Born in Brazil and raised between Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Washington DC, USA, Loza Maléombho started designing at the age of 13 years old. She attended the University of the Arts of Philadelphia where she graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts in Animation. In 2009 Maléombho moved to New York City, where she began a career in the fashion industry by interning with designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël, and Cynthia Rowley. There the artist founded an eponymous designer brand before moving, after three years, to Côte d’Ivoire. There the artist continued working on her brand, which is today described as a fusion between traditional cultures/ subcultures and contemporary fashion. Indeed, Maléombho’s fashion line was so successful that it has been featured in Beyoncé’s Formation video, as well as in fashion magazines Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Madame Figaro, Forbes Africa, and more.
The desire to expand her production beyond fashion, encouraged Maléombho to turn to photography. Using the infamous “selfie” style for the creation of her first series of work entitled Maléombho’s photographs comment on the paradox of the old and the new, cultural and futuristic, but more specifically, on the synergies, the contradictions and the similarities between Ivorian tribal aesthetics and New York’s urban fashion. The photographs’ format shows the artist’s sensibility towards a new form of self-expression that revolves around the individual, the “selfie”, and social media, the contemporary medium used to communicate and raise awareness on different matters, among which #Blacklivesmatter, #Bringbackourgirls, and #Blackgirlmagic.
Driven by the artist’s personal experience as an Afro-American woman in the United States, the series #AlienEdits aims at challenging stereotypes, raising awareness on social issue, and honouring African culture. It celebrates the African woman through the depiction, and repetition of cultural totems, or props, that are symbolic of a particular theme, and that placed on her head, serve as a metaphor for the burden carried by African women. The elongated neck recalls alien’s appearance, but it is also symbol of great grace and elegance, and it is pivotal in its function as a reminder of Africans and black people’s experience of alienation and misrepresentation by oppressive institutions.