In the Making: Zainab Sumu

February 18, 2022


In the Making

“What I do is about keeping culture. It’s about the people and the places and it’s about traditions and cultures and why and how they exist and persist.”

On Thursday, February 17, 2022 we held a conversation with Zainab Sumu of Zainab Sumu Primitive Modern. A native of Sierra Leone, Zainab left home after high school to study in the United Kingdom and France before moving to the U.S. to study fashion design and fiber arts at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design.

In 2015, Zainab started her own brand after working for high end fashion companies around the world. More recently, she has expanded her craft to include sculptures and paintings. For each of her series, Zainab is inspired by a cultural touchstone of a country in Africa, where she will travel to and research the country. Her work explores universal themes, like music and architecture, that interconnect all of us. In this conversation, Zainab details how she sources her all-natural materials, her process, and how her work honors her tradition and the traditions of others.

“In the Making” is a public programs series where we connect with a range of new voices, fields, and perspectives. Learn more and view a full list of events on the series homepage here.

With thanks to our underwriters

BOND, Eaton Vance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, First Republic Bank, Inland Underwriters Insurance Company, Firestone & Parson Inc., Sequoia Custom Builders, Inc., F.H. Perry Builder