Milan. African design and photography on showcase

Art and design tell the transformation of sub-Saharan Africa where migration and emancipation are individual and collective issues.

AfricaAfrica, exploring the Now of African design and photography, installation view, Palazzo Litta, 2018

Design and photography tell the transformations of Africa, in Milan. “AfricaAfrica, exploring the Now of African design and photography” is the exhibition of this story, at Palazzo Litta. The gaze is in particular addressed to Sub-Saharan Africa: forty products of design and fifty-five photographs return the image of an innovative and vital reality. The exhibited works are colorful and lively, vital: they beautyfully contrast  with the Baroque interiors of the building. The result is heterogeneous, within the intentions of curator Elisa Astori with the contribution of designer Cara Judd “We have chosen designers who represent the heterogeneity of this extensive and semi-unknown area of the world”. 

“AfricaAfrica, exploring the Now of African design and photography”, installation view, Palazzo Litta 2018
“AfricaAfrica, exploring the Now of African design and photography”, installation view, Palazzo Litta 2018

The aesthetics of objects is original, natural materials or reuse and recovery like plastic, archetypal forms of inspiration of the land of origin, color is constantly present. Examples are the works of Birsel & Seck and the intertwining of Stephen Burks, the sheet metal and oil barrels of Hamed Ouattara and Ousmane Kouyate, the interpretations of objects from the daily newspaper of Inoussa Dao, the lamps made with plastic bottles by Haeth Nash. But there are also “political” objects, such as the seats and cupboards made with Gonçalo Mabunda weapons and bullets and the poetic reinterpretations of the hulls of abandoned wooden boats by Jean Servais Somian. Natural materials are at the center of research by Peter Mabeo, Pate and Francis Kéré, Nifemi Marcus Bello designs for self-construction, Cara / Davide's sculptures are a tribute to the primitive forms of African aesthetics.

“AfricaAfrica, exploring the Now of African design and photography” , vista dell'installazione, Palazzo Litta, 2018

The photographic section, curated by Maria Pia Bernardoni, sees a series of artists who “with their work deal with contemporary socio-political issues that have a global resonance”. This is the example of the Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali who, in her hand-embroidered images, explores the theme of migrations and ties that are broken in many African countries, Siwa Mgoboza and Nobukho Nqaba, both South Africans, who question their identity relation to social and cultural influences; Maurice Mbikayi, Congolese, who unmasks the phenomenon of the abandonment of digital waste by creating garments of left elegance; the South African Andile Buka, with its elegant black-and-white reconstructions, or the Kenyan Osborne Macharia, with colorful images and attention to every detail. The work of Omar Victor Diop, presented in collaboration with the Magnin-A gallery, is an important reflection on the presence of historical figures of African origin and the key role they played in shaping European economic and cultural history. 

AfricaAfrica, exploring the Now of African design and photography
Elisa Astori, Cara Judd, Maria Pia Bernardoni
Opening dates:
15 March - 2 April
Palazzo Litta
Corso Magenta 74, Milan

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