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Inside Project Aikido At The Mandrake Hotel


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By The Sybarite Team on 28th February 2024

On Friday evening, The Sybarite team had the privilege of attending Project Aikido's remarkable fundraising gala at The Mandrake Hotel, London, with a group of art-loving clients. The evening aimed to generate awareness for a noble cause, raise funds, and collectively celebrate the power of art and music through showcasing the talents of under-represented black artists.

Throughout the evening, guests were treated to a variety of artistic talents, ranging from awe-inspiring sculptures by Joshua Donkor and Alvin Kofi, to vibrant sets by world-renowned DJs such as Salomé le Chat and Rockin Marroccin. Over dinner, guests were accompanied by the soulful voice of South Africa's artist of the year, Msaki, whose beautiful performance brought everybody to their feet. The founder of Project Aikido, Nana Sao, also took to the stage to deliver a poignant insight into the foundation's core mission: empowering artists to share their stories authentically while ensuring they receive the recognition they deserve. 

In the lobby of The Mandrake Hotel, two globe sculptures were showcased for guests to admire as they entered, setting the tone for the evening ahead. These globes are part of a larger exhibition facilitated by The World Reimagined who commissioned a roster of emerging artists. Two of these artists; Alvin Kofi and Joshua Donkor are being supported by Project Aikido, with the platform raising money to take the globes to Burning Man festival this August, generating global awareness of their artistic talent.

Alvin Kofi is a second-generation West Indian artist whose African-centred creative perspective allows him to explore traditional notions of African culture and the historical narrative of the diaspora. For his globe, Kofi was commissioned to interpret the theme 'A Complex Triangle', delving into the triangular flow of goods and enslaved labour among Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The globe's colours are symbolic : gold represents the allure of wealth and the thirst for riches, while overlapping symbols and motifs mirror Africa's tradition of documenting historical shifts.

Joshua Donkoris is a Ghanaian-British painter whose work uses portraiture as a tool to subvert monolithic portrayals of Black identity. The subject matter of Donkor’s paintings is deeply personal and completely idiosyncratic—often having to deal with specific African roots and the individual experiences specific people have had growing up Black in Western societies. Titled "Echoes in the Present," Donkor’s globe explores the Welsh African communities' identities, exploring the concept of double consciousness and the split experienced as minorities in prejudiced societies. The artist wanted to create a piece focusing on the present day experiences of members of the African diaspora in Wales. The globe features image transfers from cityscapes, family members, and memories spanning generations. 

As the music continued through the night, guests connected over their shared appreciation for the showcased art and the collaboration of Project Aikido and The Art Club by The Sybarite. It was a testament to the power of art and music to bring people together in support of a common cause. The media partnership forged between The Sybarite and Project Aikido serves as a commitment to amplifying the voices of the emerging artists spotlighted by the platform. Looking ahead, we encourage you to keep an eye out for upcoming interviews with Joshua Donkor and other talented artists supported by Project Aikido.

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