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Art and Poetry

NNEKA GIGI: THE BROKEN ARE MORE EVOLVED

tavia

Nneka Gigi is a visual artist and doctoral student residing in Los Angeles, California. In April of 2017 she released her debut collection titled “Amaka”; a name that pulls from her West African roots. The Ready to Wear collection features custom painted jackets and skateboards, a short film, a digital magazine and more. Take a look at the full collection at nnekagigi.com.

nneka art

Q: What inspired the collection?

A: Not in any particular order: Japanese street fashion, manga comics, 90s style colorways, political issues of personal interest, and of course the diverse culture that happily infects Los Angeles.

Flip through the Digital Zine HERE.

Q: Why West? Why California?

A: Growing up in a neighborhood that constantly tested my ability to make good decisions and see myself beyond what I thought was my future provoked me to pursue a new path, one with no ceilings. Through the encouragement and support of my best friend and boyfriend, I boarded a Greyhound leaving Buffalo’s downtown station to Los Angeles.

After being stranded in St. Louis for 6 hours, Greyhound staff cracking my laptop screen and managing my doctoral courses when decent Wi-Fi was available, we made it to Los Angeles. I did it. I got out…and nothing was ever the same.

Q: What is “Uninvited”?

A: Shot by Ronnell Hudson and creatively directed by Zachary Bxllion, Uninvited is a short film that I curated in the summer of 2016 with a small crew. Going places where “they” say you can’t go is the underlying premise of the storyline. Prior to being more comfortable with who I was, I felt the need to defend my style, ethnicity, cultural heritage and intellect. “They” represents anyone or anything that attempts to keep me from experiences and opportunities based on superficial and or bias reasons.

Watch “Uninvited” HERE.

The short was filmed in a mini mansion in Sherman Oaks, California. A total of 11 staff was involved in the production.

Q: Explain the significance of Schuele Avenue.

A: Schuele is the street that I spent most of my childhood and adult years. Located on the lower eastside of Buffalo, New York, Schuele was not always the safest place to live but it was my home for many years. You get tired of not being able to sit on your porch at night or watching S.W.A.T. hide in your bushes for a drug bust across the street, but I have a strange love with Schuele. It taught me to be street smart and despite how many times I cringed at the site of memorials for people my age or younger, Schuele was my first supporter of getting out.

“Amaka” aims to speak to the quirky and the eccentric, specifically those who take pride in not succumbing to popularized social and cultural standards, beliefs and behaviors.

Author: Nneka Gigi
Email: nugigi@buffalo.edu
Author Bio: My name is Nneka Gigi. I’m a visual artist and doctoral student based in Los Angeles. Over the course of the past two years, I’ve taken a hiatus to move to California, rebrand myself and design a new collection. Finally, last month I launched! My team and I have really developed something special, including a Ready to Wear collection featuring custom painted jackets and skateboards, a short film and a digital magazine.
Link to social media or website: https://nnekagigi.com/ and Instagram: @nnekagigi

 

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