The High’s “Making Africa” celebrates an often misunderstood continent’s spirit of innovation

OCTOBER 23, 2017

Last weekend, the High Museum opened its largest ever exhibition of African art, featuring more than 200 pieces by more than 120 artists from 25 African countries. Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design will be on view through January 7, making the High the first stop in the United States for the exhibition, which premiered at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany in March 2015 and has toured internationally since.

The aim of the show is to offer a different perspective on the African continent. In the West, the perception of Africa is often of a place overshadowed by war, rape, poverty and social inequality. For many years, the commercials from the Christian Children’s Fund depicting starving children with flies swarming around their heads created the dominant image of Africa in the United States. It’s true that, as with every place on the planet, there are sociopolitical struggles in Africa, but as the exhibition reveals, the continent has never been devoid of innovation.

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