In 2016 I co-edited and co-curated this beautiful new book on African design. I also wrote the chapter of product design in Africa. See my interview with publishing house Gestalten here: Meet Katie de Klee.
Africa Rising, a new book co-edited by Design Indaba and Gestalten, takes the pulse of creativity Africa – where design, although still a young industry, is thriving. The African artistic spirit extends far beyond the canvas and studio; a new wave of African creatives is on the rise and making a name for itself in design, fashion, photography, and architecture across Africa and abroad. While the colours, patterns, and crafts are profoundly rooted in African tradition, young designers infuse their creations with a disruptive edge that makes them contemporary, unique, and truly pieces that represent African design.
Africa Rising calls stereotypes and clichéd, western-imposed ideas of African design into question. From Peter Mabeo’s indigenous wooden furniture, Nobukho Nqaba’s photographic work that handles themes of migration and foreignness through the clever use of every day objects, the publicly-minded architecture of David Adjaye, the threads of Selly Raby Kane’s energetic fashion line, and the soundscapes of Spoek Mathambo’s Fantasma, the pages of the book are bursting with African story tellers.
Insightful essays from experts and artisans contextualise each portrait and provide insight into talented pioneers, outstanding projects, and the way craft can be a catalyst for social and economic developments. Africa Rising celebrates the way art strengthens and unifies cultures and, most importantly, invokes the multi-faceted richness of Africa.
Explore Africa’s worldwide ripple effect of inspiration, creativity, and artistic community. The gallery above is a look inside the book. Africa Rising will be launched on 21 September 2016 at Somerset House in London as part of the programme of events for the inaugral London Design Bienniale with a panel discussion featuring designers Yinka Ilori and Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, Design Indaba editor Katie de Klee, and the founder of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair Touria El Glaoui.
African fashion and design is colourful, unconventional, fresh, elegant, and self-confident. Africa Rising showcases the work of young creatives from the continent’s vibrant metropolises.