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5 Chefs Bringing The Flavours of West African Cuisine to International Foodies

Africa has yet to make a permanent mark on international cuisine. Pop up experiences and cookbooks like The Groundnut Cookbook, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Hibiscus have introduced culinary enthusiasts to the diverse tastes of African flavours. Serving as worthy introductions to what the continent has to offer these pioneers have only just scratched the surface. The sheer diversity of Africa’s regions and cultures means there are more exciting taste experiences waiting to be brought forth.

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Tour of Black Rock Senegal Artist Residency By Kehinde Wiley

American artist Kehinde Wiley has opened the doors to Black Rock in Dakar Senegal, a multi-disciplinary artists residency program designed to bring together an international group of visual artists, writers, and filmmakers for a period of self-reflection, practice development and cultural exploration and cross-cultural collaboration. For Kehinde, who’s fame reached new heights with his portrait of Barack Obama, Black Rock is more than just a residency it is also home to his personal studio as he seeks to divide his time between New York and West Africa. 

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9 Designers Crafting A Well Made In Africa Aesthetic

Atelier Fifty Five spotlights the work of 9 dynamic designers whose innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages is translated into modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And in doing so are upholding the banner of Well Made In Africa. Re-imagining techniques and materials these designers are paying homage to the skill of making things by hand thereby recognising how craft is at the heart of true luxury.

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FatyLy Ceramics Bringing to Life The Stories of Africa’s rich cultural and artistic heritage

Fatimata ‘Faty’ Ly is a Senegalese artist who uses ceramics as her canvas, the blank surfaces enabling her to bring to life the stories of Africa’s rich cultural and artistic heritage. A graduate of London’s prestigious Central St Martin’s Faty is based in Dakar, Senegal where she designs her eponymous collections for production in Limoges, France, an area famed for its production of hard-paste porcelain.

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IKEA’S Modern Rituals In Collaboration With African Designers

In a preview of its forthcoming collaboration with African designers IKEA introduces ÖVERALLT a limited edition collection of tableware, textiles, and seating inspired by the modern rituals across all cultures that punctuate everyday life, what we do and use to make us feel at home. The collection was developed by ten designers from seven African countries partnered with IKEA’s team of designers.

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IFA Pure Gold Upcycled! Upgraded! Exhibition Exploring Sustainable Design

Greetings from the city of Hamburg in Germany where I am attending the press conference and opening of Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! a forward-thinking exhibition that explores rubbish, more specifically how found and waste materials are being used the world over to create objects of value, hence the title, Pure Gold. As one of the curators, I had the honour of selecting designers-makers to represent sub-Saharan Africa. [Image credit: H++, Chair and table set, 2011; Water hyacinth, metal, yarn, wood chair – Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman]

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Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

  Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with […]

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Africa By Design Inaugural Exhibition Launches In Ghana

  Exhibitions focusing on design from Africa continue to abound, with more countries outside the continent holding dedicated showcases. Whilst this is great to see, it is also important that the African continent also hold its own showcases to highlight the growing value of design to local audiences. One such initiative is Africa by Design in Ghana, which launched its inaugural self-titled exhibition presenting the work of 22 emerging and established African designers representing 6 countries from sub-Saharan Africa – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal.   [Main Image credit: Master Kente and Ewe Weaver, Bob Gandy – […]

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Fashion: Empowering Young Girls Through Educated Fashion

Le Dessein [Image credit: Le Dessein Rayee Dress – FrenchMorning.com] ​ I love hearing about brands that seek innovative ways to make a difference in the world and was immediately captivated by the story behind Le Dessein, no ordinary fashion brand. Based in the US, Le Dessein uses fashion to educate and empower young girls in developing countries and has a goal of educating 10,000 girls in ten years. And, what is different about the business model is that rather than simply creating a collection and selling the clothes, they have chosen to make the girls they support an active part […]

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Farewell to Babacar Niang

Babacar Niang [Senegal] [Image credit: Furniture Collection by Babacar Niang – Southern Guild] A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an exhibition opening on the 24th March in New York that would feature the work of Senegalese furniture designer Babacar Niang, amongst others. It is therefore with great sadness and shock that I just learnt of Babacar’s passing on the 25th March 2015. Babacar, working through his studio Nulangee, possessed a unique design vision that brought forth sublime designs infused with his trademark lifelike qualities. A great talent, Babacar’s passing leaves a void in Africa’s burgeoning design industry, one that will […]

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Design: Sustainable Design Legacy

Baay Xaaly Sene [Senegal] [Image credit: Moscow apartment of Russian designer, Dmitry Velikovsky showing Baay Xaaly Sene Armchair – Architectural Digest] Cutting, hammering and soldering discarded metals such as train tracks, barrels, and wheels, and turning them into elegant, stylish, collectable objects was the trademark of Senegalese artist and furniture designer Baay Xaaly Sene. The designer, who died in October 2004, left behind a body of work that is sought after by discerning collectors for its pops of bright colours and contemporary classic forms that combine art and functionality.

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Beauty: Chouette Mama Natural Skincare

Chouette Mama [Senegal] [Image credit: Chouette Mama] The soothing, nourishing, regenerating and healing properties of West Africa’s indigenous plant life forms the basis of a range of 100% natural skincare products formulated by Senegalese based business, Chouette Mama. The business was founded in 2007 by Phil and Geraldine Pernin, a French couple with an interest in botany, that led them to relocate to Popenguine, a small village on the Senegalese coast with the idea of setting up a laboratory creating natural skincare based around plants that have been used locally for generations.  

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Design: Artlantique Gives Discarded Fishing Boats a New Lease of Life

Artlantique [Senegal] [Image credit: Commode Thies – Artlantique] Weathered by the elements, wood salvaged from old or discarded fishing boats is given a new lease of life as contemporary furniture collections, whilst retaining the hallmarks of its former life. Along the coasts of West Africa, fishermen have long been a common sight, making daily trips into the ocean in brightly coloured narrow boats crafted by highly skilled craftsmen; and it is this connection between fishing and carpentry that inspired Artlantique to produce its distinctive and colourful furniture, which design in Spain by Ramón Llonch and handcrafted in Senegal by a team of master craftsmen.

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Interiors: A Holiday Home Interior Inspired by African Print

A Senegalese Holiday Home [Senegal] [Image credits: Senegalese Holiday home – Elle Decoration France/M P Morel] An explosion of clashing colour and pattern characterises an idyllic holiday home in Senegal that I came across on the blog, Africa Moto. Located in the popular resort town of Saly, simple outdoor living is the order of the day conveyed in a mix of local, regional and Parisian influences. A striking feature of the house is how it is decorated with African print Indoors, English sofas and armchairs are covered with vibrant African prints and solid bold colour, set off against a backdrop of […]

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Art: Loman Art Upcycled Creations

Loman Art [Senegal] [Image credits: Loman Art – Sandy Haessner] Creating poetry, songs, and works of art, designer Loman Pawlitschek is the embodiment of the term ‘creative spirit’. Creating mobiles and other decorative art features like mirrors, Loman is committed to upcycling, taking unwanted and discarded scrap metals and materials, turning them into functional objects of value. Originally from Australia, Loman and her family moved to South Africa for a few years where she worked as an interior decorator, before moving to Dakar, Senegal where she has lived for four years; and where her business Loman Art is based. Dakar has been […]

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Textiles: Aissa Dione Luxury Woven Textiles

Aissa Dione Tissus [Senegal] [Image source:  Aissa Dione Tissus Fabrics via Textiel Museum The Netherlands] Businesses, schools, private residences, galleries, shops, hotels, workshops and studios opening up their spaces to hold exhibitions as part of the Dak’art OFF programme, brought the opportunity to meet with the artists and designers behind the works if you got your timing right. Opening the doors of her home was award-winning textile artist Aissa Dione Tissus, who was displaying the works of several artists in her elegant surroundings. Aissa was very welcoming and I was honoured to meet her; it was one of the many occasions […]

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