Between 1961-2002 you could book a flight on Air Afrique, an airline co-owned by 11 African countries. Once aboard, you could finally lay back and flip through the pages of Balafon, the in-flight magazine whose motto was “For a better knowledge of Black Africa.” As an ode to the airline and its iconic publication, Air Afrique officially launched its first issue earlier this summer. With support from Italian label Bottega Veneta, the magazine aims to highlight contemporary creative work of artists across the African diaspora. The project is produced by Air Afrique—a Paris-based creative collective with the same name. “We want to revive the African transcendence that Air Afrique represented,” explained Lamine Diaoune (the magazine’s founder and creative director) in a statement. “Our mission is to preserve this heritage, to put Air Afrique back in the cultural conversation, and to build on their example of cultural engagement.” French-Congolese rapper Tiakola appears on Air Afrique’s first cover (above). In between, a special campaign features limited edition Afro-futuristic blankets designed by Abdel El Tayeb; Bottega Veneta’s Franco-Sudanese designer.
You can get more details on the specially crafted blankets and Air Afrique’s inaugural issue here.