The TRUE Africa 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow. We’re featuring them over 100 days and we’ve asked them all three questions.
Abrima Erwiah is a designer and co-founder of label Studio 189. She partners with actress Rosario Dawson on the eco-friendly fashion line, which works with artisans to produce the garments in a studio in Accra. She discusses the impact they’ve had and why David Adjaye is her African of the year.
You work a lot with artisans and craftsmen based in Africa. What has surprised you the most?
I have been most impressed by how creative, innovative and resilient everyone is despite numerous challenges they may face on a daily basis. It inspires me.
What do you think you’ve achieved so far for people in Africa?
I think we’ve been able to inspire other creatives to start new projects and get involved with existing ones in Africa. We’ve helped to spark a bit of curiosity on what is happening in Ghana.
We’ve made a significant contribution and are capable of doing more.
We’ve been promoting the ‘Made in Ghana’ and ‘Made in Africa’ story a lot and have been trying to create jobs; support students; and encourage talent. I think we’ve made a significant contribution and are capable of doing more. I really hope that we get the opportunity to have an impact on lives and to spread our wings and fly.
Who’s your African of the year?
David Adjaye, he is incredible and the work he’s done is beyond impressive. I love the approach he takes to his work and projects. He doesn’t force an idea into a space but rather looks and accepts it as it is. He then seems to create techniques to make the design and space better. We often find design solutions that do not leverage the space at hand in Ghana… the rooms are too small, too short and so on. Adjaye’s projects look at the space and use sustainable, local materials such as bamboo.
I admire how he masters the art of bridging a local and global approach and appeals to a wide audience. We strive to work as Adjaye Associates do at Studio One Eighty Nine. Lastly, not only is he one of the most successful contemporary architects of our time but he’s also so humble, kind-hearted and supportive. David Adjaye is definitely my African of the year!