Thanks, Super Rich Man, says SA artist
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.