dinsdag 14 juli 2015

AFWL Africa Fashion Week London

Press Launch 2015
2015 Press Launch

Africa Fashion Week London has hosted four catwalk events since inception in 2011 and contributed expertise to at least 10 more events produced by 3rd parties such as The Mayor of London’s Black History Month celebrations and the annual Africa Centre Summer Festival.

AFWL showcased over 300 designers to almost 45,000 visitors including buyers, retailers and other industry professionals; and our open-to-the-public events are becoming a highlight on the annual fashion calendar.

Brand Ambassador 2015: 
International model and founder of the Georges Malaika Foundation Noella Coursaris Musunka.

"We are so happy Noella is Brand Ambassador for AFWL 2015. She has been a great friend and supporter of our event and ethos over the years and a compassionate, hardworking, beautiful individual who understands our drive to showcase the best of Africa."
Ronke Ademuliyi - Founder AFWL

Noella Coursaris Musunka
"I am delighted to be serving as this year’s Brand Ambassador to Africa Fashion Week London and to help showcase the brilliant work of African designers. It has always been my belief that fashion can be a tool for breaking down barriers and transcending cultures. This industry has the ability to put Africa on the world stage and can provide for countless job opportunities on the ground and abroad, from local factories to international shops. It is time for the world to see the amazing talent that lies within Africa."
Noella Coursaris Musunka

Africa Fashion Week London is celebrating it's 5th season! A cacophony of African design, talent and diverse ethnic influences that contribute to fashion in the UK. Since debuting in 2011, this inspirational event has gone from strength to strength; championing new and emerging designers who are inspired by the rich culture of Africa and incorporate this heritage into their contemporary design.

Only a few tickets are left so make sure you have reserved yours before they all sell out!

For VIP, Gold or Platinum tickets please visit this link to purchase your tickets.

This year's Africa Fashion Week London will be at Olympia West Hall on Friday 7th August and Saturday 8th August 2015.

Maggie Smith - Winner of The Face of AFWL 2015
Maggie Smith - Winner of The Face of AFWL 2015

donderdag 9 juli 2015

Spirit of Alaska Cruise

Sitting with my eyes closed I gently move along with the heave. With a small group of participents of the Spirit of Alaska cruise we listen to this extraordinary man named Mallku, a Peru Indian from the Andes. We're forming a circle while seated in the relax chairs of the Hollywood Odyssey Bar at the top deck of the ship Jewel of the Seas. Don't ask Mallku of which tribe he descends from, as he comes, so he says 'from the Andes mountains in Peru' and does not belong to one particular tribe. 'And', so he states, 'Aren't we all descendants from the same ancestress?'

The moment you realise you are one with earth, nature, the universe

I am sailing with Royal Caribbean from Seattle to Alaska. Our cruise with the spiritual seminar-at-sea is called Spirit of Alaska and I am one of the 200 participants. The boat has 1800 more guests onboard, as well as another 1000 fabulous members of staff. Next to the seminar there's also time to meet with Alaska's beautiful nature and people. We'll stop at Juneau and Skagway and finally at Victoria in Canado. To me sailing the Inside Passage to see the immense South Saywer Glacier upclose is the absolute highlight of this trip. 

Numerous speakers already spoke of how unique this opportunity is, being able to meditate at sea, with nothing but nature, sky and endless horizons of water around us. I couldn't agree more. Am not much of a water person, and although my sign is cancer, I never really liked sailing or being in open water. When approaching the glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord it takes my breath away, and I feel very, very small. But also I feel very strong, connected and happy at the same time. 

Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise © Artstudio23.com

The typical glacier' blue ice pieces multiply when we approach the glacier. When thinking of the thousand year old ice melting in our ocean, I feel very happy. Then a deep, dark rumble announces a big chunk of ice falling off, bam! A shockwave goes through the audience, we all watch it fall, such respect of Mother Nature. So very impressive, so serene, so beautiful.
Standing in the middle of the crowd I still manage to become one with what I see, I am in the moment and I feel utter love and happiness while watching the seals and their cubs, the sun coming out after an overcast morning just as we arrive at the glacier...this is pure heaven. I will never fear nature again, this is the moment you realise are one with earth, nature, the universe.

The mixing of the thousand year old water with the sea water we are sailing through feels as closing the circle to become whole (again). Multiple of the speakers of the seminar told us we are entering a new era now, a new day has come. It's the time of Me, the time to love yourself first. It's also the time of the collective, all individuals will connect, all with one, one with all.

I hear Mallku ask for permission of the elements like the mountains and the ocean. He blows his shell four times to direct the energy from all wind directions to us and into the center, inner me, in the heart and abdomen. I feel a strange sensation, as if there are butterflies dancing in my stomage. When he continues his cleansing ritual and uses a whistle that sounds like a hawk's cry I experience tingling in the back of my head, just below the skin.

This sensation is also called ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) connecting you to the innerworld. It's connecting you to your true self, it enables you to see your true self. This way you will be able to answer the big question 'Who am I?' all by yourself. Feel happy with who you are, be proud to be part of this beautiful world. I cannot be affraid of melting ice anymore, nature freezes and melts for a thousands of years now, global warming being present way before cars and factories were invented.

"We are all shamans"

After the ritual Mallku speaks about shamanism, about his people and how the shaman (saman: helper and healer) seems to be reduced to trivial daily routine. In the early days a shaman has knowledge and skills to help his community, using the elements of nature. A shaman was a helper, not a medicine man, healing was just a small part of his practice. His main concern was to make sure his community would prosper and a shaman tried to become one with the place and its people to do so. A shaman wants his people to prosper. 

We are all shamans says Mallku. Help your people to prosper so we make this world a better place by helping each other. I immediately love this man. He's not a perfomer for tourists but he shares genuine beliefs and knowlegde with us, wonderful!

In the mean time I check the audience, a lot of middle ages ladies, a few men and young women. We meditate in a bar, with Mallku being on a stage where later tonight a singer will perforn next to the piano. After the session the 'ordinary' cruise guests flock in, totally unaware of what we just did. I like this combination of lectures and workshops, yoga and UFO watching, nicely blending with the abundance onboard.

Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise © Artstudio23.com

Meditating with your eyes open

I keep getting confirmation over and over again at this cruise. Heard Mexican don Jose Ruiz say yesterday evening: 'Meditate with your eyes open'. Wow, that is what I do, what I am trying to share as inspirator when leading my Miksang Contemplative Photography Workshops. This is what makes me happy, to see the beautiful things of life (and to share these). When sailing close to the glacier, but also when witnessing all sunrises and sunsets from the upper deck of the ship... I feel the happiest woman of the world. I am so blessed. Being here and having this fab opportunity to witness it all... Being in this moment creates a lot of positive energy and I feel grateful, very grateful.

I can't stop taking pictures, but often I also take a 'mind picture' only. The image will live forever in my head, together with the scent and sounds that came with it. By doing this, I fill my soul with the beauty of nature and this way

We Are. (together)

Melanie E. Rijkers - Spirit of Alaska, 12-19 June 2015 - Mindfulness with your camera

Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise © Artstudio23.com

Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise © Artstudio23.com

Looking back it's been a kind of bizarre experience, talking about shamanism, meditating and earthing onboard this over-the-top cruise ship with miniature golf and basket ball court, swimming pools etc.

But maybe this is the exact right place to meditate, like when being in a busy city, or in any other 'ugly' urban spot, as long as you are open and do not judge. Love modern life, and I just loved every bit of this cruise!

You can book Divine Travels' spiritual cruises since 2011, when the first cruise took place to explore the end of the Maya calendar theme.

More about inspirator Mallku.

Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise © Artstudio23.com
Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise © Artstudio23.com
Selfie @ sunrise Alaska, 3:30 AM ... Namaste