Lulu Kitololo Spreading Afri-Love | 30 Days Unchained: Day 19 Monday 28 January, 2013

Design by Lulu Kitololo

30 DAYS UNCHAINED/#30 UNCHAINED | DAY 19  1/28/13 | INSPIRATION: Lulu Kitololo Lulu Kitololo is what you would call a creative superwoman; She can do it all. Known as a self-defined “ideamonger” Lulu paints, illustrates, writes, designs and teaches workshops all based upon honoring the magnificence of women, Africa, life and nature. Born and raised […]

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30 DAYS UNCHAINED/#30 UNCHAINED | DAY 19  1/28/13 | INSPIRATION: Lulu Kitololo

Lulu Kitololo, Photo Credit: Creativity and Noise

Lulu Kitololo is what you would call a creative superwoman; She can do it all. Known as a self-defined “ideamonger” Lulu paints, illustrates, writes, designs and teaches workshops all based upon honoring the magnificence of women, Africa, life and nature. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Lulu moved to New York to earn a BFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute. After working there as an advertising Art Director, she moved to the UK to pursue a Master’s in African Studies at the University of London. As the creator of the blog Afri-love, Lulu inspires her audiences with art and culture features that explore the connection between creativity, self-love and growth for all Africans. We fell in “Afri-Love” with her vision for her brand: “Imagine Africans who love who they are, as they are, and so love each other and the environment that nurtures them. Confident and assertive, they are engaged in charting their growth and celebrating success as defined on their own terms.”

Her creative outlook and ability to connect broader social issues with the importance of personal self-reflection make here the inspiration for today’s challenge …

CHALLENGE: [Find, Create or Remix an image that answers the question]: How do you express self-love?

Share your image(s) on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and be sure to tag @liveunchained and use the hashtag #30unchained so we can shout you out! Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter to keep up with the latest #30unchained news.

Live Unchained: Can you tell us about Afri-love?

Lulu Kitololo: Afri-love is a feeling. I remember being this really opinionated, patriotic kid, before I even really knew anything … about anything! When I left Kenya to pursue higher education in the US, I gained an even greater interest in where I came from. I was constantly meeting Africans, from all over the continent, and I observed that, diverse as our homelands were, there was so much we had in common. Especially, a love for the lands that were so much a part of us, no matter where we happened to be.

Design by Lulu Kitololo

LU: The vision of love you describe on Afri-Love is beautiful. You say:  “Imagine Africans who love who they are, as they are, and so love each other and the environment that nurtures them. Confident and assertive, they are engaged in charting their growth and celebrating success as defined on their own terms. Imagine all who are inspirited by Africa – all whose lives and hearts have been touched by the spirit of the continent – sharing their passion through collaboration, in the name of mutual empowerment.”

What compelled you to write this as you did?

LK: I believe strongly that all development, change and growth begins with the self. That before we can truly care about another human being and the environment we live in, we have to care about ourselves. That’s when we realize – and not just because logic tells us so but, because we truly feel it to be so – that everything is connected. With that self-love comes confidence to be who we are, as we are, and to not let anybody compromise that. If everybody is coming from such a point of love and self-knowledge, I believe that then we can honestly all work together for the benefit of all.

LU: You also mention: “Imagine all starting by looking inside themselves. Self-discovery, self-awareness, self-love and self-respect. And then true learning, understanding, love and respect of the other. Harnessing the power of emotion to influence great positive change.”

How did you come to think like this about the power of self-love?

Lulu Kitololo Illustration by Lulu Kitololo

LK: Having worked in the field of sustainable development, there was a lot of rhetoric about how to change people’s attitudes and behaviors. It was great to be creating design that wasn’t merely promoting consumption but instead asking people to envision how they could live better.

It made me ask myself a lot of questions. What would make me empathize with a stranger thousands of miles away? What would encourage me to take up more environmentally-friendly habits? How do Iwant to live?

I remember visiting a lovely older lady at the end of a project attempting to encourage greener and healthier habits in a low-income housing development. Over the past 18 months, she had moved from utter skepticism to thoroughly

embracing a new way of life. Doing so had done wonders for her health and further more, for her spirit. There’s one thing she said that particularly stuck with me: “The more you do, the more you see to do.” That was one of the most touching moments I’ve had. She had welcomed us, strangers really, into her home and shared with us a very intimate part of her life. It reminded me that I have a significant contribution to make.

Ultimately, it came down to understanding and appreciating my own humanity. And feeling connected to something bigger – being a thread in this beautiful tapestry that is life.

I’ve always been an idealist. When I discovered just how many of us are out there, devoting our lives to creating the change we imagine, I felt less need to contain my passion. And I’m not there yet, it’s an ongoing journey – creating changes in my life so that I can move closer to the vision of how I want to live and the world I want to live in.

It excites me when people talk of love and emotion in situations where previously it would be considered irrational or weak. I think we have all experienced the power of emotion and love, perhaps in the personal/private sphere. I don’t know why we feel that it should live only there.

LU: What does living unchained mean to you?

LK: Living unchained is difficult but it is also the most rewarding thing there is. Difficult because the chains are everywhere. It’s so easy to lead a “normal” life where everything seems prearranged and there is no need to worry about disruptions to the schedule. But, I believe that our spirits yearn to live unchained! For me, living unchained is setting my passions free and following them where they will take me.

30 Days Unchained/#30unchained is an interactive creative countdown to the Live Unchained Anniversary Celebration . Everyday for 30 days, we’ll share some of our most popular interviews with Live Unchained featured artists. They include women creatives of various disciplines from across the African diaspora. Her creative journey will be the inspiration for your challenge. To participate simply respond to the challenge question with images (not words). Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and be sure to tag @liveunchained so we can shout you out – it’s that simple. Learn more about 30 Days Unchained, including rules and prizes here. Get your daily challenge from Thursday, January 10th through the day of the big bash on Friday, February 8th at www.liveunchained.com.

Written by Kathryn Buford and Kheprisa Burrell

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