As illustrated in the work created and designed by Zola, "Ethnic" and "Tribal" inspired products are the vogue trend in the global luxury lifestyle, fashion and art world. Coupled with the popularity of "African Inspired" designs is the culture of "Fast Fashion" where a number of adverse outcomes converge, including, but not limited to: 1. Mass production of counterfeit African art/art forms primarily made in China, Hong Kong and India, cast on the global market, generated by exploited Asian factory workers. 2. Cultural appropriation, misinformation about and misrepresentation of African art forms. 3. Exploitation and oversight of African artists; the producers and custodians of bona fide African art forms.
Out of Asia, mass quantities of imitation African art forms are sold to uninformed buyers around the world, including markets in Africa. These items comprise everything from "African Beads and Beadwork" and "African Tribal Prints/Fabrics" to "African Wood Carvings" and "Traditional African Attire". Where we find authentic, refined African art/art forms, the fate of countless Africans on the continent is the low sale price of their items sold to local buyers, then resold in foreign markets at vastly higher prices. The increasing outcome is the abandonment of indigenous production of African art forms due to high cost of production and low return. This includes the use of low grade imported material - beads, fabric, wood - to create African art/art forms; removing the authenticity and reducing the quality and workmanship of the final product.
In response to these challenges, central to Zola's mission is the preservation, creation, representation and location of Ubuhlalu in its authentic material, historical, social and cultural context. This includes, but is not limited to, its placement in the market category of Global Luxury and Artisanal Goods for the benefit of the custodians of this and other indigenous art forms
U B U H L A L U b y Z O L A D U B E