Le Litumbee coffee table book collection immerses her in African creativity | Architectural Digest


div>What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer varies from person to person we ask Some of the coolest, most experienced shopping people we know – from small business owners to designers, artists, and actorsTo tell the story behind one of their most valuable possessions.

Lee’s books are curated with intent and care, focusing on African culture, creativity and inspiration.


When travel influencer, photographer and cultural coordinator Lee Litumbe launched her travel blog Spirited Pursuit in 2014, she was emerging from a quarter-life crisis. Lee has been working a job she hates, always comparing herself to others her age, and struggling to find herself when she officially launched Spirited Pursuit during a trip to Costa Rica. “I was trying to decide where to focus, and I was between travel and interior design,” she says. “I decided to go with travel, but I really like both!”


Lee was born in Cameroon and moved to America when she was nine years old. In 2017, she decided to move to West Africa, settling in Dakar, Senegal, as her new home. The decision to move was a leap of confidence for Lee. She quit her job and laid the foundation to build her own business and brand and support herself as a creative entrepreneur. Her dream of stepping out of society’s expectations has inspired the name of her blog.

What and when?

Lee has been collecting coffee table books for about three years and currently has over 20, “I’m very intent on organizing,” she explains. “I have spent a lot of time and money on it, and it is all centered around different African artists in an ambitious way. I love being surrounded by African creativity.”

The collection started around the fall of 2019 when Lee was buying more coffee table books throughout the pandemic. “Since I was at home and had nothing else to do, I started looking for more,” she adds. “I want to have my own space, and I want things around me to be a reflection of who I am.”


Photography has always been an important part of Lee’s life both personally and professionally, and she draws a lot of inspiration from many African photographers. Many of her coffee table books feature the work of photographers across the continent. “I love the books that talk about the various African photographers and the way they captured the various African cities at a time when most of them were about to gain their independence,” she explains. “Owner Sidibe, Seydou Keita, and Suri Sanli all really inspire me.” The books talk about the history and culture of different cities and countries, and the aesthetics and creativity of the artists’ work make each page a new experience special to me.


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“When there was no internet, there were many creators in Africa making in this way which is still relevant nowadays,” Lee says.

The fact that photographers and artists have no internet and rely on pure craftsmanship also appeals to her. “For me, a lot of the reason I got the camera was because I was inspired by the internet and seeing what others would create,” she says. “I always find it fascinating that at a time when the internet wasn’t there, there were so many creatives in Africa making in this way which is still relevant nowadays.”

High on Lee Ho’s wish list Kingdom Letter: Culture and Creativity in Saudi Arabiathat saw in Architectural Digest Cover story about Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s art-filled home. “This was probably one of my all-time favorite covers,” she says. “I loved the way Swizz Beatz talked about his living room. And the way he brings it together is a spirit that I carry too – you feel like you live in an interesting place, yet relaxed enough that you can actually live in it.”

Lee’s favorite place to shop for home decor and vintage photos is at markets around the world. “I like to feel like I’m bringing places into my space. If I’m having a dinner party, or people are there, I love when people say, ‘Oh, where did you get that from?'” I’ve never seen that before.” “I like to have a story to tell about the things I get.”

Kingdom Letter: Culture and Creativity in Saudi Arabia

Malik Sidibe – The Best of Malek Sidibe

Seydou Keita: Photographs, 1948 1963 (1st ed.)

African style: down to the details

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