Exhibition curation, Poster Design, Catalog Design, Illustration
Approximately 2 weeks
I was tasked with the challenge of creating promotional materials for the Making Africa exhibition, inspired by the 2016 Vitra Design Museum Exhibition: Making Africa. The focus was on one designer from the previous exhibition, I chose Tahir Carl Karmali. The challenge included creating promotional materials with Tahir Carl Karmali as the face of the exhibition. This included designing an exhibition poster, catalog cover, and digital maquette display showcasing Karmali’s work. This project asked me to think through different relationships – between text and image, between figure and ground, and between 2-D and 3-D space.
Overall, the goal was to highlight the museum as a site for design activism, to delve into the aesthetics of display design, and to promote the many facets of contemporary design in Africa.
What I Did
Exhibition Curation and Design
“Making challenges the complacency and limits of mass consumption. To make something is crucial, because it is an investment in the power of the imagination, but to make also challenges the concept of time in the context of industrial and post-industrial production, where making is super automated and undifferentiated. One of the things that destroy many African economies is the import of cheap goods. So we need to take up the political unity of making, the renegade practice of making as a form of investigating new tropes, new concepts and new industries within the African context.”
I used inspiration from the previous exhibition materials and Tahir’s pieces of work. I did my research on Tahir Carl Karmali and his style of work. My goal was to create a minimal design that still was able to be connected to this artist’s core elements featured within his work. My inspiration came from the technical elements commonly featured within his pieces.
To the right you can see some of Tahir Carl Karmali’s pieces of work. Or you can go to his website, http://tahirk.com/
Tahir Carl Karmali uses life experiences to create a perceived self-image in his Jua Kali exhibition. This exhibition is inspired by Nairobi’s economy and the Jua Kali workers, who are known to use found objects and recycled goods to create things. Karmali uses this “recycled” concept to describe a sense of self-image that derives from the Jua Kali philosophy and is excellent at creating beautiful pieces of work that incorporate a surreal element. Tahir has mastered the art of combining collage, portraiture and found materials within this specific exhibition. I appreciate the technical aspect that is involved within the pieces. It is because of his use of metals, tools and technical materials such as; wrenches, computer chips, wires and other technological materials, that the viewer is able to comprehend the message of the Jua Kali worker being depicted within the artwork. The reasoning behind this exhibition is to change the perception back to the reality that it is the Jua Kali sector that fuels the city of Nairobi.
For the exhibition redesign I chose to create a design based on a computer chip. I wanted to play with type, without taking away from the illustration. The end result was successful because I was able to effectively incorporate my own style of work in a way that was still able to be relatable to Tahir’s style of work.