Making Africa

A Continent of Contemporary Design

Cyrus Kabiru, African Stitches (C-Stunners Serie), 2010

In this large scale exhibition, the Vitra Design Museum presented contemporary design made in Africa and illustrated how design accompanies and even advances economic and political change in African countries. The exhibition comprised a diverse range of media and objects – products, furniture, architectural models, textiles, magazines, music videos and smart phone apps. It addressed the question as to what extent design influences social interactions, the use of new technology, urban spaces and branches of industry. The project’s curators wanted to explicitly focus on the overlap of related disciplines, such as handicrafts, fine arts and architecture. The featured contemporary works have been supplemented by historical documents which make reference to early post-colonial Africa. This demonstrated how artists of the younger generation consciously tap into the positive sentiment, the new beginnings and self-confidence which Africa experienced in those early post-colonial years. New media also played a special role. The goal was to encourage the African design scene to participate in the curatorial process leading up to the exhibition via social platforms like Twitter and Facebook and foster long-term international contacts.

Artistic director: Amelie Klein
Curatorial consultant: Okwui Enwezor (NG)
Advisory board: David Adjaye (GB), Manuel Herz (CH) and others
Artists: XP&Expand Design (NG/GB), Pierre-Christophe Gam (CM/GB), Porky Hefer (ZA), Cyrus Kabiru (KE), Gonçalo Mabunda (MZ), Mário Macilau (MZ), Saki Mafundikwa (ZW), NLÉ (NG/NL), Yinka Shonibare (GB), Vigilism (NG/US)


After its premiere at the Vitra Design Museum in March 2015, the exhibition “Making Africa” will be shown in museums throughout the world. Several renowned institutions in Europe and at least one major African city have shown interest in staging the exhibition themselves. The tour will offer international audiences the opportunity to see “Making Africa” for several years to come.

Africa – International programme focus

As part of its new programme focus on Africa, the Federal Cultural Foundation is currently working to promote the exchange between artists and institutions in Germany and African countries.

More about the programme focus Africa


Visit the exhibition website featuring photos, videos, artist portraits, interviews and much more: (external link, opens in a new window)


Vitra Design Museum

Charles-Eames-Str. 2

79576 Weil am Rhein (external link, opens in a new window)