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Greetings from the city of Hamburg in Germany where I am attending the press conference and opening of Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! a forward-thinking exhibition that explores rubbish, more specifically how found and waste materials are being used the world over to create objects of value, hence the title, Pure Gold. As one of the curators, I had the honour of selecting designers-makers to represent sub-Saharan Africa.


[Image credit: H++, Chair and table set, 2011; Water hyacinth, metal, yarn, wood chair – Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman]




[Dogon stool, 2016; Recycled lubricant barrels – Hamed Ouattara]


The featured designer-makers from Africa comprise both well-known names; Hamed Ouattara from Burkina Faso and Artlantique of Senegal represented by Ramón Llonch; and emerging names Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman who works between Nigeria and the UK, and Nelsa Guambe/Piratas Do Pau from Mozambique. Chosen for their individual, innovative approaches to championing sustainable design in their various regions, these designer-makers form part of a global group totalling 53 designers, makers and creative organisations from seven regions.




[Mulher-Woman, rack, 2016; Water heater – Nelsa Guambe/Piratus Do Pau]


The need to reuse and recycle more is a pressing global issue, a concern in which sustain approaches to design play a key role, and is an area in which Africa’s designers excel. Their ingenious approaches to working with found materials -largely due to a continent wide culture of resourcefulness born out of necessity- leading the way in bringing forth global solutions.




[Palmarin armchair, 2014; Recycled wood from pirogues – Artlantique]


The Pure Gold is divided into two parts, comprising the physical exhibition showcasing the different products; and a virtual platform which offers a space for dialogue in the form of workshops and conferences centred around the issues of rubbish, sustainable design, ethics, responsibility, internationalisation and co-creation. Presented by IFA (Institut für Auslandsbeziehubgen) Pure Gold has been developed and overseen by Axel Kufus, a designer and professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, Germany, and is supported by eight curators from the different regions. As a travelling exhibition Pure Gold is intended to run for ten years visiting the different regions of the world. So it could be coming to a cultural institution near you.


– Tapiwa Matsinde


Additional details:

For further information about Pure Gold and IFA visit:



[Image credits: The images shown belong to the following in order of appearance:

H++, Chair and table set, 2011; Water hyacinth, metal, yarn, wood;
chair: H 80 x W 40 cm; table: H 58 x W 50 cm
Photo: Frank Kleinbach, © ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

Dogon stool, 2016; Recycled lubricant barrels, H 85 x W 40 X Ø 43 cm
Galería Out of Africa, Spain
Photo: Frank Kleinbach, © ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

Mulher-Woman, rack, 2016; Water heater, H 150 x B 34 cm; Series: Vertical wine racks
Photo/© Nelsa Guambe

Palmarin armchair, 2014; Recycled wood from pirogues, H 110 x W 60 x D 56 cm
Galería Out of Africa, Spain
Photo: Joël Ventura García, © Ramón Llonch

If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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