Updated: Jul 15
photographer: Misan Harriman
commision by @CounterpointsArts
publisbers by @Theguardian
“There is strength in numbers and in order to make big changes we need to come together in unity and love. It’s a long journey to make alone. We need to come together as one despite our differences and walk alongside one another.”
Photograph by @MisanHarriman for #RefugeeWeek2021
I was introduced to Emily at Couterpoint during an Anqa zoom call with other Anqa entrepenter to create a products that would represent the refugee week logo.
The idea behind Refugee Week logo is that when we come together across all our difference, we can create something beautiful (different colour dots = our diversity, the circle = our unity).
The bright colours reflect that Refugee Week is a celebration of welcome and everything people seeking achieve and give in the face of great injustice and difficulty.
That is the inspiration when picking the colours for the sleep wrap.
I got a confirmation email from Issey ( anqa collective ) that my design for the silk wrap was approved by counterpoint and it would be one of the New products that would be promoted for Refugee week in June
so many colour combo possibilities
Next Fabric Shopping... I wanted to get an accurate colours to carefully match the Refugee Week colours.
I took the Hammersmith line down to Goldhawk Road, Sherpard Bush market.
WATCH my shopping trip above ^ and check out our Tiktok @mariacallisto to watch Part2 'fabric haul'
The Final Design
photoshoot ( How did it go )
My time slot was 2pm, I got on the bus to South Kennsington to Victoria and Albert Museum. This was still during the lockdown and it felt surreal having the whole museum to ourselves. It's like one of those different dimension feeling idk how to explain it...
I was booked in to have my photo session with Misan Harriman. A little bit history on Misan, He is an amazing activist photography, he creates beautiful thought provoking images mainly in B\W that are striking and invoking, one of his image was recently published on the cover of British Vogue. He also took the lovely family portrait of Harry and Megan Markle. I was a huge fan of his and honestly I was so nervous to meet him, I am not a professional model ( I enjoy taking photos but it's only recently i started being comfortable in front of the camera, due to being in lockdown and needing contents for my business, but nothing these major )I was very intimidate to say the least until i meet him ( he's so eccentric and super sweet . we are both from Nigeria and we had a lot to talk about especially talking about Nigerian foods )
I finally got to met Emily in person and I also met Tosin who was the project assistant, she is so beautiful and have a lot of knowledge and passion for African Fashion/ Art. ( there was talk on a coffee book shhh )
Due to covid restriction we can have only a small group of people all at once, I was lucky to meet one of the other participate for the shoot Ayanna Witter- Johnson with her beautiful cello .. Ayanna is a singer - song writer cellist ( in case you are wondering why she had a cello ) She was a bad ass in a all black outfit and I was immediately star struck
I really wish I could have met the other seven amazing people that was photographed as well, They are all amaxing and inspirational people that are very successful in their fields.
Such a wide diverse group, I mean there was the Bishop of Croydon! Bishop Jonathan Clark a top model Ikram Abdi Omar, Filmmaker and Producer Hossam Fazulla, Maya Ghazal a pilot and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassor , Micheal Rosen is a famous Children Author ( my little sister use to bring some of his books home ) and Yasmin khan Author and Broadcaster.
( mind blown )
After our quick hellos it was my turn to be photographed and honestly it was a breeze, we started off at the sculpture and moved upstairs to the large window overlooking The John Madejski garden.
Although this has been an amazing experience for me personally, meeting amazing people along the way and designing the silk wraps, I am grateful for the amazing support we have received and Thank you so much to all who has bought our sleep wraps.
I also had an oppunturity to look back at my history and celebrate my migrant background, I look back on how I moved with my mum and siblings from Nigeria, all the obstacles, the victory and I am immensely thankful for my past because it made Me... the woman writing these and Maria Callisto the brand we all love :)
Our photos were in the Guardian... ahaa
I was in London and I pretty much scouted to get a copy of the newspaper but I didnt end up buy any ( I kinda regret it ) but here’s the link below :)
We received a lot of good positive response and it was so amazing to be feature on the Guardian and I immediately sent the link to everyone I know :)
Victoria and Albert museum
I didn’t want to miss the exhibition at the V&A and as I was still in London. I was very proud, I had such an amazing experience all together. It was a little awkward asking a random stranger to wait till my photo showed up and take my photos but he seemed excited ok with it...
This has been a very amazing experience for me, I am very grateful to all the people I have met and has the opportunity to work with. Everyone here has been a major source of inspiration. I wish you all the best in your endeavour and I hope our paths crosses again xx
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