Monthly Archives: May 2018

Nadia Azumi’s hand crafted Italian silk scarves at IFWAmsterdam

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Last week at the IFWAmsterdam shows, I had the pleasure of meeting with Nadia Azumi of Nadia Silk Couture.

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Nadia is based out of Washington DC and is of Italian descent. Her objective is to unify the two worlds of the Italian Renaissance and the brilliant colors and lines found in Japanese kimonos. Her husband being Japanese, both these cultures have been an extremely dear influence on her life, artistic designs, and creativity.

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Nadia’s collections mostly consist of beautifully hand painted silk scarves, as well as a variety of delicately designed ponchos and shawls. She even carries painting! The silk is completely white and Nadia hand paint everything, individually HERSELF, hence the fabric is authentically hers.

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Love this girl – She has an Indian name – USHA DEVI ❤ find her on Instagram @ elite_usha – so talented!

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Nadia has showcased her collection at DC Fashion week, Milan Fashion week, and now at IFWA. In her own words “When I look at a blank canvas, images slowly start to appear. With a stroke of my brush, my vision is transpired into the canvas as I paint. Silk painting was the next step for me since I had studied and worked with Japanese artists for over 34 years. I’ve always had a passion for art and creating my own designs.”

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Everything in nature inspires the designer to paint. Different chemicals, acrylics, and techniques are what help her create different types of textures and lines.

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My two favorite girls – find them on the gram – sohnajarrandure & haha_lolo_conteh

Nadia’s talent comes naturally as she is so passionate in her craft! She is a lovely soul and I hope she continues to succeed! She’s the type of woman you can’t help but smile at! She’s very kind, appreciative and has a great heart. I am very happy to have met her during my time in Amsterdam and I know this won’t be the last time I work with her!

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You can find out more about Nadia and her suburb collection on the following links:

https://nadiasilk.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/nadiaazumi

Instagram: nadiasilkcouture

 

-Karen Bahri

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Burano, Veneto, Italia pt.1 – Street Beats

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Burano, Veneto, Italia  pt.1 – Street Beats

February 22, 2017 I wrote a post on a tiny little island which is situated not too far from Venice, Italy. Check it out here:

https://karenskaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/burano-italy-walking-through-a-kaleidoscope-of-colours/

A week ago – I was there! I actually almost forgot about it until this winter when my friend was doing this great, big Euro tour and she actually went to the island (assuming my article inspired her, I am sure it did 😁) She told me how magical this little place in the world is and how she would love to retire there – I completely agree with her!

You can check out my article above in regards to some facts and info about Burano. Since I probably took around 6748 pics, I’m going to try my best to categorize them as best as I can. I’ll start off with street pics and whatever randomness I can’t think of a category for.

The funniest part of Burano, is there is another neighboring island, known for its handcrafted glassware, called Murano. So when I was asking directions, etc, the locals would be like BOOOOrano? or (however you say “or” in Italiano. Note to those traveling to Italy, learn some Italian first. OMG!) MOOOOOOrano lol.

Burano is simply stunning and you honestly – HONESTLY will NOT find another place like this IN THE WORLD!!! The colors!! and just the character. You will find laundry hanging from ropes outside peoples windows, lovely flower pots outside windows, etc so Italian style!!! You will see bikes, and just households daily “things” but to us it’s so rustic, intricate and has so much character. When I first arrived, I caught myself at every corner shrieking because every corner was SOOO CUTE. I walked along quiet corners to hear TV’s blasting from inside homes. I was actually curious to know if people actually lived on this island or if it was just for show. Some little 20 year old kid at a shop told me yes, people live there. He lived there. So I asked to him, since he is only 20 and most 20 year olds I know like to go out, party, go crazy and live life lol.. he responded something, but like most people I ran into in Italy, their English wasn’t the best so I couldn’t understand him. So that’s still a mystery! I think he misunderstood me though and told me neighboring islands good for partying. Since that wasn’t what I asked and I wasn’t really bothered anymore lol I just nodded and said “that’s great!” 😝

Unfortunately I had to catch the boat back, because it takes about an hour or so to get back to Venice, so I couldn’t catch the sunset, which I hear is worth a view – but I WILL be returning within the next few years, and will catch it!

Burano was hands down my favorite part of my travels from the past two weeks!!!!

Enough words – let’s let the photos do the talking. Since I took around 39426 pics, I’m creating groups based on categories. Here are the ones categorized as “random/backstreets” – I will follow up with the others.

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view from the boat as we arrived onto Burano

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I learned how to use a selfie stick during this day as well! My life is complete LOL

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~Karen Bahri

Indian Diaspora in Africa

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May is a special month in my household, well, for my mother at least! Because it’s Mothers day (May 13th), my parents anniversary (May 8th) and her birthday (May 24th). She’s had it good lol. So I wanna talk about her, her history and where she is from.

My mom was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. So basically she’s African ha. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get information about my family roots and history just because it’s something that interests me and I think its important to know my roots. Supposedly my family (on my dad’s side) has some list tucked away in some temple or something in India with names upon names of relatives from back in time to now to create a family tree (I💖this!!!) My next trip home (I mean India when I say that) I have to inquire about this more from relatives who told me about it and GET MY HANDS ON THAT LIST!!!!!

I guess these days a lot of people don’t realize how large the Indian population is in Africa – because it seems like we are all in America, Canada, UK and Australia, outside of the motherland, obviously. I have met brown people in England who have such strong Africa roots, that they are clueless about their Indian roots. It’s just sad that down the road it’s going to become more blurry for all Indians in the diaspora. I remember once meeting someone in England, and when I asked them where they are from (expecting either a town/city name or region in India) and they said “Tanzania”…and I was like “okay, where are your grandparents from”….same answer. 😬🤯🤦 I kept trying to get the answer I was looking for but they just wouldnt budge. They didn’t have any details on India because they claimed that their great, great, great grandparents have been settled in Tanzania and they don’t know anything about India (🤨!) even though I can’t remember their name right now but it was either Khan or Patel!

Thankfully, I’m not that kid!! And I know where my grandparents are from 😁 lol – my mothers parents are from a village not far from Amritsar and moved/settled in Nairobi after they got married for my grandfather’s work related reasons. She’s told me stories of how beautiful a country Kenya is and I used to wonder if she ever missed it or wanted to go back for a visit, because she left right before my parents got married and never returned. The only couple other noteworthy thing she’s told me is that she went to an all-Indian school and also they had a family servant who they taught how to speak fluent Punjabi in our house.

Here are a few facts about Indians settled in Africa:

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  • The Indian diaspora in Southeast Africa consists of approximately 3 million people of Indian origin.
  • South Africa is home to the largest population of people of Indian descent in Africa, at 1.3 million, mainly in Durban. In fact, Durban is sometimes called the “largest Indian city outside India” – though this claim has not been determined conclusively.
  • Although most East Africans believe that the people of Indian origin in the region are descendants of the laborers who built the Kenya-Uganda railway, this is not actually the case. About 32,000 indentured workers were brought in from India (mainly from the Punjab) to build the railway, but the majority returned after their contracts ended. Only about 7,000 chose to stay.
  • After the railway opened up East Africa for trade, and large numbers of “free” emigrants, mainly from Gujarat, followed in the years after many of the laborers from Punjab left. They came and set up trading posts deep in the interior, and became the traders and merchants of East Africa.
  • Remember that little boy named Gandhi (😜hello history lesson!!😂) he was 24 when he arrived in South Africa in 1893 to work as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders based in the city of Pretoria. He spent 21 years there before returning to India.
  • In 1972, military dictator, Idi Amin, announced the expulsion of all persons of Asian origin in Uganda. The majority of those expelled went to the UK, Canada and Kenya. (so yeah – explains the British kids who think they are African when their last name is Patel – ALSO explains why in England they refer to Indians/Pakistani’s as “Asians”)
  • I need some less boring facts…….
  • One of India’s biggest cultural exports to Africa has been Bollywood, and it’s popular not just among the Indian diaspora. One unlikely place where Bollywood has long enjoyed immense popularity is Nigeria, particularly in the Muslim-majority north – which does not have any significant Indian immigrant community whatsoever.
  • One of the most popular of all Indian films in Nigeria is the 1957 classic film Mother India. A record from a popular entertainment magazine noted in 2013 that some people in the audience of a theatre showing the film had already seen the movie 15 times and sang along to all the Hindi songs (although their native language is Hausa).

SINCE THAT WAS KINDA BORING, HERE ARE SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT NAIROBI:

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  • Just like New York has yellow cabs, Nairobi has “Matatus” which is a slang word for mini buses used for transportation.
  • Matatus are famous for their hype graffiti! Art representing pop culture, music, celebrities, etc are all painted colorfully on the body of the buses!

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  • The Nairobi National Park is set in the city’s southern suburbs and is the most famous aspect of the city. What’s so amazing about this is you will find a sprawling field with wild animals with a backdrop of the city’s magical skyline! It’s the only place in the world you can capture lions hunting in the morning, and in a few minutes you are in a fancy shopping mall looking at Cartier watches.

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  • Nairobi has the most number of malls in Kenya. The top shopping malls include Thika Road Mall ( TRM), Yaya Centre, The Junction and Garden City.
  • Nairobi was once a swamp. The skyscrapers of Nairobi sit on what was once a large swamp that Maasai pastoralists referred to as a place of cool waters. Over the century, this city has grown and extended over three counties to form the greater Nairobi metropolitan area. Now, Kiambu, Kajiado and Machakos counties are part of the greater Nairobi area.

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Anyways, just wanted to give a shout out to my very favorite human on this planet and the place she grew up during her most special month. 💖 Her history, her life, culture, traditions, values, ways, teachings, blessings, ssacrifice, etc all make me, so gotta be thankful!

Everyone has their own rendition of where they think they are from. Living in a city like New York, people get asked a zillion times a day where they are from – the question can mean multiple things, and people will most likely answer with what they consider to be the strongest culture they represent – or what they assume the other person means. Travel and this melting pot of a world, we come across many different people from everywhere and not all of them look what one figures is “typical” of that region. We also come across many people from other parts of the world that immigrate and assimilate (forgetting or maybe not forgetting their roots) and I always have to stop and stare when I see someone who looks of a certain culture speaking fluently in a completely different language (example: Chinese people speaking fluent French – or I don’t know a black person speaking perfect Hindi)

hashtag traveldiscoveries 🙂

-Karen Bahri