Abul Oyay : My Plate of Combo

The invitation to the exhibition came across WhatsApp, Facebook, and other social media platforms and in no time, word spread about Abul Oyay’s hosting of her first art exhibition since moving onto the compound of the Visually Impaired in Juba, South Sudan. Baobab House – named for the large baobab tree in the front yard – was the venue and everyone was excited. Both locals and internationals expressed interest in coming out to view the new pieces as well as older works by Abul. The event was a hit and the theme “My Plate of Combo” was totally fitting.

Combo, a South Sudanese food, is a staple meal that everyone knows, eats, and loves. It’s the dish that is low cost and high in nutrition. It is also very delicious and filling especially when eaten with kisra (South Sudan’s flat bread). Made with okra and local peanut butter, Combo helps people get through lean times and no one gets tired of eating it.

Abul chose the theme “My Plate of Combo” to share how her art has sustained her through very tough times in the past. She also chose the theme to express the hospitality of South Sudanese when sharing food. Fadal: An Arabic word that means welcome is one that is usually spoken especially when eating and can be a greeting to complete strangers to join in sharing a meal.  During the event, Abul not only welcomed friends and strangers into her home, she also allowed her guests to learn a bit more about her which turned out to be a special treat.

In the past, she’d been told that some of her work was too expensive so, My Plate of Combo was Abul’s way to allow those with smaller wallets afford to buy her work – just as providing a plate of Combo to one’s family is inexpensive. And in her humble way, she used some of the proceeds to uphold her commitment to her visually impaired neighbors – that being to support them in their endeavors to participate in creative activities. Abul opened up and shared why she’d chosen the theme, her commitment to her neighbors, and updated her guest on all the new artwork. There were pieces priced as low as $200 and those that cost $1500.

Each piece of art that Abul Oyay creates is one-of-a-kind and when someone purchases a piece from her, they know that no one else has a copy of it. What they also need to know is that they are not only buying art, they are supporting a young and developing nation. Abul travels all over South Sudan for inspiration and always finds a way to give back to those that inspire her. Much of her work incorporates themes from places she’s visited as well as materials like coffee, kerkede (hibiscus), and stitching by local women; techniques she shares during her monthly “Wine and Canvas” event at the Baobab House. Locals as well as internationals interested in painting join her in creating art and learning new best practices directly from Abul. Participants are invited to “paint, drink wine, and have fun” while spending time with other art-lovers and Abul. Wine and Canvas is Abul’s special way of sharing her talent with others as well as showing the uniqueness of what it is to be a South Sudanese. Just as she takes time so give to others, she also takes her time with each piece she paints and adds a personal touch ensuring that what is sold is wholly unique and satisfying – just as Combo is and has been for South Sudanese – Abul Oyay’s work is distinctive and simply beautiful.

By: Saree Mading

Good Vibes Magazine issue 1, Nov 2019

Kush Vintage (Fashion of Modern Times)

There is a buzz of artistic activity happening in juba at the moment, the young people in the capital have taken to all types of creative expression that really highlights the drive and passion of the youth working towards a brighter future. Kush Vintage is a start up company that initially was formed as a collective of fashion designers, models, photographers, graphic designers, stylists, make up artists and comedians that would meet up once a week to discuss how their respective sectors were doing and to see if there was a way in which each member could bring work to the others.

Although work was coming in for the collective the members felt they needed to do more to shine light on their separate skill sets. The founders came to the realisation that they had all the elements to conduct marketing campaigns and came up with a proactive plan to market themselves as their first project.

Kush Vintage has blossomed into an A-Z solution company for marketing in South Sudan. Gone are the days of companies and graphic designers searching in vain for indigenous models to represent their company on billboards and magazine adverts. Kush vintage are a very impressive group of talented young creatives that are here to fill the void. The group consists of guys and  ladies from different parts of South Sudan whom all bring individual talents to make the master piece you see before you.

The pictures that were curated by the company on the river banks of the White Nile show the effort and well thought out plan by the group to bring this idea to fruition. Standing in the hot juba sun for hours on end was no deterrent for the models and camera crew who knew that getting the perfect picture would bring their project main stream attention.

Of course in the fashion of modern times the pictures from the shoot were uploaded on social media and has caught the imagination of the thousands of fashion lovers and facebook users. Fans and well wishers are now excitedly waiting to see which style and back drop Vintage Kush will use for their next shoot or will they be snapped up for an add campaign by one of the big companies in South Sudan?

The group that consists of Lual Maduk (Model/ Designer), Akur Leek (Make up artist/Model) Dhieu Francis (Model) Anyuon Anthony( Media specialist/Designer), Sara Yien (Makeup specialist/ Trainer), Majok Malual ( Stylist/Designer) Waisa Charles( Designer/model) Giet Junior( Model/Run way trainer)  Biar Malual (Model/Designer)  Pieng (Dancer/ Model) Chiengkuach Mabil (Manager) & Achouth Deng (Photographer) Have a contagious energy and we expect this group to achieve huge success in the near future.

Kush vintage can be reached at




Written by Deng Kon