Is this the flyest wedding in Africa? When stylist and photographer Picha Marangi met Elizabeth Korikel in Turkana, a town in the northwestern part of Kenya, he found his creative soul mate. A short while later, he married the singer, beader and translator. To celebrate their nuptials, they created looks that incorporated their shared love for vivid color, Elizabeth’s beading work and Picha Marangi’s redesigned thrifted clothes.
Elizabeth and Picha were on an artists’ exchange programme when they met in March 2018. Their wedding is a fictional wedding, featuring fictional versions of themselves. Picha aka Stephen Okoth is a photographer and stylist from Kibera, the biggest informal settlement in Nairobi. He is known as “the most colourful and unconventional man in Kibera”. Last year Nathan Collett’s short fashion film about Picha won the best fashion film at the Bokeh Fashion Film Festival.
Picha creates his looks using bright second-hand clothes bought from the Gikomba market, which according to the BBC, has hundreds of shops and stalls selling second-hand clothes imported from the US and Europe. Picha uses the clothes he finds at the market and repurposes them into fashionable garments.
The artists’ exchange project involves a film project, Turkana, by Jackie Lebo. It is about the race for resources and documents the changing dynamics of the northern part of Kenya after the discovery of oil. According to Good Pitch the film observes the battle for the soul and the future of Kenya’s great Northern desert country. Aljazeera reports that, “the vast barren area has recently become better known after the discovery of oil and large underground aquifers – but also because of widespread insecurity, including cattle raids and conflicts over resources.” The project is sponsored by Doen Foundation and British Council.
In real life Picha Marangi had travelled to Turkana on a cinematography assignment for the film as well as for the artists’ exchange. Their project brought together the individual aesthetics of Picha and Elizabeth while drawing on the cultures of Kibera and Turkana.
So, is this the flyest wedding in Africa? It’s impossible to judge, but it certainly is seriously fly. Drawing attention to upcycled, refashioned second-hand clothes and traditional beading, and to a community pulled apart by oil, is damn fly. These are important stories to tell.
For more information about Jackie Lebo’s film visit here.