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AFRICA Provides Creative Vision of Contemporary and Traditional Architecture

The Gando Primary School (2001) in Burkina Faso by Diébédo Francis Kéré. The clay-brick construction was deliberately designed to engage neighbors in the construction process. All images courtesy Louisiana Museum.
The Gando Primary School (2001) in Burkina Faso by Diébédo Francis Kéré. The clay-brick construction was deliberately designed to engage neighbors in the construction process. All images courtesy Louisiana Museum.

Africa's varied cultures have rich histories, but often, the continent's modern art and design doesn't become part of the wider dialogue. A new exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark seeks to remedy that by showcasing the dizzying array of contemporary art and architecture in sub-Saharan Africa, work from a unique environment where traditional techniques, colonial influences, and current imagination often fuse together in unexpected ways.

"We wanted to use this show to talk about the elements of African culture and create a picture of what's happening today," says curator Kjeld Kjleldsen. "Foreign and African architects who work here may have been educated in the West, but now there's a new generation coming up that's looking at and reinterpreting the special, local architectural traditions."

From Diébédo Francis Kéré, who built an installation in the museum inspired by his hometown in Burkina Faso, to ASA's creation of a series of education centers that have helped to rebuild Rwanda, there's a difference in perception of space, urbanity, and community that comes through, says Kjeldsen. Third in the museum's series of shows exploring regional design, including Nordic regions and the Arab world, the Louisiana's African exhibition begins with a series of questions about the continent. Based on the in-depth collection on display, it's a dialogue worth continuing.

AFRICA is on display through October 25 at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark


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