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Olana Janfa x Obus is A Colourful Collaboration About The Power of Mothers

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Every once in a while, you can feel the shockwaves of Australia’s local creatives coming together in full force. A collaboration between local label Obus and Melbourne based, Ethiopian-born artist Olana Janfa is one such occasion.

Inspired by the extraordinary power of the maternal connection, and connection he feels to his birth country, Olana created four unique prints for Obus strong and distinct silhouettes.

6th February, 2020

A TULLU wrap dress and sunhat. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

A concept meeting. Photo – Courtesy of Obus.

Photo – Courtesy of Obus.

The IMAYĒ dress. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

Olana and Kylie in action. Photo – Courtesy of Obus.

The LENCHAA jumpsuit. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

The TULLU blouse and LENCHAA pant. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

Olana in the LENCHAA shirt and model Yar. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

The SABEL blouse. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

The IMAYĒ top. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

Kylie, Yar and Olana. Photo – Nynno Bel-Air.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 6th February 2020

‘A big theme in my paintings is mothers and children, and the sense of love and warmth they share.’ – Olana Janfa

After discovering the artist on Instagram, founder and creative director of Obus, Kylie Zerbst, approached Olana Janfa to translate his distinctive artistic motifs into textile prints. ‘His artwork truly conveys his spirit as a person,’ Kylie says. ‘You can feel he really loves the characters and stories he is telling through his works.’

Inspired by the extraordinary power of the maternal connection, and connection he feels to his birth country, Olana worked directly with Obus founder and creative director, Kylie Zerbst, to translate his work into four unique textile prints. The IMAYĒ print is dedicated to Olana’s mother, and is a series of traditional African mothers and children, while the TULLU and SABEL prints (named after Olana’s grandmother and mother respectively) are his interpretation of Obus’ more classic florals. LENCHAA translates to ‘lion’, and utilises warm, earthy tones and pops of fuchsia pink to express strength and confidence.

‘A big theme in my paintings is mothers and children, and the sense of love and warmth they share,’ Olana explains of the story he chose to tell for this collection. ‘I think it’s something that everyone can understand, no matter where you are from.’

The garments have not compromised on colour, with vibrant orange, pink and violet hues bursting across each design. A line of accessories including sunhats, tote bags, socks and enamel jewellery complements the clothing line.

A online group art auction is also being held in two weeks time, to raise money for Create Impact, whose fundraising activities in Australia support not-for-profit organisations in Ethiopia that provide education, clean water and health care to remote communities. Artists Jasmine Mansbridge, Casey Burrill, Emma Gale, Stanislas Piechaczek and Zan Wimberly have donated works for the auction. The actual works will be displayed in Obus stores for all the admire their glory!

The Olana xObus collection is now available online, and in Obus stores, from today Thursday, February 6th. Keep up to date with Obus for more information about the upcoming online auction! 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net