvre Museum in Paris.

He exhibited work in France, Germany and Italy. In 2013, he moved all the work he still owned to a museum in Senegal, including “Great Men,” which featured historical figures such as Charles de Gaulle and Mandela. Sculptures of Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Gandhi would be included in his gallery of men who “helped me not despair of mankind,” he told AFP at the time.

Of his Mandela sculpture, Sow said that “he extends his hand to keep corrupt African heads of state at bay”.

The burly giants were sculpted from the artist’s trademark mixture of clay, rubber, straw, and coated in an all-weather coating.

In 2013, Sow became the first African artist admitted to France’s prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts (French Academy of Fine Arts).

Elected to French Academy of Fine Arts

The sculptor was elected to the prestigious Academy – one of France’s five creative “Académies” – at a ceremony in Paris in December 2013 during which he dedicated the honour to “all of Africa, its diaspora and the great man who has just left us, Nelson Mandela”.

He also paid tribute to his late countryman, Senegalese writer Léopold Sédar Senghor, who was the first African to be elected to the Académie française (France’s academy of French language) in 1983.

At the Academy, Sow was seated in front of Jean Cardot, who praised Sow extensively during the ceremony. “You are an example of the richness and marvellous diversity of the artistic expression,” Cardot said. “What daring! What achievement!”

“You have the instinct, as old as humanity, of a sculptor,” Cardot told him.




– With l’Agence France Presse

Tea Time in Johannesburg

After  eleven years at GE, where she held leadership positions in several divisions across the world Swaady Martin, an Ivorian entrepreneur, decided to follow her passion for African culture & tea, and founded Yswara a growing home-grown African global luxury tea brand four years ago. Continue reading “Tea Time in Johannesburg”

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. Continue reading “African Fragrances x African Contemporary Art”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Inner Beauty Matters

A wind of change is blowing on beauty industry. For the past few months the industry has made very strong statements. Continue reading “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Inner Beauty Matters”

Soul Escape: Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Landlocked by the fog and the shipwrecks of the Skeleton Coast to the west, the harsh rocky terrain and drifting sand dunes of Namibia’s Kaokoveld desert is home to a slick new camp courtesy of ecotourism specialists, Wilderness Safaris. Continue reading “Soul Escape: Skeleton Coast, Namibia”

Soul Escape: 95 at Morgenster, South Africa

Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate is hardly a new kid on the block. A rich olive and wine farm that dates to 1711, it sits at the gateway to the Western Cape wine-growing region and is a mere 35 minutes from Cape Town, nestled in the landscape of Somerset West. Continue reading “Soul Escape: 95 at Morgenster, South Africa”

Grace Wales Bonner: Black Male Identity

Grace Wales Bonner, a true gifted designer who has become known for collections that explore black culture and identity, has won the LVMH 2016 prize for emerging talent. Last November she already won the Best Emerging Designer prize at The British Fashion Awards… and she is only 25 years old! Continue reading “Grace Wales Bonner: Black Male Identity”

Africa Bag!

Recently Christian Louboutin joined forces with longtime friend Valérie Schlumberger founder of CSAO -La Compagnie du Sénégal et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest- and the women of La Maison Rose to create the unique and vibrant Africaba day bag. Continue reading “Africa Bag!”

Queens of Africa Dolls

If you have children, you’ll definitely have to offer them one of theses beautiful dolls.

Started as a personal mission seven years ago by Taofick Okoya, frustrated that he couldn’t find a black doll on the market for his niece, Queens of Africa Dolls  line is outselling Barbie in Nigeria.  Continue reading “Queens of Africa Dolls”

Mary Sibande: The Future Is Female

Mary Sibande art work is powerful that is why we want to focus on her today. Through her art she tells the tale of her alter-ego Sophie, a domestic worker who finds refuge in dreams where she emancipates herself from the ghoulish realism of an ordinary existence, cleaning other people’s homes. Continue reading “Mary Sibande: The Future Is Female”

Cannes Crush: Ruth Negga

Ethiopian-born, Irish actress truly impressed us in her role of Mildred Loving. She totally embraces Mildred’s personality in Jeff Nichols‘ drama: “Loving”, beside the amazing Joel Edgerton who plays Richard Loving. We really hope she’ll win the best actress award on Sunday and an Academy Award next year.

Continue reading “Cannes Crush: Ruth Negga”

Papa Wemba, Africa’s ‘King of Rhumba Rock’

Congolese rumba music legend Papa Wemba died after collapsing on stage in the Ivory Coast in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to the private morgue where his body was taken. Continue reading “Papa Wemba, Africa’s ‘King of Rhumba Rock’”

Soul Escape: La Mamounia, Marrakech

Since 1925, La Mamounia is a jet set hot spot. The legendary luxury oasis within whose twelfth-century ramparts lies a large park, clay tennis courts, enormous swimming pool, vegetable gardens, and even a quirky freestanding ice cream parlor for hotel guests.  Continue reading “Soul Escape: La Mamounia, Marrakech”

Hit Burundi Roads With ‘Ikinga’

Founded in 2005, Burundian bicycle-taxi association, Solidarité des Taxis Vélos du Burundi, has more than 15,000 unionized members. In 2013, photographer Stephan Würth took a road trip around the hilly country, snapping images on his iPhone of these ubiquitous “bike taxi-men” who are the subject of his new photo book : Ikinga.

Continue reading “Hit Burundi Roads With ‘Ikinga’”

Seydou Keïta, The Master Of Portraiture

A big event is coming up! For the first time the Grand Palais in Paris curates a retrospective of the great Seydou Keïta, and brings together an exceptional collection of nearly 300 photographs, including modern prints in black and white, sized 120×180 and 50×60, as well as unique prints from his time. Continue reading “Seydou Keïta, The Master Of Portraiture”

Africa’s New Golden Oil

First, there was Argan and Jojoba oils, and then coconut oil. Now, Marula oil has stormed the market and seems like it might have even more benefits (and staying power) than the rest.

The oil, derived from the indigenous Southern Africa Marula tree, can be used on its own as a cold-pressed, unrefined oil, or as an ingredient in other skin and hair products. Marula oil  has a lot of selling points. It’s moisturizing, but it won’t clog your pores. “It’s rich in essential fatty acids that mimic those that exist naturally in the outer layer of the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. It also contains the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and flavonoids. But the best part? It’s a surprisingly nonoily oil: “It’s quickly absorbed into the skin without leaving you greasy,” says Zeichner.

 It’s actually 16 percent higher in antioxidants and fatty acids than Argan and Jojoba oil, not that anyone’s judging.) Adriana Martino, co-founder of NYC’s Skinney Medspa, says. Plus, she adds, Marula oil’s benefits work far into the future, too, thanks to ingredients that “fight against free radicals in your skin, which lead to cell damage and aging.”

Martino finds the oil “perfect for the winter months, as it has a bit of thicker consistency than other oils, so it creates a barrier against harsh winter conditions.” Yet Marula oil is also rich in omega-3, which allows for faster absorption into the skin—so although it is a thicker oil than some of its counterparts, it sinks right into the skin, leaving it smooth and silky, not greasy.

As for who should use Marula oil? It’s great for all skin types, which is one of the reasons Tiffany Masterson, founder of the skincare line Drunk Elephant, calls it her “star ingredient.” When she was in the early stages of developing her collection (which launched at Sephora last month), she came across Marula oil while scouting ingredients and instantly sensed its power. “As a facial oil devotee already, I recognized immediately how quickly it absorbed and just how amazing it felt on my skin,” Masterson said. “It was a no-brainer to thread it through my entire line.”

Though Masterson’s line only focuses on skin, she also swears by virgin Marula oil for her hair. “When used on hair, it hydrates, repairs, moisturizes, and helps reduce frizziness,” she says. “I’ve found that it makes the best hair serum, and I also use it as a pre-conditioning treatment before I shower.” Great for hair, skin, and the anti-aging fight: Could it be time for an oil upgrade?

For skin care, try: 

Acure Marula Oil
This product is a slightly more affordable version of the pure oil (you can buy a 1-ounce bottle for less than $20). To use it most effectively, apply the oil right after washing your face. “Dot the oil all over the area you want to cover, then rub it in, and connect the dots,” says Zeichner, who recommends layering other products over it. Because the oil absorbs into skin so well, it helps other products you slather on over it absorb better, too. « If you apply an oil before your anti-aging cream, the oil molecules behave like tiny Trojan horses, tricking the skin into letting active ingredients—like retinol,glycolic acid, and vitamin C—deeper into the skin and closer to the collagen-producing fibroblasts, all without irritating the surface,” says David Colbert, a dermatologist in New York City.

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil
The entire Drunk Elephant line includes marula oil (the brand’s name comes from the idea that elephants get drunk when they eat marula fruit), but this no-frills oil is our favorite. “Pure marula oil may be especially appropriate for people with sensitive skin,” says Zeichner. This one has no added fragrance and made our tester’s dry winter skin noticeably softer and dewier after just a few nightly uses—not an easy feat.

African Botanics’ Pure Marola Oil
It is an anti-aging savior. Rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamins C and E, this weightless botanical moisturizer deeply nourishes and hydrates the skin while helping to build collagen and increase elasticity. It will revitalize your complexion by giving you a radiant, youthful glow. Amino Acids help cells renew and combat premature aging – Antioxidants soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – Suitable for all skin types

Pure Marula Oil by John Paul Selects
Light and hydrating, Pure Marula Facial Oil absorbs quickly into the skin without a greasy after-feel providing immediate and long lasting hydration and improved skin elasticity. Pure Marula facial Oil by Marula Pure Beauty Products is the only doctor endorsed, scientifically validated facial oil, with 60% more antioxidants than the leading Argan Oil.

For hair care, try:

Carol’s Daughter Marula Oil Softening Serum
Formulated specifically for curly hair, this serum smooths frizz and softens ringlets, leaving them glossy and soft. Our curly-haired tester liked the thin consistency because it allowed her to easily spread the product evenly through her hair.

Nexxus Oil Infinite Nourishing Oil
This smoothing serum works wonders on coarse, thick, frizzy hair. The blend of marula, babassu, buriti, sweet-almond, macadamia, and sunflower oils (say that five times fast) tames flyaways, smooths split ends, and detangles knots when applied to towel-dried hair and boosts shine when skimmed over dry, styled hair.

MarulaOil Rare Oil Replenishing Shampoo & Conditioner
Both products are infused with marula oil, so they’re intensely smoothing and moisturizing. But hydrating as they may be, the combo is surprisingly lightweight; our tester with fine hair used them and noted that her hair was shiny but not limp or greasy.

MarulaOil Rare Oil Treatment

This multitasking product can be used on hair and skin—and we love it equally for both. Our curly-haired tester raved about its thick, flyaway-taming consistency. Applied to damp or dry hair, it adds tons of shine and moisture to ragged, sad-looking ends. The lingering fruity-floral scent is just an added benefit.

Tracey Rose’s Legacy

Today we would like to introduce you South-African contemporary artist: Tracey Rose. Since more than a decade her art work really captures our attention. It started in 2001 when at Venice Biennale she presented a video projection:  “Ciao Bella”, a feminist video parody of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” in which she plays 12 female “apostles” including Lolita, Josephine Baker and the water spirit, Mami Wata. Continue reading “Tracey Rose’s Legacy”

Bisrat, Fashion Designer

Today The Soul Edition is happy to focus on a woman we really love: Bisrat Negassi.

Bisrat is a very talented and prominent fashion designer. Her collections always bring something new to fashion. As she like to describe her brand, Negassi is transcultural fashion, a universal language inspires the creations. The Line represents a modern and classic design, with Afro/Asian influences and has a German conceptual perspective. Her creations are manufactured in Germany where she lives. Continue reading “Bisrat, Fashion Designer”

Inna Modja Stands Up For Women’s Rights

Malian-born singer Inna Modja who recently moved from Paris to New York  performed few weeks ago during a special event in New York, Mobilizing to Achieve the Global Goals through the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2030. Having been subjected to FGM as a small girl, Ms. Modja advocates for the rights of women and girls. Continue reading “Inna Modja Stands Up For Women’s Rights”

Spirit Awards: Abraham Attah Wins Best Male Lead for ‘Beasts of No Nation’

What a fantastic news! Abraham Attah was named best male lead at the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. The Film Independent Spirit Awards, which recognizes achievement in films with budgets less than $20 million, gave out its awards on Saturday, aka Oscars Eve. Continue reading “Spirit Awards: Abraham Attah Wins Best Male Lead for ‘Beasts of No Nation’”

Soul Escape: Santoku, Ghana

Imagine that you are in Accra in Ghana, the West African energetic city, and you desperately need to eat Japanese food. That kind of emergency happen sometimes. We have a solution for you. Continue reading “Soul Escape: Santoku, Ghana”

Herieth Paul, Dark Skins’ Ambassador

Twenty years old Tanzanian model, Herieth Paul was just announced as the new global spokesmodel for Maybelline today, joining the likes of Gigi Hadid and Jourdan Dunn as a Maybelline Girl. It’s a major step for inclusivity in the beauty industry–you rarely see a dark skin black woman with a short, natural Afro in national beauty campaigns.

“When I first started modeling in 2011, there were very few darker-skinned girls. Now I see girls from all over the world,” Paul said. “I feel like [diversity] is getting better—we’re not there yet—but I see a change. There’s still some work to be done!”

Made In Africa By Aurora James

Aurora James, founder of Brother Vellies is becoming a big accessories designer in the industry. She sealed her it girl reputation when Kanye West came to the presentation of her Spring Summer 2016 collection last September at New York fashion week. Continue reading “Made In Africa By Aurora James”

Angélique Kidjo And The Rise Of Africa

Angelique Kidjo, one of Africa’s most prominent musicians, won her third Grammy on Monday and dedicated it to aspiring artists on the continent. Continue reading “Angélique Kidjo And The Rise Of Africa”

Soul Escape: Sandibe, Maun, Botswana

After New York fashion week and before Paris fashion week fall winter 2016-2017, we found the perfect place to be completely  detached from the stress of the city life. This true paradise is in Botswana. Continue reading “Soul Escape: Sandibe, Maun, Botswana”