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Africa - Creative Arts, Africa LGBTIQ, Literature, Music, Queer Politics

2012 edition of SCARF magazine: ‘Breathing Space’

SCARF Magazine is that rarity: a collectable arts magazine produced  annually that features ingredients that shouldn’t work but always do.  Founded by artist and curator, Kinsi Abdulleh, under the umbrella group ‘Numbi’ (which means ‘healing dance’ in Somali), the magazine is collated by a small group of dedicated editors and artists, including acclaimed short story-writer and visual artist, Diriye Osman, who serves as the deputy editor. Every year, the SCARF team choose  a theme that reflects ideas close to them. This year’s theme is ‘Breathing Space’ which is explored in different ways by the artists and writers in this volume:
Award-winning musician, Meshell Ndegeocello chose to write a short, poignant article about what ‘freedom’ means to her: the jazz singer, Lizz Wright,  shares a poem on the importance of finding one’s voice; MacArthur ‘Genius’ fellow, Edwidge Danticat presents  a gorgeous recipe from Haiti that reflects the country’s painful past and promising future: the Booker-shortlisted novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah  shares an extract from his powerful new novel, ‘The Last Gift.’    There are interviews with renowned artists, Wangechi Mutu and Fatoumata Diawara as well as a life-affirming essay about sexual identity by the Nigerian blogger and feminist activist, Sokari Ekine..
Every single page of this gem is illustrated by a group of talented young artists based in the UK, including Lyndsey Winnington, Janneke de Jong, Bethany Hermitt and Kichau Ramlaul.  There’s fiction by the award-winning novelist and screenwriter, John R. Gordon and rising star, Lauren Trimble and the poetry section features Dorothea Smartt, Sai Murray (who’s also the art director), Elmi Ali (an associate editor at the magazine), Idil Abshir and Booker-shortlisted novelist and poet, Romesh Gunesekera.
The cover illustration which features a beautiful nymph blowing bubbles in the air is by Diriye Osman.
This issue of the magazine will launch on Tuesday the 22nd of May at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London. There’ll be an exclusive reading by Abdulrazak Gurnah followed by a Q&A with Diriye Osman about art, life and the African writer’s role in today’s society. You can purchase tickets by following the link:
SCARF contributors 2012:

Wangechi Mutu is one of the best artists of her generation. She talks candidly in the next issue about how she got into art as well as her hopes and dreams for the future. The gorgeous portrait of Wangechi is illustrated by Kichau Ramlaul.





Grammy-award winning musician Meshell Ndegeocello has written a beautiful meditation on ‘Freedom’ for the next issue of SCARF, which comes out next week. This image is illustrated by the amazing Lyndsey Winnington.





Lizz Wright is one of the most acclaimed performers of her generation. Mixing jazz, soul, gospel and a little country into her music, Lizz has contributed a gorgeous poem to the new issue of SCARF.





Lauren Trimble‘s short story, ‘The Way Forward’ is stunning and it’s accompanied by a beautiful illustration by Janneke de Jong.