Making Africa

This winter at the Kunstal Rotterdam a young generation of creatives introduce the world to a new vision of Africa through experimental approaches and techniques that break with convention. Making Africa is a collaboration of over 120 artists and designers aiming to provide a new insight into contemporary African design, showing the political and economic changes of the continent and the impact they have had on the art world. The exhibition is part of Africa Year in Rotterdam, in which a selection of different institutes throughout the city are focusing on the culture and history of the African continent in a series of interwoven exhibitions and events.

Making Africa presents a wide range of different disciplines that highlight the talent and work of artists from this multi-faceted continent. Furniture design, illustration, graphic art, fashion, film and photography are some of the art forms being celebrated throughout. Painting an innovative and lively picture of design, the exhibition challenges established views of Africa with pieces from Kenyan artist, Cyrus Kabiro, whose ‘C-Stunner’ eyewear sculptures are made from found objects such as sponges and scrap metal. Kabiro’s work features alongside Cheick Diallo’s sculptural nylon string furniture and the works of many other African architects, designers, and photographers, showing us their perception of the world of design.

The exhibition is divided into four themes, including Prologue, which presents a Western view of Africa through a series of images. Another element of the exhibition, titled I and We is an expression of social interaction, whilst Space and Object focuses on the influence of environment and individuals. Creating connections between tradition and modernity, Origin and future compares contemporary design with examples of photography and art from 1960 – marking the year in which 17 of Africa’s countries achieved independence and celebrating the fast development of the continent’s economy and its ever-growing artistic potential.

Throughout the duration of Making Africa, a series of events and workshops will take place. Every day there are various performances including; dance, music, guided tours, storytelling events by dramatist Ogutu Muraya, and a fashion show hosted by Lady Africa. Other interactive elements of the exhibition include a programme of design workshops that guests can partake in, including a Kabiro inspired workshop, where they can create their own C-Stunner eyewear designs. The exhibition and accompanying workshops encourage visitors to embrace the styles of the artists whose work is on display and be inspired by the image of modern African contemporary design.

Making Africa, until 15 January 2017, Kunstal Rotterdam, Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341, 3015 AA, Rotterdam. For more information, visit

1. Omar Victor Diop, The Studio of Vanities.