Imagine a world filled with fantastic beasts and wonderous characters….. the startling Boney Birds of Revelry with their sequinned nests, six legged horses, trees shaped like birds, birds shaped like trees, and a clan of fish in wizard hats.
You would either pinch yourself to wake up from this incredible dream, or you’d realize you’ve stepped into the imaginarium of the Kingdom’s Master Artist, Nina van der Voorn. Designer, storyteller, chantreuse and mastermind behind the Kingdom of Klah, Nina has built an iconic business through the Nelson Market and gathered a following throughout New Zealand.
In creating the immersive world of Klah with it’s foundation of fable and seeming frivolity, Van der Voorn is seriously challenging the pre-eminence of rationalism over imagination. There’s a solid philosophy underpinning ‘the project’ as she refers to it, and like her characters it reveals itself in layers. Van der Voorn perceives fantasy as endowed with the power of metaphor and hyperbole.
In her work, Nina celebrates the ability of imagination and story to speak intensely and compellingly of things that relate to our own world. The distance between the two worlds creates space for ideas to flow between, and in this creative space things can be said with more impact than the often exhausted, “real-life” based approaches that have lost force, she says.
Translating this belief into real life work has seen Nina unfold a creative project spanning printed tees, masks, sweatshirts, greeting cards and recorded stories.
Van der Voorn’s drawings and graphic style are fresh, arresting and highly engaging in their attention to detail and originality. There is even an alpahbet for this Kingdom, of course there is!
“Before you can change the world you have to be able to form a picture of the world being other than it appears. Imagination, not intelligence, made us human. Squirrels are quite intelligent when it comes to nuts, but as far as we can tell they have never told stories about a hero who stole nuts from the gods”¹
– Terry Pratchett, 1998
We love Nina’s tee shirts and parade of incredible characters. Garments are accompanied by a story-card and the Klah certified seal of authenticity.
If ever there was a time to escape a reality of lockdowns and uncertainly and visit a topsy, turvey world of kindness and whimsy, this is surely it. And without a vaccination pass, you can enter the Kindgom of Klah and stay as long as you like.
Start shopping here!
The sailor had not always been a sailor, but he had always been a romantic. As a child he once famously spent two days on his tricycle chasing a particular cloud shaped like a toucan’s foot.