Lisa Christoffersen: Living For Art, Fashion And Adventure
COUTURE Africa|6th Anniversary Edition

Maybe it is because she was born in Africa, but Tanzanian-born Danish Lisa Christoffersen has always had a strong connection with African art and nature. She has made a successful career as an author, an interior designer, an African art curator and as an organiser and hostess of exclusive bush trips. She is as consumed by her passions in her 50’s as she was in her 20’s making her a powerhouse in the Kenyan art scene. We had the luxury of talking to her about her love for African art, her inspiration and what she covets most.

Jackline Mukami

Couture Africa [CA]: First we would love to know what motivated you to move and develop your career here in Kenya.

Lisa Christoffersen [LC]: I was introduced to Art by Dr. Koloss who is quite an authority on African tribal arts and the curator for a tribal art museum in Berlin, Germany. I had the advantage of frequent travels to and from Africa since I used to work for Scandinavian Airlines who back then, was the handling agent for most major airlines. That is how I got to meet Dr. Koloss during one my frequent visits to Africa. He advised me to focus on African art. Which is what I did and when my daughter turned a year old, we moved to Nairobi and I continued with curating. I would buy art from collectors and build up a market which has subsequently grown to where I work with artists and photographers.

CA: You actually moved to Kenya, from Denmark, with 22 suitcases at 22 years of age. Was there any hidden meaning in that?

LC: [Laughs] actually, there was none. I had been a collector for years and it just happened that all the things I had collected or inherited at the time fitted in 22 suitcases. Luckily enough, I used to work for the airlines so that made the transition much easier.

CA: What has fascinated you about Kenya so far?

LC: Kenya has so much to offer. Especially the city. You are living in this beautiful cosmopolitan town that it is full of an eclectic mix of interesting people from all over the world who inspire you. Also, learning the different cultures is quite a wonderful experience.

CA: When it comes to art, where do you draw your inspiration from?

LC: I love safaris quite a lot. I draw much inspiration from going out into the bush and watching nature - this is where I get to gather my thoughts and refresh. I also get inspired by looking back at all the art pieces left behind by various artists in museums.

CA: How would you describe your curatorial process?

LC: I specialize in African tribal art. I curate pieces from artists and photographers and give them a touch of inspiration - which is quite interesting since a lot of background research is required and you got to write it all down.

CA: Can you tell us a bit about how you build relationships with artists?

LC: I do meet with a lot of them. There are upcoming artists all over the place and again, not only are we talking paintings, but also sculptures and photography. I think it is about having a personal relationship with them. I love to work with artists who have good imagery and who have the ability to express themselves through art. I am constantly working with new artists and I always try to bring in new artists and give them a window to interact, network and grow. For instance, we have an interactive monthly show with KTN where the artists showcase their work. I also organize many events and hold solo exhibitions for the artists.

CA: Your home is an art gallery on its own, tell me about that.

LC: My beautiful home is the home gallery. It is the “go-to” place for African art collectors from across the globe. However, we are currently seeking more visibility by installing art in office buildings, hotels and apartments. For instance you will find art at The Lord Errol in Runda and the Norfolk Hotel. We also supply little pieces of quality that people can take back home.

CA: What do you offer your clients?

LC: We usually have an art menu which we can either email our clients or take them through in person. The art menu shows images of different artists in Kenya and their bios. We also recommend them to meet with the said artists and see the artist’s passion first-hand. Art is very personal. I read my client’s emotions the moment I set the art in front of them. It is that immediate reaction that makes you know if they have a connection with that piece.

CA: Is there any specific place you always return to when you need an art fix?

LC: I am surrounded by art on a daily basis. There is art all over the place - in my home, the office, the kitchen, the bathroom - everywhere. So I have a daily fix whether I like or not.

CA: What is your ultimate dream project?

LC: My ambition is to get art into JKIA. I find it horrifying that you arrive at the airport and all you see are white blank walls and a banner saying “Welcome to Kenya”. How inspiring is that for a tourist coming to Kenya for the first time? We need to have inspiring art which people can read through the history, the stories and about other destinations in Kenya as they wait for their luggage.

CA: Is there any particular type of art that appeals to you or anything that unites all the works in your collection?

LC: I love the architectural of spears and shields. I also love the traditional stools – they are beautiful, tribal and tell a story. As my kids grew up, we used sit on the three-legged tribal stools.

CA: If you had an unlimited budget to get any piece, what would be on your wish list?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM COUTURE AFRICAView All

COUTURE CONVERSES WITH SOME GREAT MEN

As we rally behind the strength and success of a woman, we realise that we cannot do it by ourselves, and we do need the men in our society. ANNE KABICHO and the COUTURE Africa Team caught up with some of these great men - across various fields to talk about work, happiness, purpose and country.

10 mins read
COUTURE Africa
The Gentleman's Issue 2019

DIY SKIN CARE FOR HIM

One great way to get men into skincare remedies is by easing them into it, and DIY home remedies may just do the trick!

4 mins read
COUTURE Africa
The Gentleman's Issue 2019

ACACIA PREMIER HOTEL

FIRST CLASS SERVICE IN KISUMU

4 mins read
COUTURE Africa
The Gentleman's Issue 2019

Lisa Christoffersen: Living For Art, Fashion And Adventure

Maybe it is because she was born in Africa, but Tanzanian-born Danish Lisa Christoffersen has always had a strong connection with African art and nature. She has made a successful career as an author, an interior designer, an African art curator and as an organiser and hostess of exclusive bush trips. She is as consumed by her passions in her 50’s as she was in her 20’s making her a powerhouse in the Kenyan art scene. We had the luxury of talking to her about her love for African art, her inspiration and what she covets most.

10+ mins read
COUTURE Africa
6th Anniversary Edition

The Female Ambassadorial Core

COUTURE Africa magazine had the honour and pleasure of sitting with and celebrating female diplomats living, working and enjoying Kenya. We spoke to them about their travels, their thoughts on women empowerment and the future of women in Africa in the lovely setting of the Lord Errol restaurant in Runda. The day-long affair had these leading ladies start their day with a light brunch, a beauty session with Lancôme Paris and a chance to have a fashion moment with Lisa Christoffersen, Deepa Dosaja, Lucy Rao and Carole Kinoti.

10+ mins read
COUTURE Africa
6th Anniversary Edition

6 In 56 - How 6 Busy Women Can Enjoy 56 Hours In The Bush!!!!

Early Sunday morning 6 ladies got up bright and early headed to Wilson Airport for a much-needed coffee and breakfast at Java at The Aero Club by 7am. The service was terribly slow at JAVA, Sue went onto google maps to find the kitchen!

7 mins read
COUTURE Africa
6th Anniversary Edition

Sippy Chadha

Making a career out of film-making requires painstaking determination, resilience, and vision. It can be a tough road to travel. For Kenyan writerdirector Sippy Chadha, following your bliss is her modus operandi. Passionate, intelligent and with a keen eye for films that challenge perceptions of culture and society, Sippy Chadha, by and large, has immersed herself in the world of women in a given situation. We talk to her on bringing a personal story to life and her insights and experiences as one such filmmaker

6 mins read
COUTURE Africa
November 2018

Why Men Ought To Understand Cars

Michael Mwai was the go-to car insider for 12 years, starting out at the East African Standard, Nation Media Group, Business Daily to True Love EA magazine. His love for cars has resulted in a most extraordinary career path, leading to travels around the world where he test drove all the cars you have ever wanted and dreamt of. He run his own design company, using that eye to suss out the attention to detail and point of view to set foot into the luxury world long before it even became a thing with a name. Discovering along the way that car design, this skill requiring up to 10 years of research, meant anticipating what the market needed even before it knew it needed it. Now he runs The Luxury Network which sounds exactly the way you think it does, working behind the scenes with a lot of brands you want to own and some you have never heard of, to live life like it is golden because to him, it is.

10+ mins read
COUTURE Africa
November 2018

LET'S GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE…

LET’S GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE…

2 mins read
COUTURE Africa
November 2018

Do You Have The Stones For Your Whiskey?

Bless whiskey - whisky…? tastings. They are the life equivalent of teeth brushing lessons age primary tooth. Whiskey, that is good whiskey, costs a certain amount of money and is therefore expected to be a certain kind of experience for the drinker, more so a connoisseur. You would be surprised how much debate is involved in its drinking. To ice or not to ice? Get your rocks off versus use a whiskey mould. Whatever is a man to do?

4 mins read
COUTURE Africa
November 2018
RELATED STORIES

South Africa Faces an Energy Dilemma

POWER FAILURES have become routine in South Africa. At the same time, the country wants to wean itself off the coal that generates more than 80% of its electricity and makes it the world’s 12th-biggest source of greenhouse gases.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
August - September 2021

Plentiful Plants Await

Three must-see stops within Montreal’s botanical garden.

1 min read
Birds & Blooms
August/September 2021

Estebanico's America

The story of Africans on this continent is longer and more varied than the version I was taught in school.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
June 2021

KENYA FINDS DREW HARD TO STOMACH

CATTY Kenya Moore was chewing the fat about Real Housewives of Atlanta castmate Drew Sidora and tweeted, “She needs to pay for a tummy tuck!”

1 min read
Globe
April 19, 2021

National Cycle VStream Sport Windscreen for Honda Africa Twin

There are many ways to improve motorcycle rider comfort, covering everything from bar risers to footpegs. Having done almost all of them, I decided to switch out my stock windscreen to see if it made a difference, especially on long trips.

1 min read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
March - April 2021

Africa Tries Free Trade

Economic nationalism has plagued Africa since decolonization. In 2021, that is set to change.

4 mins read
Reason magazine
April 2021

How a Philanthropic Darling Became Political Scandal

A Canadian development charity courted celebrities, enlisted legions of schoolchildren to raise funds, and built a new, commerce-fueled model of philanthropy. Then a Covid relief deal got people asking who was benefiting most

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 11, 2021

Uncommon Dinosaurs

Southern Continents Reveal Uncommon Giants

10+ mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
December 2020

ZOISITE

A Massive Mineral Marked by Christmas- Like Color and Appeal

7 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
December 2020

Pittsburgh's August Wilson African American Cultural Center

LOCATED IN THE HEART of downtown Pittsburgh, on Liberty Avenue close to Union Station and the David Lawrence Convention Center, the sleek and elegant but unpretentious August Wilson African American Cultural Center (awaacc) cannot fail to capture the eye and the imagination of anybody who is visiting Pittsburgh or, for that matter, of anybody who lives in the city.

2 mins read
World Literature Today
Autumn 2020