MOAD at AKAA by aaron kohn

In 2015 the Museum of African Design and Director Aaron Kohn were invited to participate in the first art and design fair focused on Africa taking place in Paris, Also Known as Africa. The fair, which took place from 11-13 November at the Carreau du Temple, was attended by some 15,000 visitors over the same weekend as Paris Photo.

Aaron Kohn curated a small exhibit looking at architecture and design called "To a concept...:"

The 21st century is putting African design on the map.
Africa has become a canvas for design, whether conducted by local or international designers. Major infrastructure projects and entrepreneurial endeavours are providing demand for architects, industrial designers, and urban planners.
Firms in New York are competing for sites in Gaborone, Botswana, pushing the boundaries of the field and winning competitive awards. At the Venice Biennale, a top award is given to an expat redefining life in Lagos, Nigeria from Amsterdam, Holland.
Design firms are licensing African architects’ designs for office furniture in law firms and accounting offices around the world. Of course, many of the best concepts on the continent are only that—imaginative, and may never be realised. But, it is in that light that ideas and notions of what Africa means continue to change.
At its core, design surveys society and proposes new ideas. Whether it is through city planning, fashion design, or social development, design builds on what came before and tests new ideas of what could be.  To a concept… is a look at theoretical drawings, timeless architectures, and even tangible furniture that collectively arrive at a new and changing idea of Africa.

Designers included:

Shaun Gaylard, Blank Ink Projects (Johannesburg)

Unknown Union (Cape Town)

Olalekan Jeyifous (Brooklyn)

Patricia Urquiola for Mabeo Furniture (Gaborone)

Piratas du Pao (Maputo)

David Adjaye for Knoll (London)

Buildings featured:

The Joburg Pavillion - Johannesburg, David Adjaye (London)

Zeitz MOCAA - Cape Town, Thomas Heatherwick (London)

Innovation Hub - Gaborone, SHoP Architects (New York)

Torres Rani - Maputo, DSA Architects (Johannesburg)

The Old Dispensary - Stonetown

The Grande Mosquée - Djenne

The Makoko Floating School - Lagos, NLÉ Architects (Amsterdam)

Kossi Aguessy on Human Evolution and Design by Joy Lowdon

At the 9th edition of the FNB Joburg Art Fair, the Museum of African Design presented designs by Kossi Aguessy at the FNB Private Wealth Lounge. We asked Aguessy a few questions. His responses are poetic and thought provoking. They looking at human evolution, understanding, and the power of design for change.

1.    Where have you lived?

I was born in Lomé, Togo. Life has brought me to New York, London, Paris, Rotterdam, Nancy, Toulouse, Milan, Rio de Janeiro. I do feel totally and deeply a world citizen, yet I guess a whole new generation of multiverse-minds have multiple roots and cultural influences. Each one of these places has brought me knowledge and experiences that allow me to build perspectives on life. I can only be thankful.

2.    Have these places and cultures influenced you?

Human culture comes in different forms and expressions. The different locations, their cultures, habits, and lifestyles have built in my mind something which is not the addition of them; but a whole new perception of life; a sort of new “cultural spectrum” that I call my own holy hybridity. You naturally combine them and get the best mix.

3.    Is there a focus or philosophy behind your work?

There is not, to my knowledge a single focus or philosophy behind my work. I am full of questions. I try to find answers, not always successfully.

"Photony", Chandelier

"Photony", Chandelier

4.    What do you term/define as design?

From a western perspective, design is a solution based proposal. In reality, design has always been part of daily life. We used to call these designers and manufacturers craftsmen. Every industrial production process today starts with prototyping. Prototyping is as far as I know, a craft. 

Mass production is a process. Technology is the means; not the main purpose. The main purpose is the first intention. I guess it is a reflection of society, which tends to partition everything, that wants to define craft, design, or art separately. Personally, I give up. Providing a useful object, is for me just a piece of being an African artist.

5.    How is your practice pushing design boundaries?

My problem is I do not feel or have mental boundaries, so I do not need to push them. I live in a bubble where the very notions of boundaries never had a place.

Usually I conceptualise and design things first. Then I am forced to work within technology's limits to bring them to life. My design process is an evolution. Stepping forward, leaving the comfort zone, and questioning what is behind the horizon line...this brought us to where we stand today. This is in our DNA. It’s natural.

"Damn", Chair

"Damn", Chair

6.    Does design influence the future?

It’s a very accurate question.

We evolve and adapt to our environment, natural or (in our case) manufactured. Human beings transform their environment.

We cannot predict where we will be tomorrow, but we can see the shadow of it. What we are doing today is changing tomorrow's landscape. Design does not influence our future, but creates it. Design, alongside industry, research, etc. creates what will be our tomorrow. It is a circle, a continuum, everything is linked and it is our responsibility to somehow question the possible evolutions effected by what we are about to do.

7.    What for you, is responsible design?

We produce tons of useless junk-like things with no care of their impact on our environment. We exploit the wellbeing of people to make products cheaper than cheap. They're made on the other side of the globe, then we ship them across the ocean. Whatever the consequences, social or environmental, they will be deserved. Well deserved. I refuse being part of that movement. 

"Smiiile", Stool or Sidetable

"Smiiile", Stool or Sidetable

8.    How do you hope to see the design world evolve?

I‘d like the world, and not only the design world, to be more responsible and balanced. The changes I’d like to see in design are the ones I’d like to see around me, as an individual in human society.

Design, like culture in general, is global. It can’t be only western-oriented with African design called a niche or “exotic." If you are capable in your everyday life of having sushi for lunch, imbibing vodka, and having bananas with your pancakes, you should then understand that "exotic" is a misnomer.

"Useless", Chair

"Useless", Chair

9. Lastly What are you currently working on?

I am finishing my 2016 program while preparing for the first two quarters of 2017. My "Making Africa" group show just travelled to the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam. I am working on “Perfect Futures” with Gallery Vallois and assistance from MOAD, and “Regnum Tabula II” a 3 month exhibition Vallois Gallery in NYC. I’ve also been preparing for Art Basel Miami.

11. Anything you would like to add… 

A “Thank You” Perhaps?

All Images are from Kossi Aguessy's Catalogue, Twenty Fifteen, 2015.

Driving change: Unfinished City and Propertuity by aaron kohn

A render of David Adjaye's redesign of Hallmark Towers (1970) into Hallmark House (2017)

A render of David Adjaye's redesign of Hallmark Towers (1970) into Hallmark House (2017)

Text by Aaron Kohn, Executive Director of the Museum of African Design

Unfinished City, our latest exhibition at the Museum of African Design, is a look at Johannesburg's history and uncharted future. It is no coincidence that we decided to make this a long-running exhibit (about 6 months). The founding of MOAD, three years ago, was part of an idea conceived by the developers of the Maboneng Precinct, Propetuity PTY. As we saw it, there is a natural fit between what it means to redevelop part of Johannesburg's struggling downtown, and design. Urban design, architecture, industrial design, and good graphic design have all played a role in the 'Precinct.' Fashion designers and entrepreneurs have moved their operations into MOAD and the surrounding buildings. Those trying to make parts of downtown Johannesburg clean, safe, and attractive to residents and tourists alike are all facing huge design challenges. They are not the same challenges the founders of Johannesburg faced.

In 2007, Propertuity embarked on its first development in Jeppestown. A group of five warehouses were turned into a commercial and retail complex called Arts on Main, which forms the backbone of the Maboneng Precinct. Every Sunday for over five years, the Market at Arts on Main draws a few thousand people into town.

The Sunday market has played an important role. In the beginning, college students, craft food makers, and artists dominated the crowds. But by 2012, the market and retail shops around it like the Bioscope Independent Cinema began attracting families and tourists. Food stalls outgrew the market and moved into brick and mortar restaurants along Fox Street (ie. Little Addis, Mama Mexicana, The Blackanese, Sharp, Ché Argentinian, and Soul Souvlaki).

To this day, the same conversations can be overheard at Arts on Main as when it first opened: "I haven't been downtown since I was a kid." "My mom and dad used to work down the street." "I had no idea all of this was here." There are, alas, 8 million people in the greater Johannesburg Metropolitan area. Visitors, residents, and companies now inhabit the 70+ buildings owned by Propertuity in the Maboneng Precinct.

The most important takeaway for anyone coming into Jeppestown is the design. This Unfinished City has not been demolished, fragmented, or sterilised. Architects from around the world have redesigned existing structures, upcylcing the built environment. Each building is one-of-a-kind because of its heritage and new purpose. This once 'no-go' area is now open to everyone, and carries little baggage from the segregated and gated suburbs.

As the Museum of African Design, we are thrilled to be part of this 130-year old design experiment called "Johannesburg."

DAY 14 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

A Global Emergency BY Jodi Bieber Emergency: Global Emergency. Social platforms give us immediate access to news snippets, hence why the artist decided to display her artwork in a Instagram "platform" way. She high lights that news never stands independently, but rather that everything is linked in some way. 

Waking Up BY Laayla Randera Emergency: Drug abuse in our Youth. Drugs seem to be more available now than what they were, and if they aren't then people, especially the young ones, seem to be abusing them more and more. Each stitch that is on the pocket represents a person who the artists knows who has either had to go to rehab, or has died from drug abuse. 

I Benefited from Apartheid BY Andrew Whispa Emergency: Apartheid. In this artwork the artist explores who benefitted from the Apartheid regime, and questions whether it has been taken down for real, or if there are still people benefitting from it. After much debate, everyone concluded that this is a subject that has haunted us and our past and present for so long, that it is high time we stopped ignoring it, and we start figuring out how to really put the monster to sleep as this is the only next step that South Africa and its people can take in order to behead the monster and live in unity. 

Why No Outrage? BY Tobias Lehrskov-Schmidt Emergency: Teachers were killed in Mexico, and it has not been on social media or on headlines. Why is it that some attacks, or some human lives, mean more than others? Why does the media only high light certain incidents and not others?

Untitled BY Alishia Strydom Emergency: the irony on how all the different parties (with regards to the elections) use those flagpoles for marketing to claim/control South Africa, but eliminate the little pride and dignity South Africa has left by not having SA flags hanging from these poles. Last week the posters of the ANC were up and most probably next week the DA posters will be up. The anger evoked by this situation is that they can set up a timetable for marketing and get along with it, but they won't set up a timetable for the future of South Africa.

Think Inclusion, Build Social BY Frank Franzen Emergency: Gentrification. 

Think Inclusion, Build Social BY Frank Franzen Emergency: Gentrification. 

Dog Meat Festival in China BY Amalie Huiid Bartholdy Emergency: The dog meat festival which will be taking place in the last week of July in China has caused outrage because millions of dogs will be slaughtered to be eaten. Yet, every day we slaughter millions of pigs, but that doesn't cause the same outrage. Why? Under the face of a very cute puppy, there is a pigs face.

Why BY Daxx Tfwala Emergency: Colonizations, and the stigma attached to being a bushman for example, which leads to people rejecting their routes and wanting to lose their traditions more and more often.

DAY 13 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

Political Riots, who listens to who? BY Frank Franzen Emergency: One sometimes gets the feeling that there are too many chiefs and only one tribe. This image shows a lot of movement... people pointing their hands or weapons, one shouting, confusion in the background. Everyone has an opinion and an idea, but no one listens to anyone else, thus creating more and more confusion.

100% Fear Of Losing My PIece BY Nina Wengel Emergency: The refugee crisis that is happening is no joke. Thousands of people are risking their lives to try and find a better life for themselves and their families, and the people on the other side feel more and more invaded. There is a fear to "cut too many pieces out of one cake". But the real question is: Are we doing enough? Do we care? How can we help these people more?

The State of Pan-Africanism In South Africa BY Michelle Eistrop Emergency: Racism, use of certain words which mean something to some, but nothing to others...

Is North Korea A Threat? BY Amalie Huiid Bartholdy Emergency: Is North Korea really as bad as the media makes it sound and seem, or has the media just blown it completely out of proportion?

Missile Tests by North Korea - An Emergency BY Karen Land Hansen Emergency: North Korea insists on launching missiles as experiments, which is only adding to the tension

My Time For Emergency Art Is Now BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL Emergency: the concept of time is so silly and yet so necessary. As people, and artists we need to act NOW, towards what we believe is an emergency. Just like the government can get things done in a matter of days, we need to also counterattack in a matter of days, otherwise time is gone. 

DAY 12 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

Hitten Violence in China BY Tobias Lehrskov-Schmidt

If We Had A Choice We Wouldn't Be In BY Amalie Huiid Bartholdy

Waist BY Lungisa

White Star Bomb by Io Makandal

Zebra House BY Niels Bonde

Zebra House BY Niels Bonde

Walking The Talk to Freedom BY Mongezi Mlombo

Mayor BY Andrew Kayser 2

Mayor BY Andrew Kayser 1

Murder Attemp At Trump by Karen Land Hansen 

Cluedo South Africa BY Lisa Younger Emergency: In SA we are basically playing a game of Cluedo, where everyone is a victim, and everyone is losing. Things need to change.

Can We See Clearly? BY Michelle Elstrup 

More Books, Less Violence BY Frank Franzen Emergency: Education is needed, not more guns.

DAY 11 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

Why Should I Vote? BY Amelie Huiid Bartholdy Emergency: elections. Does one vote really make a difference? Does voting really serve a purpose? Are elections not just rigged and by voting we are given a fake sense of control / hope?

Why Should I Vote? BY Amelie Huiid Bartholdy Emergency: elections. Does one vote really make a difference? Does voting really serve a purpose? Are elections not just rigged and by voting we are given a fake sense of control / hope?

Mobile Safe Zone BY Nina Wengel

Mobile Safe Zone BY Nina Wengel

Coping / Quick Fix BY Saaiqa Abrahim Emergency: We are always doing quick fixes, so we never take the time to truly fix emergencies.

Coping / Quick Fix BY Saaiqa Abrahim Emergency: We are always doing quick fixes, so we never take the time to truly fix emergencies.

Danish Artists are Cheaper Than The Red Ants BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Danish Artists are Cheaper Than The Red Ants BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Blackout News BY Alicia Strydom Emergency: Censorship

Blackout News BY Alicia Strydom Emergency: Censorship

Your Mandela is Not My Mandela BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL 

Don't Trust Artists BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL Emergency: The artists here may seem nice and cool, but be careful. They are here to expose issues. 

Don't Trust Artists BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL Emergency: The artists here may seem nice and cool, but be careful. They are here to expose issues. 

Les Artistes sont les soldats de la gentrification BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

World Refugee Day BY Frank Franzen

DAY 10 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

Why Can't You Hear Me? BY Ulungile Magubane Emergency: Sexual Harassment

Social Justice Now BY Frank Franzen Emergency: Social Justice

Fake My Rehab BY Tobias Lehrskov-Schmidt Emergency: Criminal Rehab

Do High Taxes Equal Equality? BY Karen Land Hansen Emergency: Equality Issues

In My Country Only Beautiful Food Sells BY Amelie Huiid Bartholdy Emergency: Food. In many countries people only want to buy food that "looks" pretty, which has led to transgenic crops.

Fear Of The Other BY Michelle Eistrup Emergency: Fear of the unknown

Fear Of The Other BY Michelle Eistrup Emergency: Fear of the unknown

The Bloody Tears Of Joy BY Mongezi Niombo Emergency: Disease Prevention

DAY 9 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

After The Schools Are Burnt BY Neil Bonde

Free Education NOW Not Tomorrow BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Creating Balance BY Nina Wengel

Teenage Rina Causes Clashes as People Ask the Question If She Was Forced To Convert To Islam BY Karen Land Hansen

DAY 8 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

I Am Just Listening BY Michelle Elstrup

Who Listens To The Citizens Of Johannesburg BY Amalie Huiid Bartholdy and Clint Ferreira Emergency: this 9 minute video asks different people on the street their opinions on current happening around Johannesburg and their opinions on it.

Child's World Water Color BY Karen Land Hansen

The Right to Clean Water Supplies BY Tobias Lehrskov-Schmidt

These Are Not My Balls BY Niels Bonde Emergency: The artwork is a metaphor representing the basic rules for respectful interaction. The game and the ball have a set of rules in place, which allows people who have different backgrounds, education, etc, to interact, to play together on equal terms, thus allowing for friendly communication. Something that we have always needed.

DAY 7 – #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA #EMERGENCYART by aaron kohn

Global Uprising BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Status Antennae by Niels Bonde

Empowerment Sustainability BY Karen Land Hansen

Empowerment Sustainability BY Karen Land Hansen

What Provokes You the Most? BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Emocraty BY Victor Ash

My Lack of Reaction BY Nina Wengel

Unite BY Sibusiso Brian Mokhachane

Tourists' Safeppace in Johannesburg BY Amelie Huiid Bartholdy

Day 6 – #UltracontempAfrica #EmergencyArt by aaron kohn

BY Nina Wengel Emergency: communication

Garbage Patches BY Karen Land Hansen

My Image is More Important BY Amalie Huiid Barthold

Soweto Violent Protest BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Welcome WWW3 BY Tobias Lehrskov-Schmidt

Respect Maintenance Art BY Niels Bonde

Refugees Welcome BY Victor Ash

Missing Hero BY Alishia Strydom

Day 5 – #UltracontempAfrica #EmergencyArt by aaron kohn

From the Blue Sky of Our Heaven BY Lorenzo Nassimbeni

Ala Re Cherche BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

My Yoga is not going to protect us from Weapons BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL

Baptism Death BY Alishia Strydom

Nature vs. Culture BY Victor Nash

Catholic Whistle Blower BY Nadia Plesner

Palms; Pulse; Suppressor BY Chris Soal

Day 4 – #UltracontempAfrica #EmergencyArt by aaron kohn

Too Late BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL Emergency: If we do not act now about the things that we are seeing, soon it will be too late.

Power Kills The Truth BY Tobias Lehrskov-Schmidt & Huiid Bartholdy Emergency: Journalists have to be scared for their lives if they dare speak about a subject that they are not allowed to. When seen from the side, this artwork shows three journalists names and the date they died for having exposed a subject the government did not want put out there in the public's hands.

No title BY Lorenzo Nassimbeni Emergency: Intolerance we feel towards each other as humans

No title BY Lorenzo Nassimbeni Emergency: Intolerance we feel towards each other as humans

Self Portrait BY Peter M. Mumbi Emergency: Racism

Gun Runner BY Alishia Strydom Emergency: The inequality that exists between sentencing someone who "had" a bright future, versus someone who isn't too well known. In this painting the artist refers to Oscar Pistorius.

Orlando Love BY Nadia Plesner Emergency: The shooting that happened at a gay nightclub translates itself into an act of intolerance which the world is facing at a global level right now.

Guns Control BY Victor Ash Emergency: Gun Control. Guns = false feeling of empowerment

Day 3 – #UltracontempAfrica #EmergencyArt by aaron kohn

Oh Gosh! The red ants are going to evict them! Please don't tell me what will happen - I feel so cool here! BY Thierry Geoffroy COLONEL Emergency: When we refuse to acknowledge what is happening around us because we don't want it to affect our life as we know it.

Legalize Drugs BY Tobias Lerhskov-Schmidt Emergency: If we were to legalize drugs the drug war would probably finish. It should be an option.

Taco - Take Away - Trump BY Nina Wengel

Refugees BY Victor Ash Emergency: We see the drama unfold before our eyes, and yet we do nothing to bring the gate down.

Olympic Water for Everyone BY Nadia Plesner Emergency: Only now that the Olympics are going to be held in an area of Brzail that does not have great water has it become a concern. What about the people who live there? Is it not their right too to have clean water?

Power + Love BY Brenda Ramadiehe

Day 2 – #UltracontempAfrica #EmergencyArt by aaron kohn

Artist: Ulungile Magubane. Title: Don't cry for me. Medium: Video installation and performance. Emergency: Rape.

Artist: Ulungile Magubane. Title: Don't cry for me. Medium: Video installation and performance. Emergency: Rape.

Artist: Nadia Plesner. Title: Refugee Crisis in Europe. Medium: Oil on Canvas. Emergency: Refugee crisis. 

Artist: Nadia Plesner. Title: Refugee Crisis in Europe. Medium: Oil on Canvas. Emergency: Refugee crisis

Artist: Nina Wengel. Title: Pull up the Curtain of Light. Medium: Painting. Emergency: Light pollution.

Artist: Nina Wengel. Title: Pull up the Curtain of Light. Medium: Painting. Emergency: Light pollution.

Artist: Thierry COLONEL Geoffroy. Title: Oh gosh! Those Elections are not going to Remove the Corruption. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergency: Corruption. 

Artist: Thierry COLONEL Geoffroy. Title: Oh gosh! Those Elections are not going to Remove the Corruption. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergency: Corruption

Day 1 - #UltracontempAfrica #EmergencyArt by aaron kohn

Artist: Tlou Ramatlhodi. Title: Adam. Medium: Digital Painting. Emergency: Making Khoisan languages official. 

Artist: Tlou Ramatlhodi. Title: Adam. Medium: Digital Painting. Emergency: Making Khoisan languages official. 

Artist: Brendon Erasmus. Title: Arrest Fascist Pigs. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergency: Land re-appropriation. 

Artist: Brendon Erasmus. Title: Arrest Fascist Pigs. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergency: Land re-appropriation

Artist: Nadia Plesner. Title: Insul(t)in. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergency: Access to diabetes medications.

Artist: Nadia Plesner. Title: Insul(t)in. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergency: Access to diabetes medications.

Artist: Tobias Lenrskov-Schnidt. Title: Diapers for the government. Medium: Diapers and Paint. Emergency: Refugee crisis.

Artist: Tobias Lenrskov-Schnidt. Title: Diapers for the government. Medium: Diapers and Paint. Emergency: Refugee crisis.

Artist: Koning Frik. Title: My potatoe Eaters. Medium: Oil on Canvas. Emergency: Kidnappings and murders. 

Artist: Koning Frik. Title: My potatoe Eaters. Medium: Oil on Canvas. Emergency: Kidnappings and murders

Artist: Nina Wengel. Title: War Plane Converter. Medium: Painting. Emergency: Danish government spending on weaponry. 

Artist: Nina Wengel. Title: War Plane Converter. Medium: Painting. Emergency: Danish government spending on weaponry

Artist: Lorenzo Nassimbeni. Title: Urban Decay JHB – Gold Street. Medium: Photograph and vinyl tape on paper. Emergency: Urban decay. 

Artist: Lorenzo Nassimbeni. Title: Urban Decay JHB – Gold Street. Medium: Photograph and vinyl tape on paper. Emergency: Urban decay

Artist: Thierry COLONEL Geoffroy. Title: The Fight is more important than the picture. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergencies: Gentrification, Saudi Arabia and the UN, Soccer Obsessions, Artists' roles/functions, How to remember Ali.

Artist: Thierry COLONEL Geoffroy. Title: The Fight is more important than the picture. Medium: Mixed Media. Emergencies: Gentrification, Saudi Arabia and the UN, Soccer Obsessions, Artists' roles/functions, How to remember Ali.

Your guide to: #ULTRACONTEMPORARY#EMERGENCYART#AFRICA by aaron kohn

1. ULTRACONTEMPORARY

If contemporary art encompasses a time period of the last 20+ years, then how current or relevant is it? According to Directors of the Copenhagen Ultracontemporary Biennale, and Curators of #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA at MOAD, Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL + Tijana Miskovic, contemporary art lacks impact.

Ultracontemporary instead, predicates itself on immediacy; work that deals with now. Artwork which is made in the last 24 hours is ultracontemporary.

2. EMERGENCY ART

Some art is aesthetic, philosophical, experimental, while other is historical. Emergency Art however, is prescient. It tackles problems, untold stories, and may be political or controversial. The creator becomes a journalist, detective, or advocate. Thierry and Tijana believe that artists should exercise their awareness muscles.

3. EXHIBIT

Starting on Friday June 10, and every day through 24 June, a group of artists who have applied to participate from around the world, will create emergency art to exhibit at MOAD. The art can be no older than 24 hours.

Every day:

    1:40pm - 2:00pm The installation of the art.

    2:00pm - 3:30pm Presentations by the artists and debates with the public.

Inside MOAD, a Delay Museum (home to contemporary art) will display the results of the exhibit until 31 July

4. AFRICA DAY + YOUTH MONTH

June 16 falls within the exhibition. This year, the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Youth Uprising, which marked a moment in the struggle against the Apartheid and captured the world’s attention, will be remembered throughout South Africa and the world. In #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA Sowetan, South African, Born Free, and foreign–artists from different backgrounds–will have a chance to contribute to working on the status quo of South Africa, Johannesburg, and the world.

5. SHARING

Watch for #ULTRACONTEMPAFRICA our abbreviated hashtag on social media. You can of course join the debate there, and share your impressions, questions, and thoughts.

Pods at MOAD by aaron kohn

MOAD has a new layout, with more resources for designers. Four small new workspaces are ideal for makers just getting started with their careers, and larger studios are available for growing creatives.

Interested in finding out more about the opportunities for space, click here for a PDF, or contact us below.

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Geography of Design by aaron kohn

(Included in the catalog for D'ZAIR: ART AND DESIGN A JOHANNESBURG)

Sometimes coincidences seem planned. Like the fact that at dinner one night in Dakar, Senegal, I was introduced to a young Algerian video artist – Amina Zoubir. The cohort of Algerians who were participating in the 2014 Dak’Art Biennale were pretty amusing; a few mentioned that this was their first visit to “Africa”; other artists featured in the Algerian Pavilion really did not practice in Algeria anymore.

Of course, the Algerian situation is no different from the rest of the continent. Perhaps the ties to Paris, the Mediterranean world, and the Middle East are more pronounced in Algeria, but the idea of being multi-continental practitioners of the arts is ever more normal across the creative fields.

At the Museum of African Design, we constantly attempt to convince African designers living in New York and exhibiting in Paris to come for a project in South Africa. Even more difficult is to convince someone in another part of Africa who is actively trying to break into Europe or America, to see Johannesburg as an attractive space for exhibiting, working, or selling. When you introduce franco/alngo/lusophone barriers the connections seem more reluctant and difficult to forge.

When Amina Zoubir mentioned at dinner, that her father is a design curator in Algiers, I didn’t exactly believe her. How could there be design curators in Africa who we haven’t collaborated with? Without meeting in person and in really poorly written French emails to Hellal Zoubir, the vision for a “North” African exhibition in “Sub-Saharan” Africa was developed.

The uncanny collaboration between Algiers and Johannesburg shows (at least, I think), just how easy it can be to make amazing things happen when the right people are involved. We are truly indebted to Hellal for his willingness to propose a monumental exhibit in a museum he had never visited. I hope this is a sign of more “North” / “South” projects within the continent to develop.

 

-       Aaron Kohn

Executive Director, Museum of African Design