Making Africa, 2015

Author: Okwui Enwezor
Pages: 344
Format: Hardcover
Size: 240 x 335 mm
Publisher: Vitra


Making Africa, 2015

"The future belongs to Africa, because it seems to have happened everywhere else already"—Okwui Enwezor "Making Africa" takes a fresh look at African design.

For the first time, we have a book that focuses on creative accomplishments on the continent, without being obsessed with the usual tropes of recycling, humanitarian design or traditional crafts. Instead, "Making Africa" shows a new generation of designers who use their work as a tool for economic, political and social change and therefore also to create a new future for the continent. Their creative output defies all definitions of genres – crossing over classical fields such as furniture design, product design and typography to encompass digital media, art, photography, architecture and film.

A large section of the catalogue is dedicated to documenting work by over 120 protagonists of Africa’s new creative epoch – including Cyrus Kabiru, Cheick Diallo, Mário Macilau, Francis Kéré, David Adjaye, Kunlé Adeyemi, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Robin Rhode, Alaforu Sikoki, Selly Raby Kan and many more. The historical and theoretical background is explored in essays and discussions with Okwui Enwezor, Koyo Kouoh, Edgar Pieterse and Amelie Klein, among others. These are complemented by statements from around 70 other experts from Africa, who met at interviews and think tanks in cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Dakar, Nairobi and Cairo.

This is a book about the future of Africa and about a new, more open way of understanding design – which means it is also a book about what design can achieve in the 21st century.

344 pages, ca. 350 mainly coloured illustrations

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Okwui Enwezor

Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019), was an American-Nigerian poet, art critic, curator and teacher. He is one of the leading figures in contemporary African art.

Okwui Enwezor was born in 1963 in Nigeria to the youngest son of a comfortable Igbos family. In 1982, after a semester at the University of Nigeria, Enwezor moved to the Bronx. In 1987, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from New Jersey City University.

When Enwezor graduated, he moved to the city centre and took up poetry. He performed at the Knitting Factory and the Nuyorican Poets Café in the East Village. Enwezor's study of poetry led him through language-based art forms, such as conceptual art, to art criticism. Teaming up in 1993 with African critics Chika Okeke-Agulu and Salah Hassan, he launched the triennial journal Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art from his Brooklyn apartment. The name of the journal "Nka" is an Igbo word meaning art, but it also means to make, to create. He recruited scholars and artists such as Olu Oguibe as contributor and editor of the first issue.

After mounting a few small exhibitions in museums, Enwezor's fame grew considerably in 1996 as curator of In / sight, an exhibition of 30 African photographers at the Guggenheim Museum. 2,4 In / sight was one of the first shows in the world to place contemporary African art in the historical and political context of colonial withdrawal and the emergence of independent African states.

Major exhibition:

Okwui Enwezor was the artistic director of the Gwangju Bien...

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