By Tabora Bojang
Anna Rykova, an international fashion editor and stylist, who was on a visit to the Gambia is planning to create opportunities for Gambian artists, fashion designers and home-grown talents in the art industry by availing them prospect to participate in the Africa Arts Fashion and Food Festival in Russia in the coming year.
Rykova is a former Director of Mari Claire Russia and current Director of Cosmopolitan Russia with 16 years of global experience in fashion industry. She first visited the Gambia with other journalists from Russia some 2 years ago and has since developed the project dubbed; ”Africa Arts Fashion and Food festival” which seeks to reflect and highlight the diversity and multi-cultural elements of contemporary Africa.
“The Gambia has great potentials, great history and great people so I think it could not only be a travel destination for Russian people but a lot can be done in terms of business and cultural exchanges,” Rykova told The Standard.
“I always had great passion and interest in African art and culture that is why by the time I returned to Moscow from my visit here, I have developed a project called Africa arts fashion and food festival together with a friend of mine from Zimbabwe which we started last year.”
Being trained a shoe designer and worked as one in the early years of her career, Anna does not only know the industry from the inside but she is also editorially and commercially minded, writing for two travel websites in Russia.
“I am here to look forward to the talents perhaps in the artists, fashion designers and young talents with a vision of enhancing cultural and value exchanges between the two continents. Even if they won’t be able to participate this time, we could plan it for next year, so they will probably need to meet me to understand what I am looking for so they can improve and finally take part in the festival,” she explained.
Rykova, who has worked in New York, Berlin, Paris, London, Dubai, Cape Town, said she has attended many African festivals in Europe and America but most of them do not actually showcase the real elements of contemporary Africa but instead the traditional which she intends to swing.
She said she wants to attract the people who focus on experience more than anyone else such as the young artistic professions while calling for collaboration from the country and the stake holders in the art industry to achieve the ambition.
”Since we have different relationships and values, people here know very little about Russia and people in Russia know very little about the Gambia, so the main thing is to help people discover each other, once they got to know you the tourists will come and the art galleries will come to show case fashion.”