A continent of contemporary design

Making Africa

Shining a light on the state of contemporary African design, technology's role in the global design conversation, as well as the ways "design accompanies and fuels economic and political changes on the continent," the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein presents Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design. This ambitious exhibition, which runs through September 2015, features the work of 120 African designers and artists across a variety of media, ranging from furniture by Gonçalo Mabunda  of Mozambique and Cheick Diallo  of Mali to eyewear sculptures by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, photography by Nigerian J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere, and much, much more.

According to the museum: "When the 'African boom' comes up in the media, the reports tend to focus on the continent’s fast-paced economic growth or the rapidly expanding middle class— phenomena that will remain at the root of fundamental changes in coming decades. However, another development has already altered the everyday lives of all Africans and yields a significant influence upon the work of artists and designers. At present, there are already 650 million registered mobile phones in Africa, more than in Europe or the US. Many of these devices have access to the Internet and thus create a platform for communication and the exchange of information. This portal to the world has enabled the shift in perspective that lies at the centre of Making Africa. The exhibition focuses on a new generation of entrepreneurs, thinkers and designers from and within Africa, who—as 'digital natives'—address a global audience and provide the world with a new vantage point on their continent. They often work across several disciplines simultaneously and break with conventional definitions of design, art, photography, architecture and film."

Cyrus Kabiru Photo © Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images.

Mário Macilau Photo: © Mário Macilau, courtesy Ed Cross Fine Art Ltd, London.

Omar Victor Diop Omar Victor Diop Image © Victor Omar Diop, 2014. Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris.

Cheick Diallo's Fauteil Sansa bleu, 2011, chair Image © Cheick Diallo

Gonçalo Mabunda Photo © Vitra Design Museum, Jürgen Hans.

J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere Image © Ojeikere Estate. Courtesy CAAC Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris.

Frances Bodomo Image © Frances Bodomo. Photo: Joshua James Richards.

Making Africa is on view now through September 13, 2015. The Vitra Design Museum is located at Charles-Eames-Straße 2, 79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany. For more information about visiting the museum, click here.

*All images courtesy of the Vitra Design Museum. 

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