Toronto - This summer, Kensington Market will play host to the first installation of SUPAFRIK, an experimental “pop-up” concept: part exhibit and part shop. Taking place at Hotshot Gallery (181 Augusta Ave) from July 15 - 31, hot on the heels of the popular Afrofest festival, SUPAFRIK will feature the works of artists, designers and photographers that take inspiration from the African continent. It is curated around the theme of “Urban Contemporary Africana” and will showcase artwork and products that re-contextualize and re-imagine traditional African aesthetics and traditions with a post-modernist eye.
SUPAFRIK is the brainchild of Toronto fashion designer Chinedu Ukabam of the clothing label Chinedesign. Chinedu travelled to New York, Paris and London collecting some of the unique items for sale at SUPAFRIK and documented the journey on the SUPAFRIK blog (www.supafrik.com). There are four main components to SUPAFRIK: Fashion, Music, Literature and Photography. Featured designs include Chinedesign’s Afrotropolis collection (Toronto/Nigeria), exclusive home-ware and fabrics by Shine Shine (Cape Town, South Africa), sneakers by SAWA Shoes (Paris/Cameroon) and Ohema Ohene (London/Ghana), funky graphic t’s by JunkPrints (Brooklyn) and Africa Is The Future (Paris/Rep of Congo/Togo). The music corner will feature CDs and vinyl from Slinky Music (Toronto) while the literature component will include books supplied by A Different Booklist (Toronto) of works from established authors and new authors from Africa and the Diaspora as well books on African art and culture.
SUPAFRIK will also double as a space for programmed interactive events. These will include a musical performance at the opening party by the electronic-afrobeat band Bend Down Boutique, a custom design and silk-screen workshop, a 60’s photo studio with Afro-themed styling and a book reading. Future installments of SUPAFRIK are currently in the works for London, UK and Paris, France.
Chinedesign was founded in 2003 by Chinedu Ukabam. Also known as hip-hop emcee/producer, Eye + Eye, his foray into the fashion scene began with a production of T-shirts to promote the release of his “Love.Life.Music” album. Without any prior fashion industry experience or exposure, the “Love.Life.Music” T-shirt sold over 300 units in Toronto alone; most of which were customized to the customer’s specifications. Today, Chinedesign has expanded from just graphic T’s to a full range of menswear and womenswear that have been sold in boutiques from Toronto to Tokyo. Taking inspiration from his upbringing in Nigeria, the UK, Dubai and Canada, Chinedu has created seasonal collections which have been featured in magazines such as Eye Weekly and Sway, on television shows such as Entertainment Tonight, Divas and Dimes and Da Kink and in films such as Charles Officer’s “Nurse.Fighter.Boy”. Chinedu recently returned to Toronto after relocating to Paris to enhance his knowledge of the fashion business and find new inspiration for his designs. Chinedesign counts Jarvis Church, K-OS, the late Baatin of Slum Village, UK rapper Ty, actor Ngozi Paul and theater director Weyni Mengesha as some of its ardent fans.