In my eyes, Amaka Osakwe, creative director of Lagos-based label Maki Oh, is the quintessential African artist. African artists in particular are keen to use their creative works to address relevant societal issues, and artists in general make culture popular by renewing old customs in refreshing ways that make new trends from established concepts. Ms. Osakwe always finds a way to do both, using her latest line to add breadth to the never ending versatility of ancient Yoruban fabrics and to address the question of what it means to be a black woman.
Ms. Osakwe explained to Vogue, and to her followers on Instagram, that this line played upon Nigerian's multifaceted use of the word "ehn" in daily language. Most interchangeable with the English phrase "oh," "ehn" can be used to convey anything from shock, to understanding, to disagreement. Much like the idea of black womanhood, "ehn" has become a loaded term, with a myriad of meanings based upon who is speaking and the tone in which the topic is addressed. In any event, Ms. Osakwe never fails to tug at my heartstrings as strongly as she pulls at my pockets, with designs that are as symbolic as they are solid. Check out a few pieces from the line below:
Photos courtesy of the Maki Oh Instagram account: @maki.oh