Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary African Design

This spring the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, will be holding a major exhibition showcasing the diverse expressions of contemporary African design emerging from the continent. Entitled Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, the work on display will encompass a range of diverse creative disciplines such as fine arts, graphic design, illustration, film, photography, architecture and urban planning.
[Main image credit: The Guy with Style, Mário Macilau – Vitra Design Museum]
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Yemi Awosile Journey Into An African Inspired Textiles Soundscape

Also on display at Africa Utopia was a new body of work by London-based textile designer Yemi Awosile. Inspired by her Nigerian heritage Yemi set out to explore the relationships between sound, textiles and space. Entitled Lagos, the African inspired textiles soundscape installation saw Yemi design a collection of printed textiles that give a physical form to sound. Incorporating audio components, the textiles make use of a combination of sound conductive and non-conductive materials to present a sound piece by Nigerian sound and video artist Emeka Ogboh Yemi called ‘UnderBridge’. Available to listen on Yemi’s website, the recording was taken from Lagosoundscape; a series of recordings documenting the urban environment in the city of Lagos, Nigeria.

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Africa Utopia Festival 2014 Celebrating African Creative Culture

Africa Utopia, the festival celebrating the diversity in African creative culture returns to London’s Southbank Centre this week. Taking place over four days from Thursday 11 September 2014 – Sunday 14 September 2014, the festival is a celebration of arts and culture from Africa and the African Diaspora. From concerts to art installations the festival looks at how African art and ideas changing the world for the better, enabling visitors to explore areas including culture, community, technology, fashion, sustainability and ethical wealth creation. There will also be the Africa Utopia Food Market, and Market Place offering art, homeware, fashion and accessories to purchase.
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Engaging Spaces And Developing Contemporary African Architecture

Diébédo Francis Kéré is a pioneering German-based architect, whose work seeks to bring together the best of African and European architectural methods. Born and raised in Burkina Faso, upon completing school the architect was awarded a scholarship to Germany where he initially studied as a supervisor in the context of development aid. After a period of apprenticeship Diébédo Francis then went on to study architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin, before founding his practice, Kéré Architecture. Having also founded a not-for-profit organisation, Schulbausteine für Gando, loosely translated as ‘Bricks for Gando’, upon graduation Diébédo Francis returned home to Gando, the village he was born in, to share what he had learnt with his local community. Through Schulbausteine für Gando, Diébédo Francis has been able to raise the funds needed to help invest in developing Gando.
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New Year And New Inspirations Exploring Creative Africa

As 2014 gets under way, it brings with it the promise of another great year for creative Africa in design, music, fashion, art and all round creative inspiration. 2014 sees Cape Town, South Africa take on the mantle of World Design Capital, bringing with it a whole host of events; and late 2013 saw Brazzaville, Republic of Congo elected a UNESCO Creative City, designated the ‘City of Music’, and in doing so becomes the first African member of the Creative Cities Network launched by Unesco in 2004.
[Image credit: Africa is Now – The Design Indaba Expo]
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Inaugural 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair In London

One of the largest art fairs in the world, Frieze, officially starts to tomorrow bringing to London a host of prominent global collectors. Alongside the fair, which is held at Regent’s Park, a selection of the world’s leading galleries set up shop in the city, holding special shows in a bid to capture some of the Collectors’ attention. Making its debut at Frieze week, today sees the start of 1:54, the inaugural Contemporary African Art Fair, which is being held in the West Wing of the prestigious cultural institution, Somerset House. Visitors can view, and purchase contemporary African art from seventeen galleries, representing over seventy African artists, exhibiting emerging talent alongside established names, in addition to attending stimulating and thought-provoking film screenings, debates, keynote lectures and panel discussions. The full programme of events can be downloaded from the 1:54 website.
[Edson Chagas; Angola: Found not Taken, Luanda, 2009 – C-print on dibond, 120 x 80cm]
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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]
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The Best Of African Design At London Design Festival

September has been a good month for design lovers, and proved a great month for viewing some of the best contemporary African design as part of the London Design Festival. The earlier part of the month saw London-based textile designer Julie Kouamo exhibit her latest collection of lampshades at Bangou at one of Europe’s biggest trade events, Maison et Objet in Paris. The lampshades are the latest editions to the Bangou collection of African inspired textiles, which was debuted in January 2013.
Meanwhile the prestigious London Design Festival (LDF), whose core events occurred between the 14th-22nd, brought with it London’s major trade shows shows and exhibitions, including 100% DesignTent LondonDesign Junction; and saw galleries and retailers like Anthropologie, Mint and Habitat putting on specially curated exhibitions; and studios opening their doors to the public. Wednesday saw me at 100% Design where I got to chat with the lovely Eva Sonaike, whose textile products channeling a chic modern African design aesthetic brought a burst of bright colour to the proceedings conveyed in the brand’s signature African inspired prints across soft furnishings and fabrics.
[Image credit: Bangou Collection Lampshades – Julie Kouamo]
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Piece South African Jewellery And Adornment Exhibition

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Some of South Africa’s top creative talent have come together to create a stunning range of contemporary South African jewellery and other adornment in an exhibition entitled ‘Piece’, a pioneering brand that is active in the handicraft sector with a focus on business training, product development and creating sustainable business. Working extensively throughout the Southern African region, the idea for Piece was born when founder Eugenie Drakes, who was attending a workshop at Ngwenya Glass Blowers in Swaziland, met and asked ceramist Andile Dyalvane of Imiso Ceramics, to make some ceramic beads for her. Upon receiving some sample beads the team at Ngwenya Glass Blowers were themselves inspired by what they saw and wanted to create their own beads. This interest led Eugenie to seek ways of connecting artists and set about inviting some of South Africa’s most accomplished artists to apply their skills towards creating elegant contemporary South African jewellery collections that celebrate local design and craft. Inspired by the notion of conversing through a grain of sand, Piece’s latest exhibition, entitled ‘Conversations’ is based in Johannesburg from 22nd September to 22nd October 2011.

 

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