Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design

Omar Victor Diop, »Aminata«,
Fotografie aus der Serie/ photograph from the series »The Studio of Vanities«, 2013,
© Victor Omar Diop, 2014, Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris

Journal

Upwardly Mobile

How sub-Saharan Africa's smartphone boom is heralding a new wave in African creativity…

Along with an increasing appetite for art that goes hand-in-hand with a burgeoning middle class, African socio-economic development has heralded another, more technological, boom. The continent now has over 650,000,000 registered mobile phones — the majority of that figure in sub-Saharan Africa — and experts predict a staggering 20-fold increase (double the rate forecast for the rest of the world) over the next five years. Landline infrastructure is often poor, but mobile innovations, falling handset prices and cheap mobile data means many of the tasks normally performed on a laptop in other parts of the globe are carried out on smartphones.

The hitherto fairly isolated art and craft practitioners in sub-Saharan Africa are voraciously consuming a whole new world of knowledge and influences in this way, and a new exhibition at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, is showcasing some of the superb work coming out of the region. Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design covers a wide range of disciplines; the ornate sculptural eyewear of Kenyan Cyrus Kabiru that employs the waste materials of industry, Mozambique’s Gonçalo Mabunda’s furniture made from rusting weapons which sends out a grim reminder of the continent’s violence, and the photography of the late JD ‘Okhai Ojeikere who undertook a career-long project to document the hairstyles of his native Nigeria are just a few examples — whilst Africa’s contemporary culture heritage is also explored. The exhibition runs at the German gallery from 14 March to 13 September, when it will move to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

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@MuseoGuggenheim

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, »Onile Gogoro Or Akaba«,
Fotografie/photograph, 1975, © Ojeikere Estate Courtesy CAAC
Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Cheick Diallo, »Fauteil Sansa bleu«, 2011,
Sessel, © Cheick Diallo
Cheick Diallo, »Fauteil Sansa bleu«, 2011,
chair, © Cheick Diallo

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Pierre-Christophe Gam, »The Kingdom of Taali M«, 2012,
Website für die französisch-kongolesische Sängerin Taali M./
website for the French-Congolese, © Pierre-Christophe Gam

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Cyrus Kabiru, »Caribbean Sun«, 2012,
image from the »C-Stunners« photography series,
© Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Mário Macilau, »Alito, The Guy with Style«,
from the »Moments of Transition« series, 2013, photograph,
photo: © Mário Macilau, courtesy Ed Cross Fine Art Ltd, London

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Bodys Isek Kingelez, »Étoile Rouge Congolaise «, 1990,
Objekt/ Object, © Bodys Isek Kingelez,
Courtesy C.A.A.C. – The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Vigilism, » Idumota Market, Lagos 2081A.D.«
from the »Our Africa 2081A.D.« series,
illustration for the Ikiré Jones Heritage Menswear Collection, 2013,
© Courtesy Olalekan [vigilism.com] and Walé Oyéjidé [ikirejones.com]

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Vigilism, »Where there’s gold: mining way station«, 2014,
three dimensional model, © Olalekan Jeyifous,
Vigilism, New York [vigilism.com]

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Mikhael Subotzky, »Ponte City, Windows«, 2009,
© Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse,
Courtesy Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Dokter and Misses, »Sun City« & »Verster«, 2013,
cupboard and sideboard, courtesy Southern Guild,
© Dokter and Misses, photo: Greg Cox

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Buki Akib, Fela menswear collection, 2011,
Jacke/jacket, © Buki Akib, Foto/photo: Anne Vino- gradoff

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Chai House, (Architects unknown), Nairobi, ca. 1970,
photo © Iwan Baan

Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary Design

Andile Dyalvane Portrait, 2011,
© Imiso Ceramics, Courtesy Southern Guild and Imiso

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