Nature’s fragile state captured in still life. Yet, Ibrahim Kamara’s and William Ndatira’s interpretation is one which symbolises strength
Opening the Uova series, in collaboration with Ginori 1735, a company taken under the wing of Kering Group, that expresses excellence in the artistic manufacture of porcelain, is stylist and photographer Ibrahim Kamara and writer Willy Ndatira. The series titled ‘Ovum’ (egg) expresses the beginning of all creation by using the egg as an analogy. An unhatched egg resting in a nest is a message of anticipation, unexpected potential and hope. Once broken or cracked, the egg transcends into a state of vulnerability: its contents either spilled or fragilely holding on for dear life as the emerging mass catches its first breath. From then on, it’s a matter of survival, hoping that its sheltered growth has nurtured it enough to pull through within the pre-existing conditions and despite that, break free. Understanding its possibility for interpretation, six creatives – all different in their craft and ethos – apply their own meaning to the fluid messages of the Egg.
The still life, an art form which found its popularity during the seventeenth century, can seem a little old-fashioned for a young stylist like Ibrahim Kamara, although German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has been creating contemporary work around the style. Still life photography has a scientific aspect in that it documents and records details that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Hidden forms and natural patterns are examined, and their beauty and complexity revealed. Ibrahim went to medical school before turning his sight onto the world of fashion maybe there is a connection there? The egg, a symbol of life in many cultures, acts as a cornucopia or horn of plenty symbolising abundance. Ibrahim Kamara’s approach to styling is rooted in his African childhood.
I see his work as revolutionary because as a stylist his work focuses on abundance instead of status. He does not always need designer goods to create images symbolizing opulence. His work invites us to move away from the mindset that fashion is about the consumption of designer goods, but in fact is an act of adorning oneself. An act which is present in all cultures. «For the image I let the flowers sit in my living room for a couple of days. They became fragile and there is beauty in that. Sometimes you have to get at your weakest and lowest point to come back and make beautiful work. Not being scared to fail or get it wrong is what keeps life interesting. You can always learn, I’m still learning and hungry to learn to be better at my craft»
Moving to London in his early teens, Kamara is originally from Sierra Leone. He has since worked with fashion Maison’s such as Stella McCartney, Fenty and Hermès as well as publications including British Vogue, Love and AnOther. An alumnus from Central Saint Martins, Ib Kamara is paving his way within the fashion industry with his signature style whilst paying homage to stylists of the past. Prodigy to the late Buffalo collective member and stylist Barry Kamen, in the year 2016 he took to the streets of Paris to cast and style young African-French men with Jamie Morgan – an ode to their late friend and collaborator. Under 30, the stylist is the senior fashion editor-at-large for i-D Magazine and is represented by Art + Commerce, an agency working with a diverse group of image makers committed to playing a positive role in the cultural understanding of image making. Kamara’s most recent collaborations include Rihanna’s new Fenty Fashion label and 2020’s edition of the Pirelli calendar by Paolo Roversi.
The Ovum series is interpretation from six artists around the world who have contributed to the upcoming Lampoon issue 22, for which each artist transformed white porcelain eggs, that were provided by Ginori 1735, into an opportunity to display their work and communicate their style and inspiration in a time of change and transformation.