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In Their Finest Robes, The Children Shall Return, 2019

Performance, video

Presented during the N’GOLÁ Biennale 2019 in São Tomé e Príncipe

Independent fashion curator and creative director, Sunny Dolat staged a fashion performance with high symbolic value: fifty-six fashion designers — one from every country of the African continent and the diaspora — provided a look for each of the fifty-six models. A central inspiration was a speech in 2018 by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo- Addo, who declared 2019 “The Year of Return for Africans” from the diaspora, claiming that “the time is right” for people of African descent to make the journey back. Part dawn ritual, part site-specific performance, part fashion intervention, In their Finest Robes, the Children Shall Return begins with a Mediator who stands at the interface of Land and Sea, seeking absolution and safe passage in a triumvirate of negotiation: “Will you release them?,” the Mediator asks of the Sea. “Will you let them through?,” the Mediator asks of the Land. “Will you forgive us?,” the Mediator asks of the Children. Dolat: “If I am doing anything for Africa, it will be for all 55 countries, or nothing. I would like to set that standard.”

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