Culture - Native Nostalgia Museum of African Design

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In November 2013, a renovated 2,500-square-foot mining factory opened its doors as the Museum of African Design, the continents first such development, with an eye on showcasing Africa’s most cutting-edge design ideas.


MOAD resides in Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct, an area once known for crime that has seen itself undergo an urban rejuvenation.

“When Jonathan Liebmann was developing Maboneng, he realised that the most willing people to move back into the city were artists  much like Chelsea or Soho in New York, or Berlin’s revival,” says MOAD director Aaron Kohn. “Arts on Main, the first development, became home to William Kentridge’s studio, and a slew of artists followed. Since then, the neighbourhood has remained art-focused, and is in many ways South Africa’s first design-focused neighbourhood.”

Johannesburg is the African continents melting pot, and as such has created a unique opportunity for what MOAD can become.

“Diversity in Johannesburg is really exciting, because it truly has people from across the continent living in it,” Kohn says. “Yet, there is little cultural interaction with countries ‘north of the border’. So MOAD has a neat opportunity to be a Pan-African cultural space that can engage these different communities.”

Ultimately, Kohn wants roughly 20% of MOAD’s content to be South African, a limit placed by design “because there are lots of great spaces and institutions already dedicated to exhibiting and representing South African designers.”

MOAD’s opening act has been Native Nostalgia (until February 9),  which explores the idea of nostalgia and what it means for African artists to look at dark chapters in history, including apartheid and colonialism, in a hopeful and thought-provoking manner.

The exhibition features mixed media creations from African artists including Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou from Benin, Amina Menia from Algeria, The Nigeria Nostalgia Project, and South African collective I See a Different You. In the works is MOAD Beta, a space focused on designing solutions for problems in Africa, and featuring African inventions. There will also be a community/education component with workshops and space that students and visitors can use to learn to design and alter existing concepts.

In March, MOAD will open Fashioning Africa, which Kohn says “will explore the most exciting fashion designers from across the continent as well as some of the clothing stereotypes we associate with ‘African’.”


RADIANT: Celebrating MIA’s Legacy
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha
Until March 29

This contemporary photographic exhibition features 11 handmade ‘photogravure’ works by German artist Antje Hanebeck, offering interpretations of the space and architecture of the iconic MIA building designed by modern architectural master IM Pei. Utilising an antique photo-making process, Hanebeck creates an ultra-contemporary visual experience of atmosphere, light, and shadow.


Carnevale di Venezia Venice, Italy
February 22–March 4

Wander Venice’s waterways and alleyways concealed behind a Bauta, Moretta, Volto, or other classic masks during a 10-day pre-Lenten celebration.

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