“Beyond the usual and established creative hubs, there are so many stories waiting to be told,” says Shiro Muchiri, Founder and Curator of SoShiro, the London-based creative incubator, gallery and event space. “Having spent my life working in the design industry I wanted to establish a platform that celebrates all kinds of aesthetics, not just those from a certain provenance and give a voice to these unique and diverse stories.”
As the creative force behind SoShiro, today Muchiri oversees the curation of the gallery’s collectible artefacts and collaborates with artists and designers all over the world to create special pieces exclusive to the Marylebone-based cultural hub. A Kenyan-born, Italian-trained interior architect, designer and tastemaker, Muchiri’s inaugural ‘Pok’ collection paid tribute to her Kenyan heritage and her connection to Italy.
“Underlying every collection and collaboration is the commitment to breathing new life into artisanal communities and sustaining historic craft. In addition to giving designers and artists a platform to exhibit their own work, we like to bring craftsmanship from very different regions together” she says.
During London Craft Week, taking place 30 September – 10 October 2020, SoShiro will debut ‘The Ainu Collection’, celebrating the crafts of the Ainu people of Northern Japan. The motif of owl eyes– an ancient Ainu protection symbol – runs through the entire collection that features furniture, tableware made in ceramic and porcelain and finely hand embroidered linen textiles.
The presentation will be complimented with an imposing wooden kimono sculpture (Hagi) by the award-winning Japanese sculptor Toru Kaizawa, who pays homage to his Ainu heritage with beautiful surface patterns carved onto the Hagi using an indigenous fish-scale wood-carving technique.