SCARF MAGAZINE IS that rarity: a collectible arts magazine which comes out annually that features ingredients that shouldn't work but always do.

Founded by artist and curator, Kinsi Abdulleh, under the umbrella group 'Numbi' (which means 'healing dance' in Somali), the magazine is collated by a small group of dedicated editors and artists, including acclaimed short story-writer and visual artist, Diriye Osman, who serves as the deputy editor.

Every year, the SCARF team come up with a theme that reflects ideas close to them. This year's theme is 'Breathing Space' and every artist and writer involved in the magazine decided to explore that idea in different ways.

Diriye Osman, with Kinsi Abdulleh.
Award-winning musician, Meshell Ndegeocello chose to write a short, poignant article about what 'freedom' means to her: the jazz singer, Lizz Wright, chose to share a poem about the importance of finding one's voice; MacArthur 'Genius' fellow, Edwidge Danticat wrote a gorgeous recipe from Haiti that reflects the country's painful past and promising future: the Booker-shortlisted novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah chose to share an extract from his powerful new novel, 'The Last Gift.'

There are interviews with renowned artists, Wangechi Mutu and Fatoumata Diawara as well as a life-affirming essay about sexual identity by the Nigerian blogger and feminist activist, Sokari Ekine.

Every single page of this gem is illustrated by a group of talented young artists based in the UK, including Lyndsey Winnington, Janneke de Jong, Bethany Hermitt and Kichau Ramlaul.

There's fiction by rising star, Lauren Trimble, and the poetry section features Dorothea Smartt, Sai Murray (who's also the art director), Elmi Ali (an associate editor at the magazine), Idil Abshir and Booker-shortlisted novelist and poet, Romesh Gunesekera.

The cover illustration - which features a beautiful nymph blowing bubbles in the air - is by Diriye Osman, a ka-os|theory cover star.

This issue of the magazine will launch on Tuesday, 22nd May, at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London. Get tickets here. There'll be an exclusive reading by Abdulrazak Gurnah followed by a Q&A with Diriye Osman about art, life and the African writer's role in today's society.


John R Gordon said...

Thank you for the great boost for Scarf! The evening (at RichMix)was a well-attended success, with a charming reading by Abdulrazak Gurnah followed by an entertaining interview with him conducted with nervy aplomb by Diriye Osman. As a contributor it was lovely to see the physical magazine (a real collector's item: beautifully produced) & hobnob with Diriye, Kinsi, Elmi, Lauren & other Scarf contributors afterwards. Roll on the next issue!

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