For any visitor to Africa and certainly those that are interested in our seven-day Art, Culture and Design Experience, the luxurious coffee table book, Africa Rising – Fashion, Design, and Lifestyle from Africa, is essential pre-travel reading. This weighty tome, co-edited by Design Indaba and German publisher Gestalten, is dedicated to all things African, with insightful essays from experts and artisans who have skilfully contextualized the fresh new voices of the continent’s talented pioneers, projects, people, and products. From the incredible work of Botswana-based Peter Mabeo whose contemporary African furniture designs have seen him collaborate with Spanish architect and designer Patricia Arquiola, to South African Nobukho Nqaba’s body of photographic work that handles the themes of migration and foreignness, to the publicly-minded buildings of Ghanian starchitect David Adjaye, whose design of Hallmark House in Johannesburg is nearing completion. Here too you will find the up-and-coming threads of Selly Raby Kane’s energetic fashion line or the soundscapes of Spoek Mathambo’s Fantasma that fix Bantu lyrics to computerized beats.
In short, Africa Rising shows how art and design can be a catalyst for social and economic development and change and celebrates the way it strengthens and unifies cultures. Perhaps calling all stereotypes, cliches and western-imposed ideas of design into question, the title of the book is a term that was coined in the last decade when six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies were from the continent and Africa’s rise seemed certain. However, that optimism was dampened by the commodities crash of 2015 and more recently, South Africa’s downgrade to junk status. But all is not lost – as the tradition of design becomes more prominent and formalized in Africa, the world is getting into the habit of looking to the continent for emerging designers. The same is true of the art world.
The intention of our Art, Culture and Design Experience is simple: ‘To showcase the depth and breadth of South Africa’s creative and cultural scene with unique insights into the historical, geographical and political factors that shaped them,’ says ROAR AFRICA’s founder and CEO, Deborah Calmeyer. ‘Our first stop is in Johannesburg, a lively, diverse and thoroughly African city that sits at the heart of both the country and continent’s thriving art scene. While Cape Town is said to be ‘more Milan than Mogadishu’, it’s art credentials are just as impressive. Last year, the first museum dedicated to contemporary art on the continent, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), opened with much fanfare in the city. While earlier this year, The Norval Foundation became home to the largest private collection of South African Art in the world. Cape Town was named as a UNESCO City of Design, the first African city to be bestowed with such an honor and a fitting lead on from its year-long reign as World Design Capital in 2014.
Join us as we explore Africa’s worldwide ripple effect of inspiration, creativity, and artistic community, for more information on our Art, Culture, and Design experience, please email firstname.lastname@example.org