Diaspora Design
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Weil am Rhein, the new hub for African design


Located in Weil am Rhein – the most southwesterly town in Germany, near the borders of Germany, Switzerland and France — the Vitra Design Museum is hosting a blockbuster of an African design show featuring over 120 artists and designers.

The show’s starting point is the fact that Africans are well connected. It might be a cliché; but it doesn’t make it less true – 650 million mobile phones are already registered on the continent. The curator, Okwui Enwezor – also in charge of the Venice Biennale – has decided to focus on artists who are digital natives and ‘often work across several disciplines simultaneously and break with conventional definitions of design, art, photography, architecture and film’.

Mateo Kries’s Director’s Foreword said:

‘As late as the 1990s it was still scarcely possible for an African designer or artist to publish or present work internationally. They had to rely on being discovered by opinion makers outside Africa. But since then, the Internet has become available almost everywhere on their continent, so that African designers and creative entrepreneurs can communicate with the world on equal terms and in real time. Today, the results achieved by a fab lab workshop using 3D printers, the experimental typography developed by a graphic designer in Harare, the furniture sculptures of an artists’ collective from Mozambique – all of this fascinating work which once would barely have made its way across even local borders, is now conquering social networks within a matter of hours.’

Many of the artists are also part of the Afripedia initiative, a documentary, social network and online curation platform, which we featured on TRUE.

If you don’t manage to get down to Weil am Rhein, the show will go on to the Guggenheim in Bilbao (both museums were designed by Frank Gehry) in the Autumn. It looks sensational.

Find out more








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(Images in order)

Cheick Diallo, ‘Fauteil Sansa bleu’, 2011

J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, ‘Onile Gogoro Or Akaba’, 1975

Chris Saunders, Lethabo Tsatsinyane photographed for Dazed Magazine, 2010

Malick Sidibé, ‘Nuit de Noël (Happy Club)’, 1963

Jenna Bass, Hannes Bernard, ‘Jungle Jim – African Pulp Fiction’, No 11, 2013

Omar Victor Diop, ‘Mame’, 2014

Ikire Jones, ‘The Madonna’, 2014

Bodys Isek Kingelez, ‘Étoile Rouge Congolaise’, 1990

Vigilism, ‘Idumota Market, Lagos 2081A.D’, © Olalekan Jeyifous & Walé Oyéjidé, 2013

All information at the Vitra Design Museum website