Set Designer Ibby Njoya on Africa’s Vibrant Culture of Colour

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Ibby Njoya
Ibby is wearing a jacket and trousers in embossed suede and shirt in cotton with knotted collar by LOUIS VUITTON. His own jewellery. And shoes in leather and suede by BIRKENSTOCKPhotography by Annie Lai, Styling by Jordan Duddy

In the new issue of AnOther Magazine, Ibby Njoya talks about colour as a vehicle for escapism

This article is taken from the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of AnOther Magazine:

“In Africa, people are not afraid of using colour. You see it everywhere and it’s based on what you can find – plastic bottles that are vibrant, loud. It doesn’t matter whether it goes together, people do it and somehow it just pops. My fascination with colour came later on in my life, when I was beginning to experiment with how I create as an artist – how I tell a story, piecing together my culture and experiences, everything that I had gone through before, including being surrounded by crazy clashes of colour, of people. I like to use colours that might not work together. To embrace the clashes. For me, it shouldn’t feel too controlled. There’s that element of surprise. I hope my work opens people’s minds to the fact that opposing ideas can live together. I hope it transports them to another place, away from the grey. It’s escapism. When I’m painting, I never know where I’m going. I just know when I get there.”

Ibby Njoya is in the business of building worlds. The British-Cameroonian designer’s vibrant, hazy sets – created for the likes of Dior, Dries Van Noten, Off-White and Wales Bonner – distil a whirlpool of references from art, fashion and dance. But the artist’s signature is in his bold, contrasting hues – cerise, fuchsia, turquoise, amber – intuitively applied, inspired by early memories of his sculptor father’s studio and his mother’s eclectic sense of style. By creating a universe for himself in these images, he hopes to make space for others too. For anybody, in fact, who sees their own story told through his defiant palette.

Hair: Ryo Narushima at Saint Luke using WELLA PROFESSIONALS. Make-up: Josh Bart. Photographic assistant: Guanhao Wang. Styling assistant: Monica Jiang

This story features in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale now. Order here.