We had the good fortune of connecting with Zoe Osborne and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zoe, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started Mahogany Culture because of a desire to connect with other Caribbean people in Toronto without the pressure of there being a singular narrative of what a Caribbean person talks and acts like. I didn’t fit in to any of the existing communities that I found and I wanted to create space to ‘feel at home in a metropolitan city’. Too often the Caribbean identity is limited to Jamaican dialect, sunny beaches, Jamaican patties and palm trees. I wanted to create a space that broke free from that and instead explored each individuals expression of self.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

Through Mahogany Culture I have curated exhibitions which explore the new identity of Caribbean Culture. There is a new art style that exists and I wish there was a name for it but its very reflective of the current Caribbean experience.
I have found myself exploring this and the idea of home through the lens of homesickness. In the digital animated spaces that I create I use elements of Caribbean Architecture to convey the feeling of home and the surreal ideation of what home looks like in an escape reality. It has been an empowering experience to create these spaces and elements digitally and to have them documented on the block chain as NFTS.
An NFT is a non – fungible token that can be associated with digital files of artwork and bought and sold on a blockchain network.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

My favorite day is Saturday so I’ll go with that.
We are starting the day at Cheapside Market picking up some fresh herbs, spices, fruits, and sea moss gel from the lady in the corner. We would then go upstairs to check out the vintage clothes and enjoy the view of the market from above. The next stop would beSwan Street to grab some natural juices, maybe lemonade, peanut punch or tamarind juice. We are then going to the Brownes Beach for a sea bath and snow cones, coconut with condensed milk!
Then for lunch…would be either fish cutters at Dover beach or Cheffette. We would then make time for the infamous afternoon post beach nap.
For dinner we are going to Lime Grove for Pepenaro and Ice Lab for locally made Ice Cream for dessert. Fun fact I designed that space with the owners. I recommend trying the local flavors but I also really love the cookies and cream!
The rest of the week must include:
Ital Lunch from Papa Earl on the West Coast
More juices from Kool Natural Juice on the West Coast
Breadfruit Bowls from Yelluh Meat Restaurant
Art Splash café for coffee, brunch and art of course
Pizza from Green Door Pizza
Lunch by the beach at Zaccios for a fish sandwich or pizza
Drinks at Café Sol or Cocktail Kitchen in St. Lawrence Gap
A night out at Worthing Square food Market
and of course some fish from Oistins Fish Market on a Friday or Saturday night !

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There is no singular thing or person that has led to my success so far. It has been because of the support of my family, friends and the people I have met along the way that have instantly connected with my work. As a Bajan watching Rihanna grow and diversify her entrepreneurship and use Barbados as an inspiration in what she has done has been inspiring. Throught meeting other Bajan creatives that share similar goals and practices, such as the owners of Miletreecandles, RawSoul, Haleek Maul and  Black Curatorial Labs I have been able to develop relationships with people that empower and inspire me. Also, Whenever I have an idea for my business I put it to my mother and best friend for their feed back. If it makes the cut I’ll ask others for their opinion to ensure that I am accurately representing the community. Being able to gage whether or not people connect with the nuances of culture that I try to convey has been an important learning journey.

Website: https://www.mahoganyculture.com/ https://zoeosborne.myportfolio.com/work

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mahoganyculture/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thezoekid1

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0jNhfpams2r92zoVBSex3w

Image Credits
Beach House Escape by Zoe Osborne Mural by Mahogany Culture and Troy Burgess A Dream of Home – Installation and Digital Animation by Zoe Osborne Fxrst Nxme, Rootz Culture and Nya-Krystien Greene

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