Event: Circular Heroes - A Circular Fashion Workshop with Rafael Kouto

Event: Circular Heroes - A Circular Fashion Workshop with Rafael Kouto

Rafael Kouto, a multidisciplinary designer and researcher in residence at G.A.S. invited members of the creative community to attend Circular Heroes, a free upcycling workshop at G.A.S. Lagos. The opportunity was open to fashion, textile, and other crafts practitioners. Participants will receive instructions on methods such as embroidery, applique, and weaving, and experimentally apply them to pre-made printed textiles. This workshop took a cue from the sprawling waterside communities of Lagos whose landfills provide some of the working materials. The workshop was executed in collaboration with Peter D. Abayomi,  whose initiative, the Eran Jije Project, addresses waste management and environmental sustainability issues within the community. 


The workshop started with introductory statements from both collaborators stating the workshops' objectives, and the project's background referencing the pilot which had taken place in Bariga only a week prior. This was followed by brainstorming sessions where participants separated into groups for the collaborative workshop. Equipped with found materials they had sourced themselves, they soon entered the production phase of the workshop, utilizing applique, collage, and other techniques unique to their respective practices. The event was attended by diverse practitioners with an ecological focus, including photographers, fashion designers, visual artists, stylists, and environmental activists.










The artist used this means to explore and exchange ideas on local methodologies to circular fashion; specifically how artists and designers engage with contemporary West African material culture, decolonization in fashion, and traditional crafts and rituals linked to the Yoruba community. This workshop came as a sequel to a pilot facilitated with the Eran Jije Project in Bariga, to produce collaborative works by some of the young people of the Isale-Akoka neighborhood.








Event Details
: Circular Heroes
Apply by: Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Event date: Friday, March 15, 2024
Time: 1:00 - 5:00 pm 
Venue: G.A.S. Foundation, 9b, Hakeem Dickson Drive, off TF Kuboye Road, Oniru, Lagos.




About Rafael

Rafael Kouto, who lives and works between Lausanne, Zürich and Venice, is Swiss with Togolese origins. He is a creative director, fashion & textile designer, as well as a researcher in upcycling methods, and sustainable and engaging strategies with a particular focus on open source and craftsmanship. He studied Fashion Design at FHNW-HGK in Basel, earning an MA in Fashion Matters from the Sandberg Institut in Amsterdam. He has had various work experiences at Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, Carven and Ethical Fashion Initiative.

In 2017 he founded the avant-garde upcycling couture brand of the same name, of which he leads the creative direction, the development of strategies, collaborations and engaging projects for the promotion of upcycling and sustainability through the use of textile waste, dead stock and others materials in the creative and production process. The promotion of upcycling takes place through workshops in collaboration with various institutions and through teaching.

Raphael's residency is generously supported by Pro Helvetia.  


About Peter D. Abayomi


Also known as Peter Bàtá, is a percussionist, multidisciplinary sonic artist and composer across multiple media including African folk music, sound art, contemporary music, dance, and experimental music theatre. He is a cultural organizer and community advocate renowned for hos work on The Power Of Drum Initiative, Slum Food Support.Org, Eran Jije Project, Prepared Junk Project, and more. 

Eran Jije revolves around the concept of 'Music of the People,' utilizing music and art as catalysts for change. Its goal is to reimagine spaces, foster unity amongst people, and bridge gaps within rural communities in Lagos and across Africa through public activities, handcraft and creativity, performance, and collaboration. The inaugural edition took place in 2021 at Isale Akoka, Bariga, Its primary focus is community engagement, and centres around public programming that actively involve children, youth, and women in the Bariga community. These activities include open mic sessions, performances, empowerment programs, art training, and handcrafting workshops, often addressing waste management and environmental sustainability within the community.

About Pro Helvetia

The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has been working at the heart of the Swiss and international cultural scene since 1939. It fosters contemporary art production in Switzerland and helps disseminate and promote Swiss arts and cultural exchange in Switzerland and abroad. Pro Helvetia has its head office in Zurich and maintains an international presence through its liaison office network, located in six major regions of the world. These include Johannesburg, Cairo, Moscow, New Delhi, Shanghai and South America. Pro Helvetia Johannesburg is committed to cultural exchange and artistic collaboration between Switzerland and Southern, East, Central and West Africa. The office forges ties with local organisations, institutions and event organisers, develops and nurtures long-term partnerships, initiates co-productions with artists from the region and organises residencies for Swiss and African artists in both geographic contexts. 


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