Monday, August 29, 2011

Out of Africa

How come that we only can think of devastation when we think of sub-saharan Africa? 
We're made to feel guilty of a lavish lifestyle and being too mean or uncaring to donate enough to lift these poor peeps out of their misery. Maybe it's simply time to embrace the colour and vibrancy of this continent and put the blame where it belongs... on the lack of political will among the elite and those who benefit from keeping things how they are. Maybe THEN change can happen.

Out of Africa 1

This will not be a political tirade, no worries, nor am I trying to save the world in a fashion blog. This is about clothes, all about clothes... and fun such!

Like the stuff at Peace and Lol, a place that made my mouth fall open with a 'feed me!' Africa and Tibet shoulder to shoulder with rastafari, with some simple but psychadelic 70s clothing thrown in. It's also a place to visit for realistic african skins.

Out of Africa 2

There are freebies galore, including african dashiki suits, like the one above, with matching kufi and a necklace. Sandals are included as well, but I preferred these old ones from my inventory. I don't know anything about the textiles but I know that the spiral motive used on the necklace is referring to traditional shell money, where the flat back ends of cone shells would be used and treasured as something like a currency.

Out of Africa 3

What really bowled me over, however, was a pair of complete masai avatars for only 300L each. It's obvious that some true appreciation lies behind their creation. I don't go for whole human avatars, but I fell for these. The vibrant colours, the dignified humanity and the glass bead jewellery hit me head on. (The cattle in the background are Ankole-Watusi, which is not a massai breed but mainly associated with the tutsies *Tries desperately to look like these are well known facts rather than hurridly picked from the web.* Details like that is fun to pay attention too, it adds a lot of colour to the world.)

Out of Africa 4

The complex mass of necklaces belonging to the fem av made me drool. I think that the early europeans thought they were getting a good deal trading with 'cheap' glass beads, but how wrong where they? A classic case of 'know the price of everything but the value of nothing'. To see the objects of beauty that many indigenous people have created with the humble glass bead, it's obvious that white man just didn't have a clue.

Out of Africa 5

Of course, nothing here is complete without a contemporary western application. Here's my mixed outfit with a few additions... came out totally fem but so what? Male 'skirt' under the trench coat from COCO. Red leather pants from A:S:S. Not their best creations by far, but the bright red from the textile is picked up by the highlights while the blackening towards the ankles blends with the black of the back less boots from my last entry so for this purpose they are perfect.

A kufi was rapidly put together from textured prims from another copy of the skirt. The thin simple string of beads is an undershirt layer from the male av and the fem necklace is worn over that. The fem avatar comes with stretched dark skinned earlobes which, understandably enough, comes no copy/no mod so new swathes of earrings, as well as the bangles, were crafted from prims from a spare copy of the necklace. Even the nipple shield is made from a couple of modded prims.

The South Africa based Uthango Social Investment's Virtual Africa was used as backdrop for the first outfit as a bridge between south africans and the world at large. The green backdrop is from Kenya - in the lavender field, the SL base of the german based Leben and Lernen in Kenya which works for sponsoring school kids in Kenya. Beside providing a nice place to chill, they organise various cultural events to raise funds and awareness, in short - a place to keep in tune with. 

That's it, folks. I truly enjoyed digging into this material and exploring the african presence... or absence... in SL on the way and I hope you'll get something out of it as well.

Until next time, take care and have fun!

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