clear
Wednesday October 18th, 2017 10:56AM

Exhibition explores African design as agent of change

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — A new exhibition opening in Atlanta encourages visitors to abandon their preconceived notions about Africa and explore the creative efforts of people using design to bring about change on the vast continent.

"Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design" opens Saturday at Atlanta's High Museum of Art. It defines design broadly and delves into the continent's diversity and vibrancy through more than 200 works by more than 120 artists from 22 countries.

Too often people associate Africa with problems like hunger or corruption, but the exhibition seeks to broaden the view by focusing on people who use design to provide solutions, High Museum curator of African art Carol Thompson said.

"I want people to see Africa in a new way and appreciate the creativity of artists on the continent, past and present," she said, adding that "the exhibition doesn't deny that there are challenges on the continent but rather addresses those problems head on."

Immediately upon entering is a display of Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru's "C-Stunners," a collection of wearable eyeglass sculptures crafted from everyday objects — wires, screws, shoe polish tins. The pieces are not corrective eyeglasses in the literal sense but are meant to help "correct" the perception of Africa, Thompson said.

A collection of biting comic-style images mocks stereotypes and common perceptions. One by South African comic artist Anton Kannemeyer shows a white man in a Superman outfit, with "SR" emblazoned on his chest, handing a sack of money to a black African boy who's saying "Thanks, Super Rich Man!"

One of the most captivating pieces in the exhibition is a collaborative project by South African artist Mikhael Subotzky and British artist Patrick Waterhouse. It captures Ponte City, a 54-story circular apartment building in Johannesburg, South Africa. A posh address when it was built in 1975, it has become rundown, though still inhabited, since the end of apartheid.

The two artists photographed every television set, door and window view in the building between 2008 and 2010 and put the 600 photos together in three tall lightboxes in the same order as they were in the building. The result is a captivating glimpse into the tallest apartment building on the continent.

A chair by Malian designer Cheick Diallo was made from metal wire used in the fishing industry with nylon thread wrapped around it. Colorful stools and tables were made mostly from recycled plastic by Bibi Seck, an artist who was born in Paris and grew up in Paris, London and Dakar, Senegal.

A set of pocket handkerchiefs from fashion label Ikire Jones, recreates 18th century textiles and tapestries but inserts African people into them. An embroidered silk cape, paired with a boldly patterned silk shirt and trousers from London-based Nigerian designer Duro Olowu combines prints and colors in a way that is very characteristic of African fashion, Thompson said.

Technology also fits into the exhibition's interpretation of "design." A brick-sized device, called BRCK, made by the Kenyan company Ushahidi, is a self-powered mobile Wi-Fi device that allows other devices to access the internet, which has been vital for change in Africa, allowing Africans to connect with each other and the rest of the world.

There are also dozens of videos and digital displays, so many that they can't possibly all be viewed in a single visit.

The exhibition, which was organized by Vitra Design Museum in Germany and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain, runs through Jan. 7 at the High. It is also slated to be shown at the Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico, Feb. 3 through May 6, and at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, Oct. 14, 2018, through Jan. 13, 2019.

___

If You Go...

MAKING AFRICA: A CONTINENT OF CONTEMPORARY DESIGN: Oct. 14-Jan. 7, High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta; http://www.high.org, 404-733-5000. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Fridays until 9 p.m.; Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Ages 6 and up: $14.50; children 5 and under, free.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Cannes film fest condemns Weinstein
Cannes film festival officials say they have been "dismayed" to learn about the accusations of sexual violence against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein
9:29AM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: US withdraws from UNESCO citing anti-Israel bias
State Department pulling US out of the UNESCO because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias
9:20AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released
American woman, her Canadian husband and 3 young children released after years in captivity by Taliban-allied network
9:04AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Fewer people seek jobless aid as hurricane impact fades
Applications for US unemployment benefits fall for 2nd week as hurricane impact fades
8:36AM ( 1 hour ago )
US producer prices rose 0.4 percent in September
Rising gasoline costs after Hurricane Harvey caused prices at the wholesale level to climb 0.4 percent in September
8:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
JP Morgan 3Q profits rise, helped by consumer banking
JPMorgan Chase beats 3Q profit expectations, helped by consumer banking division
7:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Collapsed interstate bridge in Georgia reopens to traffic
A key section of interstate highway through Atlanta has partially reopened, six weeks after a highway bridge collapsed because of a large fire.
7:41PM ( 4 months ago )
Cagle promises 500,000 new jobs in Georgia governor campaign
Casey Cagle will launch his campaign for governor on Sunday with a pledge to add half a million new jobs in Georgia in four years if voters choose him to replace term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal.
12:11PM ( 5 months ago )
Senate confirms Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary
The Senate on Monday confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be agriculture secretary in President Donald Trump's administration as the farming industry looks to Washington for help amid a downturn in the market.
8:55PM ( 5 months ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
The Latest: Cannes film fest condemns Weinstein
Cannes film festival officials say they have been "dismayed" to learn about the accusations of sexual violence against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein
9:29AM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: US withdraws from UNESCO citing anti-Israel bias
State Department pulling US out of the UNESCO because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias
9:20AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Family held captive by Taliban-linked group released
American woman, her Canadian husband and 3 young children released after years in captivity by Taliban-allied network
9:04AM ( 36 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pound drops as Brexit talks fail to progress
British Brexit negotiator David Davis is urging leaders of the European Union to "take a step forward" and move talks on to future relations between the U.K. and the bloc
9:03AM ( 36 minutes ago )
EU laments Brexit progress amid divorce bill deadlock
The EU's Brexit negotiator says the two sides have made little progress in a fifth round of talks on Britain's departure from the EU
9:02AM ( 37 minutes ago )