Africa By Design Inaugural Exhibition Launches In Ghana


Exhibitions focusing on design from Africa continue to abound, with more countries outside the continent holding dedicated showcases. Whilst this is great to see, it is also important that the African continent also hold its own showcases to highlight the growing value of design to local audiences. One such initiative is Africa by Design in Ghana, which launched its inaugural self-titled exhibition presenting the work of 22 emerging and established African designers representing 6 countries from sub-Saharan Africa – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal.


[Main Image credit: Master Kente and Ewe Weaver, Bob Gandy – Africa by Design]

Read More

Exhibition Honouring Legendary Malian Photographer, Malick Sidibé

The first UK solo exhibition honouring the work of the legendary Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé is currently showing at Somerset House in London. Often affectionately referred to as ‘the eye of Bamako’ Sidibé was one of Africa’s and indeed the world’s foremost photographers of the 20th Century, renowned for his iconic black and white images of ’60s and ’70s Mali that captured a youthful generation reveling in the freedom, confidence, and hope of independence. Images through which Sidibé created a valuable archive of modern Mali. Malick Sidibe’s death aged 80, in April this year marked the end of a life privileged to capture a period of the changing social culture of his city Bamako, and in the process leave behind a legacy that has and will continue to enrich lives long into the future.
[Main image credit: Amis des espagnols, 1968,
Photograph: © Malick Sidibé
Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris via The Guardian]
Read More

African Art: Malian Artist Abdoulaye Konate’s Textile Installations

Abdoulaye Konaté – Detail Couple H, 2014. Mixed media – wood, metal, fabric. 250 x 170 cm (98⅜ x 66⅞ in) Image Courtesy of the Artist and Blain|Southern Photographer: Christian Gläser, 2015 via widewalls
Abdoulaye Konaté is an award winning Malian artist who produces evocative textile installations that have captivated African art collectors. Inspired by colour, which he sees as a potent conveyor of meaning, Abdoulaye’s vividly hued textiles are created using sewing and appliqué techniques to create pieces that range from strips of fabric in graduating shades through to thought-provoking imagery.
 [Main image credit: Abdoulaye Konaté – Detail Couple H, 2014.
Mixed media – wood, metal, fabric. 250 x 170 cm (98⅜ x 66⅞ in)
Courtesy of the Artist and Blain|Southern Photographer: Christian Gläser, 2015 via widewalls]
Read More

Graphic Africa Celebrating Contemporary African Design

Heralded as being the first exhibition of its kind in London, September 14th saw the opening of Graphic Africa a thought-provoking showcase and insight into the emergence of innovative diverse contemporary African design aesthetics and all round creativity currently sweeping across the Continent. Highlighting that contemporary African design is offering something different and fresh to the international design market, the exhibition has generated something of a media buzz, and the impact of the exhibition not only for visitors but the designers themselves has been good to see.
 [Image credit: Dokter and Misses Kassena Server taken by Tapiwa]
Read More

Contemporary African Home Decor Mali Chic Boutique

Perfect perched in a hallway or at the end of a bed, when I first saw the image of this embroidered bench I thought it had beaded detailing across seat area, such is the effect of the textured pattern from afar. Beautifully and skillfully woven, the textile covering is made from cotton upholstered onto a wooden bench frame handmade by the artisans of Mali Chic, a boutique and workshop based in Bamako, Mali. Mali Chic works with a network of over 195 local artisans; to produce a diverse range of traditional and contemporary African home decor, furniture, fabrics, clothing, jewellery and personal accessories for export and local markets. The business aims to take the traditional skills and heritage of Malian crafts and combine them with contemporary design influences, as seen in products like the Dogon Door Table, Bogolan Ottoman and Bozo Baskets. Mali Chic also offers a bespoke service for those with a specific design or fabric in mind.
Read More

African Interior Design Style, Taste and Culture

Diane Trevoedjre - exterior

A blend of African, European and Asian cultural influences underpins the elegant style of interior designer Diane Tevoedjre, whose contemporary African interior design style solutions draw on her upbringing, travels and life experiences. The daughter of a diplomat, Diane is of Malian and Beninese heritage and was born in Ghana, and has lived in the US, Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, the Far East, Central and West Africa, and Switzerland to name a few. Starting her professional career as an art dealer and interior designer over 15 years ago after studying in Geneva, Dallas and Paris, in addition to a period living in Bangkok where she developed an interest in oriental design, Diane went on to open an interior design studio in Côte d’Ivoire and it is all these experiences that have left their mark on her creative style. In 2002 Diane relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she still lives having set up her interior design studio, Mêha Art and Interiors. Embarking on a personal interior design challenge, 2008 saw the interior designer purchase property in the leafy suburb of Sandton which she subsequently demolished and rebuilt to her specifications.
Read More

African Textiles Aboubakar Fofana Malian Indigo Dye Master

Aboubakar Fofana - Indigo bed linen

When I lived in Harare, Dendera Gallery in the city centre was a favourite haunt of mine. Close to the studio I worked in, I would spend many a lunch-time browsing and occasionally buying from the fascinating collection of art sourced across the African continent. I fell in love with the beautifully dyed authentic Indigo fabrics, and to this day kick myself for having not bought one… I’m not sure why I didn’t as I kept saying I would, I guess I got caught up in my move to the UK. I still think of them every now and then, even more so whenever I see a feature on the iconic African textiles by Malian artist and Indigo dye master, Aboubakar Fofana.
Read More

African Jewellery Brand Tamacali Inspired By Ancient Traditions

Tamacali Red choker

African jewellery brand Tamacali is a creative enterprise that draws on the ancient jewellery traditions of Malian Dogon, Tuareg and Togolese peoples. Seeking to bring together the talented artisans from these tribes Tamacali was founded in 2005 by Tetou Gologo, a Malian contemporary artist and the enterprise produces some amazing jewellery pieces that have a fresh modern feel without losing the heritage of the past.
[Image credit: Tamacali]
Read More

BBC Human Planet And Africa Travel To La Maison Rouge in Mopti


The BBC recently did an 8 part series entitled Human Planet, exploring man’s relationship with nature in the world today. Beautifully shot, the series looked at diverse environments such as: cities, rainforests and mountains. Unfortunately I caught it near the end of its run, but managed to see the episode featuring deserts. This episode looked in part at the annual re-plastering of the Great Mosque in Djenne, Mali – a day-long festival involving the community. Re-plastering annually is necessary as heavy seasonal rains can ‘melt’ the fragile structures.
[Image source: The Great Mosque, Mali – the GreenProphet]
Read More