Africa.Now – Exploring Africa’s Creative Community With Design Indaba

 

Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active part of shaping the story, and at the same time giving you a window into what is happening on the ground through the video’s electric montage of music events, fashion shows, street festivals workshops and more.

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IFA Pure Gold Upcycled! Upgraded! Exhibition Exploring Sustainable Design

Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman H++, Chair and table set at IFA Pure Gold Exhibition

 

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]

 

 

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Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

Tongoro Made In Africa - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with the October opening fast approaching I am delighted to share with you the details and introduce the amazing designers and artisanal talent I selected, as follows

 

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Africa By Design Inaugural Exhibition Launches In Ghana

AFRICA BY DESIGN Bob_Grandy_Ghana_Kente Textile Master Weaver

 

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]

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Empowering Young Girls Through Educated Fashion

I love hearing about brands that seek innovate ways to make a difference in the world and was immediately captivated by the story behind Le Dessein, no ordinary fashion brand. Based in the US, Le Dessein uses fashion to educate and empower young girls in developing countries and has a goal of educating 10,000 girls in ten years. And, what is different about the business model is that rather than simply creating a collection and selling the clothes, they have chosen to make the girls they support an active part of the brand. This is achieved by embroidering art sketches created by the girls into the clothing collections. By doing this not only do you get to support the provision of education -25% of the profits goes towards their annual tuition- but you also get a personal connection to the brand’s ethos and more importantly the girls themselves get a boost to their self-esteem in knowing their sketches are out in the world, being worn.
[Main image credit: Le Dessein Rayee Dress – FrenchMorning.com]
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Farewell to Contemporary African Furniture Designer Babacar Niang

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an exhibition opening on the 24th March in New York that would feature the work of Senegalese furniture designer Babacar Niang, amongst others. It is therefore with great sadness and shock that I just learnt of Babacar’s passing on the 25th March 2015. The contemporary African furniture designer, working through his studio Nulangee, possessed a unique design vision that brought forth sublime designs infused with his trademark lifelike qualities. A great talent, Babacar’s passing leaves a void in Africa’s burgeoning design industry, one that will be keenly felt.
May you rest in peace Babacar.
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Sustainable Design Legacy Of Furniture Designer Baay Xaaly Sene

Cutting, hammering and soldering discarded metals such as train tracks, barrels and wheels, and turning them into elegant, stylish, collectable objects was the trademark of Senegalese artist and furniture designer Baay Xaaly Sene. The furniture designer, who died in October 2004, left behind a body of work that is sought after by discerning collectors for its pops of bright colours and contemporary classic forms that combine art and functionality.
[Image credit: Moscow apartment of Russian designer, Dmitry Velikovsky showing
Baay Xaaly Sene Armchair – Architectural Digest]
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