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Atelier Fifty Five by Tapiwa Matsinde Consulting Liz Riley Photography
Context & Connections

Looking for a richer understanding of contemporary Africa’s dynamic design and creative landscape?

If you’re looking for a richer understanding of contemporary Africa’s dynamic design and creative landscape, I’ll provide direction, context, products, research, even introductions.


Advising On African Design

The African continent is vast and diverse. It comprises 55 recognised states, all of them contributing differently to the continent’s rich, expressive, and thriving creative culture. I’ve been exploring, researching, watching, and meeting the creatives who are making their mark in the world of African Design. They are fascinating individuals with compelling stories. 

If you find you need a deeper understanding of Africa’s dynamic design and creative landscape for your cultural organisation, museum, gallery, event, retail business or educational institution, the Atelier Fifty Five Consultancy and Guest-Curation service is the perfect start.

I like nothing better than seeing a fruitful partnership bloom from one of my connections. 


I would be delighted to guest-curate your exhibit or industry event.


These are a few of my most-recent exhibits as curator or guest-curator. Enjoy!

An exhibition presented by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) explores the subject of rubbish and presents approaches to using trash to create valuable products. I curated the section dedicated to upcycling in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For further information about ifa Pure Gold visit the website.
Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair – GUEST CURATOR
Appointed 2017 guest curator for the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase, hand-selecting 5 exquisite Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the African continent. Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair is a leading showcase of high-end artisanal design and food and wine.
For further information about Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair visit the website.
Speaking & Presentations

Engaging, informative, impassioned and stirring. Ask me about presenting at your event.


I have been honoured to share my knowledge of Africa’s contemporary design industry.

Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow – PANEL SPEAKER
Invited to be a panel speaker at Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow exhibition at Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg, speaking about my book and the work I do in promoting contemporary African design.
For further information about Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow visit the website
Creative Mornings, Johannesburg – PANEL SPEAKER
Invited to be a panel speaker at a special edition of Creative Mornings Johannesburg, held at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair. For further information about Creative Mornings Johannesburg visit the website
Digital By Design – CO-MODERATOR
Co-led three interactive blogging sessions discussing creativity and the creative process. London Design Festival event held at the V&A’s Sackler Centre.
Creative Challenge / Ma UCA Epsom – SYMPOSIUM SPEAKER
Presented related MA research to industry professionals and students. University for the Creative Arts (UCA) event, held at the Kensington Rooftop Gardens, London.

He who learns teaches.

African proverb

  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive