If you’re in Atlanta this winter, DO NOT miss “Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design”, one of the most comprehensive exhibitions focusing on Contemporary African Design, at the High Museum of Art. The exhibition presents the work of over 120 African artists and designers, showing how design’s inextricable links to economic and political change in Africa.
‘The High’ will be the first venue in the United States to present this major touring exhibition, which offers a fresh look at African design through diverse works by artists from across the continent based there and in the Diaspora.
The exhibition was curated by Amelie Klein, Curator at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany. Consulting Curator was Okwui Enwezor, Director of Haus der Kunst in Munich and Director of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. The exhibition also has an advisory committee made up of nine experts from cities around the world, such as Cape Town, Lagos, Dakar, London and Nairobi. Following its premiere at the Vitra Design Museum, the exhibition was presented at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao from autumn 2015 and has been touring various museums around Europe.
Ranging from playful to provocative to political, the works include sculpture, prints, fashion, furniture, film, photography, apps, maps, digital comics, and more.”Making Africa” features a myriad of work cutting across a wide variety of media, such as the eyewear sculptures of Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, furniture by Cheick Diallo from Mali and the work of Mozambican photographer Mário Macilau and Nigerian J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere. It shows the architecture of Francis Kéré, David Adjaye and Kunlé Adeyemi, cardboard city models by Bodys Isek Kingelez and animation art by South African Robin Rhode.
To quote a review by Felicia Feaster for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Making Africa” feels less like a conventional museum exhibition and more like a proposition to occupy, momentarily, a head space. It asks you to get inside a place through a collection of its things…makes an ardent, convincing case for the many ways design shapes consciousness. Contained in the title is the idea of Africa as an identity in formation, and how the work of designers, artists, architects and filmmakers can define what Africa can be.
For more information about this exhibition, please visit the Making Africa website.
Words: Daphne Kasambala