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PROLOGUE

Gallery 208

 

What is design? What is Africa? And what is African design? In the context of the global transformation, it is high time to rethink the answers to these questions. Design has long been much more than the creation of industrially manufactured products; it shapes processes, systems, services, and social interactions. Our conception of Africa also needs to be more broadly framed than is often the case. Africa certainly stands for more than hunger, corruption, or breathtaking landscapes. African design covers a far more fascinating spectrum of concerns than recycling, traditional craft, or humanitarian design.

A distinctive feature of Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design is its development process. Over a two-year research period, think tanks and interviews were held with theorists and practitioners from all over Africa and the diaspora. Prominent curators, researchers, designers, writers, and architects like Okwui Enwezor, Koyo Kouoh, Edgar Pieterse, Mugendi M’Rithaa, or Jim Chuchu discussed what is Africa, who is African, whether this matters for their work, whether there is such a thing as African design, and how we can redefine concepts like recycling or informality. They addressed if and how the continent is reflected in its creative sector and what design can mean for the future of Africa. Sometimes they agreed. Sometimes they didn’t. Yet always, they will provide new, unexpected views and opinions. Please come in and get immersed in their Africa.

To think about a future is to think about one’s own possibilities in the world.

Okwui Enwezor

"To think about a future is to think about one ’s own possibilities in the world . And I have oftentimes said that the future belongs to Africa , because it seems to have already happened everywhere else."