Mimi Aborowa, Founder and Creative Director of Lagos based ìrìn journal, joins Stephanie Blomkamp, Founder and Editor of Cape Town based Oath magazine, to discuss magazine publishing and contemporary photography in Africa. Part of BITESIZE BOOKFAIR, a programme of short talks on Instagram Live as part of our Online Photobook Fair 2020.
Mimi Aborowa says of ìrìn, ” Taking its meaning from the Yoruba word for ‘walk’ and ‘journey’; – ìrìn journal is an independent print publication that explores African culture through travel, people and communities. In each issue the journal focuses on a different African city an shines a light on the diverse stories that come together to make up the unique identity of the city.
We collaborate with local talent and voices from artists, chefs and musicians to travel enthusiasts, farmers, and economists to get as much insight into the heart of the city culture. The journal is the result of that collaboration: a collection of thoughtful and balanced content, a result of a series of engaging storytelling, visuals and conversations that touch on the cultural fabric of the featured city. Leaving you with a high quality journal that is both enlightening and enjoyable.With curiosity at our core, we are excited to showcase cities that have big stories to tell, cities that are often overlooked, misinterpreted, with the hopes of updating people’s perspectives regarding that place. We aren’t trying to glamorize life on the continent; ìrìn journal is focused on portraying Africa and Africans as they are.
The concept is simple: to inform and educate our readers, to document these diverse cultures and hopefully inspire them to explore. We are a small group of artists, writers, creatives & travel enthusiasts passionate about telling African stories. For each issue we create a regional team comprising of the talent and voices from the featured city, with the hope of evolving into a community, a hub of African creatives around the continent and the world”.
Stephanie Blomkamp says, “Oath is a ground-breaking biannual publication homegrown in Cape Town, South Africa, that celebrates the art of photography, champions emerging voices from Africa, and shines a light on overlooked archives. We have taken an Oath to push the medium of photography from South Africa and beyond. Our collectable volumes present to the world a curated view of the sweeping frontier of contemporary African photography. We recognize the need to interpret the vast scope of photographic output coming from Africa by providing a much-needed dedicated space for a diverse new generation of photographers.
There are not enough platforms to engage with contemporary African photography both on home soil and abroad. Oath is changing this. By creating a publication to inspire and inform, we are providing an essential platform that connects the photography community across Africa and opens a dialogue with global audiences.
Our mantra is: ‘A Photography Pledge’ and our mission is to grant emerging photographers across the continent visibility. Oath facilitates a unique space for photographers to showcase their work and provide a visual diary of key talent from other areas of the world. Oath strengthens connections in the broader photography community and is a valuable source of information for anyone interested in photography and more specifically to those working in the field of African visual culture.”
Ayomide "Mimi" Aborowa is the Founder & CEO of ìrìn travels and lifestyle media, an independent travel, hospitality and publishing company. A graduate of Geology with a Masters in Energy Studies, she founded ìrìn journal - a bi-annual print magazine that explores African culture through travel, people and community in 2016 and currently holds the position as the Creative Director.
A self professed multipotentialite with various creative interests, she is passionate about travel, culture and African development. In 2018 she was recognised in the October Issue of Condé Nast Traveller for her work on ìrìn journal in a feature highlighting emerging regions and the journals who track them and has partnered with media companies, travel & lifestyle brands both in Nigeria, France and the UK. A foodie with serious wanderlust, Mimi can largely be found exploring, eating pancakes, taking pictures of spiral staircases, flowers and many other whimsical things..
Founder and Editor of Oath magazine, Stephanie Blomkamp was born in Johannesburg South Africa and is the driving force behind Oath. She is a practising photographer herself and recently launched the inaugural volume of Oath. As an Editor, Blomkamp has taken a pledge to push the medium of photography from South Africa and beyond. She carves out a specific space to celebrate emerging voices across the African continent. Her greatest motivation in life is the art of photography, and her purpose with Oath is to champion new talent.
Dismayed by the lack of independent print titles available in South Africa and the more apparent void of photographic representation at art fairs and galleries, she set out to create a volume to change this.
Blomkamp’s mission with Oath goes beyond the pages of the publication. She runs a working platform that helps emerging photographers with mentorship programs, workshops, micro-grants, and exhibitions. Oath is a beacon for photographers on the continent, both as a place for work to be seen and validated but also as an important space for international audiences curious about contemporary African photography. (Portrait by Romy Maxime.)