In an interview granted to Seneweb from Paris, the artist tells us about his titanic journey, his influences and his ambitions.
You are an artist-stylist, an international Senegalese musician! Who is really Mike Sylla?
A cultural activist, I am a multidisciplinary artist. I honor, for my 30 years of creative proliferation, my talent and my influence, my contribution to African and universal culture, for my artistic work that I do in the world of fashion and creation. I am a stylist stylist, I develop creations in unique pieces in leather and suede. I deal with wearable art, what we call “wearable art”. I use noble materials and create many collections, a singular work done in the shop with multiple trends. I compose and produce different sounds for music and high fashion professionals and I play the koralyre (guitar-zither-kora-lyre), a unique musical instrument created in my image as an artist.
I am a designer at the heart of poetry. I developed the Slamophonie label and the Slam opera with the Francophonie; a total art show.
How long have you been in the fashion and styling industry?
I’ve been in fashion for 30 years. At the crossroads of cultures and through the centuries, I define myself as a creator of trends, styles and looks. My label Baifall dream created Mike Sylla couture and vintage DKR. My guiding thread is always working with the visual arts to be close to my African inspiration and get closer to the spirit of patchwork which is for me the dream of colors and of the human tribe. This allowed me to develop the Baifall Dream and the Human Tribe artistic collective.
What are your artistic influences?
My influences are drawn from the codes and symbolism of Africa and the world. Furthermore, in my contemporary reality compared to that of urbanity. I recharge the batteries in the universality of cultures, I am an Afropolitan and initiator of a neo-cultural afro-pop-art trend. The combinations of colors and patterns guarantee the uniqueness of each product. I subtly imagine graphics, symbolic signs and refined paintings on noble materials such as leather, suede and denim.
What awards have you received this year as an artist?
I have won enough accolades such as the Awards in 2022. A big thank you to all the people who supported me: I received the Stylist’s Designer of the Year 2022 Award from Mouva Now, during the Remarkable Awards ceremony, Fashion Advocacy International Show in Boston. Sean B Productions, Massachusetts USA; African Diaspora Excellence Award 2022 from the Ivory Coast Diaspora Association A2DCI, France; Indiana Black Expo Award, the 51st annual celebration of Indiana Black Expo 2022, for outstanding contribution to global black culture.
What makes your works special?
I launched my label in 1992, “a perfect alchemy between Senegal and the world” and I sign my Baïfall Dream creations by Mike Sylla with diligent work done in the laboratory. I create unique and exclusive handmade pieces, real works of art in motion. Beauty and a spirit of creativity in an avant-garde and afro-pop-art style. I pay special attention to retro colored shapes, symbols, signs, figures and painted decorative elements.
My source of inspiration is Africa. I create collections and work to order in new leather and each creation is designed by me to enhance the art worn.
What do you think of the Senegalese cultural industry?
We need to protect our creators from globalization. The works of Senegalese artists are very open and not very protected. More and more often, thanks to digital, we are exposed to the rest of the world. We need to give young artists the means to label themselves and find economic ways in relation to their work. We have many talents to identify and we need to provide structures and solutions that help them become more aware of their ability to foster their creativity and willingness to undertake, in order to maximize their potential in terms of job creation and growth. economic. The cultural and creative sector constitutes a significant economic lever.
What are your projects?
I continue to develop my fashion and promote the art worn in France and internationally and to multiply the actions. I want to organize an event to honor my 30 years of creation with the Senegalese in Dakar and to launch the Comptoir des Arts label. There are also other projects that I am working on with my team in Senegal. I am open to new initiatives including DSN TV, Diaspora television and Senegalese abroad to promote Senegalese culture and its diaspora around the world. The Collective of Senegalese in the Diaspora CSD International organizes two dates on Friday 23 September a gala dinner with the Senegalese music stars and on Saturday 24 September Afro Fashion Show, as part of the annual Our Common Ground 2022 festival at Morning Side Park in New York with the designers. A great cultural event to celebrate and consolidate the brotherhood between Senegal, its diaspora, America, especially African Americans to build bridges.
There is also a very rich and varied program with ” sabar-lamb ”, fashion-music shows, workshops, a photographic exhibition, an Afro Free Market and many other cultural initiatives and exchanges. The artists who will come from Senegal will exchange and show their talents to the American and world public for a great unique cultural event. On this occasion I will present my latest Driving Africa In Time collection.