The studio moodboard for Divination Celebration has a palette of vibrant, energetic colours inspired by the wonderful costumes found at FESTIMA.

Discover key elements of Sabina’s research here, and view some of the images which inspired her designs.

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This collection references the playful, colourful and exquisitely hand-crafted masks and costumes celebrated at FESTIMA, the Festival International des Masques et des Arts, held each year in Dédougou, Burkina Faso.

FESTIMA unites villages and tribes from countries all over West Africa and was founded to help preserve traditional cultural practices in the modern age. Although originating from varied tribes, the masks’ origins are historically associated with Animism (the belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence). The primary events of the festival are the performances, where mask wearers dance, accompanied by musicians playing hand drums, whistles, and balafons.

The exquisite portrait book ‘MASKE’ by Phyllis Galembo was a huge help in researching the origins, details and variety within the costumes. Intricately designed Akan (or Ashanti) gold weights (mbrammoo) feature heavily throughout this collection, alongside small Kuba divination carvings (itombwa), both often created in animal forms. Tales of the Madebele (nature spirits) summoned by the Sandobele (female diviners) of the Senufo peoples in Burkina Faso also play a part in this story.

In the vein of divination, this collection was also based on antique European tarot cards, their symbolisms and their meanings; Each detail on the face of a tarot card holds a key to its significance, and each combination of cards holds a message for the reader. It is said that through divination, whichever method is performed, one can find a wider and deeper understanding of life’s events; It presents an opportunity to help us heal and re-grow.

This collection is an act of imaginative fusion and is indebted to the centuries of European and African artistry which precede it.