NYFW Meets the Paper Fig Fellows

September 19, 2018  

When Laurie DeJong, Paper Fig Founder, first met Cedric Mizero, he barely spoke any English. But he was an artist. He made art out of everything he touched, from ribbons of cassette tape to banana leaves. 

Now on his second trip to New York, Mizero’s career is taking off. His most recent body of work, Beauty in the Heart, is a referendum on the true meaning of beauty. He photographed women from his village in Rwanda to show the world the beauty he saw in them. 

He brought the subjects of Beauty in the Heart to Kigali Fashion Week a few months ago. These women had never left their village, and when we met with them they were all squeezed into Mizero’s small apartment.

“No one will expect them to be beautiful,” said Mizero. “So for me, that’s what I’m here to tell them. I brought them to have a conversation about beauty…. I want to provoke people.”

Now the images of those women are on display at LDJ Productions in the West Village, and as the high profile clients of LDJ come into the office, they see these faces. They see Mizero’s vision of beauty.

Mizero never loses sight of what he’s working for. He always plans to bring what he’s learned home to Rwanda. That’s what makes him an ideal Paper Fig Fellow.

“Someone like Cedric is really a game changer for the program,” said DeJong, “because he will and can go back and share the wealth and knowledge that he's learned, and he can help us interview the next candidates and he can really take it to the next level in Uganda or Rwanda.”

There’s no confusion: Paper Fig didn’t make Cedric Mizero into an artist. Paper Fig just saw his light.

“I was the light under the table and Paper Fig put me on the table,” said Mizero. “I was just a light somewhere… I had that light already, but Paper Fig put me on the table to shine.” 

Visit us on Friday to meet Emolsa Haasacha, our other fellow. 

Ready help us find and fund more fellows?