Thanks, Su­per Rich Man, says SA artist

Daily News - - SOCIALS -

AT­LANTA, US: 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 con­ti­nent.

Mak­ing Africa: A con­ti­nent of con­tem­po­rary de­sign opens at At­lanta’s High Mu­seum of Art to­mor­row. 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.

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-storey cir­cu­lar block of flats in Jo­han­nes­burg, a once posh ad­dress.

The two pho­tographed ev­ery tele­vi­sion set, door and win­dow view in the build­ing be­tween 2008 and 2010 and put the 600 pho­tos to­gether in three tall light boxes 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 col­lec­tion of bit­ing comic-style im­ages mocks stereo­types. One by South African 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!”

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: “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 chair by Malian de­signer Che­ick Diallo was made from metal wire used in the fish­ing in­dus­try with ny­lon thread wrapped around it. Colour­ful stools and tables were made mostly from re­cy­cled plas­tic by Bibi Seck, an artist who was born in Paris. – AP

A de­tail of ‘Ponte City Se­ries’ cre­ated by Mikhael Subotzky of South Africa and Pa­trick Water­house of Bri­tain dur­ing a preview of the ‘Mak­ing Africa: A Con­ti­nent of Con­tem­po­rary De­sign’ ex­hi­bi­tion at the High Mu­seum of Art in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, US.

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