Vitra Design Museum presents Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design. The exhibition illustrates how design accompanies and fuels economic and political changes on the continent. Open until the the 13th of september, the exhibition features the work of over 120 creatives ranging from design and architecture to fashion and photography, but also art, film and graphic design.
Africa is presented as a hub of experimentation generating new approaches and solutions of worldwide relevance. – and as a driving force for a new discussion of the potential of design in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the exhibition focuses on a digital-native generation of entrepreneurs, thinkers and designers from and within Africa who address a global audience and provide the world with a new vantage point on their continent.
Curators comment: “All of the works presented show that design in Africa is understood on a much more inclusive level than in Western societies – and they are proof that this understanding can produce innovative new approaches to design”.
Making Africa features a plethora of work cutting across a wide variety of media, such as the eyewear sculptures by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, the furniture of Cheick Diallo from Mali and the photography of Mozambican Mário Macilau and Nigerian J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere. It shows the architecture of Francis Kéré, David Adjaye and Kunlé Adeyemi, remarkable cardboard city models by Bodys Isek Kingelez and animation art by Robin Rhode, a South African based in Berlin.
The cultural and historical foundations of Making Africa come from a retrospective look at early postcolonial Africa: from a continent beyond wars, crises and catastrophes back in the 1960s to the positive attitude of contemporary designers and architects.
An especially distinctive feature of the exhibition is its development process. Over a two-year research period, numerous think tanks and interviews were held in major African cities such as Lagos, Dakar, Cape Town, Cairo and Nairobi. In the process, a unique resource of primary research material on African design was compiled, which further supports and enriches the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue.
The exhibition was curated by Amelie Klein, Curator at the Vitra Design Museum. Consulting Curator was Okwui Enwezor, Director of Haus der Kunst in Munich and Director of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Following its premiere at the Vitra Design Museum, the exhibition will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao from autumn 2015.
Photos Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum.