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Fishbowl Talks


Curated by Lies van Assche

Radiant Nights #11 opens with a Collective Wisdom Circle Conversation around the central theme of “cultural appreciation” in the form of a conversation in a circle, between five inspiring international guests. Listen and also take the floor yourself in this participatory conversation with Baloji, Harris Elliott, Janice Deul, Nyanchama Okemwa and and Seckou Ouologuem. With Blue as the moderator, the five panelists start from their specific personal and professional experiences to dialogue about the cultural appropriation, depreciation and appreciation of African textiles.

Cultural appreciation of African textiles is a celebration of traditions, the collective enjoyment of culture in all its forms, the shared recognition of this beauty, sharing, passing on and reinterpreting. Or is it a term that also conceals a negative narrative? What about ‘cultural depreciation?’ Is there room for ‘cultural appropriation’? How do we weave history with the future? Which knots do we make and which do we cut? How do they take this cultural heritage into their practice? After cultural appropriation, is cultural appreciation now also evident in contemporary fashion? If so then by whom, how and to what extent? Which cluster in the community is taking an interest…a younger generation? an older generation? Men? Women? African? Non- African? How do we anticipate the future of African textiles?


About the panelists:


Baloji, an award-winning musician and filmmaker, is a versatile artist serving as an art director and costume designer. Don’t confuse him with artist Sammy Baloji.
Baloji, Swahili for “sorcerer,” was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1978. At four, he moved to Belgium with his father, growing up in Liège. In his youth, he found his passion for hip-hop, tagging, rap, and dance. He’s set to open his exhibition, “Baloji Augurism,” at MoMu (Antwerp) on October 21. His latest film, “Augure” (Omen), earned the UN CERTAIN REGARD Award at Cannes and a 2024 Oscars nomination for Belgium. 


Harris Elliott is a renowned Creative Director of Bold (Black Orientated Development Agency in London), as well as Cultural Curator and Academic. Elliott has worked extensively in Japan for 20 years, has curated a number of international cultural exhibitions and counts Thom Browne, Adidas, Gorillaz and The Royal College of Art as his clients. He curated the Missing Thread Exhibition at Somerset House in the UK, one its most popular events.


Janice Deul, an Afro-Dutch activist, curator, and journalist, passionately champions diversity and inclusion within media, arts, and particularly in the realm of fashion. Through her eloquent writing, engaging panel discussions, impactful workshops, and insightful lectures, she drives this advocacy forward. Her influential platform, Diversity Rules, established in 2014, serves as a catalyst. Recently, she collaborated in curating an exhibition titled ‘Voices of Fashion,’ showcasing Black couture, beauty, and styles, at the Centraal Museum Utrecht.

Nyanchama Okemwa

Nyanchama Okemwa: Curator, artist, and Decolonial expert, sharing the meaning and symbolism embedded in African textile traditions.

Learn and discover the beauty and diversity of African textiles in this enriching exhibition. Nyanchama Okemwa guides you through each textile piece, sharing its origin, making process, and vibrant meanings. An authentic collection of handmade pieces are on display. Delve into the stories and depthAfrican dress. Okemwa relates charming stories with emotional resonance woven into each fabric. “I am a very committed activist with thirty years of experience and an academic background in education and anthropology. I am also an artist with a huge passion for textiles. This motivated me to set up my textile exhibition Pagne Africain.”

She is an advisor and campaign coach for the non-profit organization Hand in Hand against Racism. She is currently pursuing her PhD in philosophy.

She is currently President of the European Network against Racism (ENAR), 


Seckou OUOLOGUEM (1985) is a slam poet, author and performer. He started rapping when he was 13. Ten years later, Seckou ,inspired by American slam poetry from artists such as Black Ice and Saul Williams, decided he wanted to be heard too. He broke away from the formal rules of rap and started writing Dutch slam poetry. He won several poetry and rap awards in addition to giving and organising lectures, workshops and competitions in (music) schools, universities and prisons. He is also an avid collector of (West African) Fabrics and stories. He is working on a project where he brings community, fabrics, poetry together around the question: “who’s space is this anyway?”



Blue is a storyteller, designer, and creative director, who works under the her brand called ALLCLTH.