The continent unites in Johannesburg as MOAD’s new exhibition celebrates contemporary Algerian design

The Museum of African Design (MOAD) marks its reopening this week with D’Zair: Art and Craft A Johannesburg. The show presents specially commissioned works by 13 contemporary Algerian designers who are all also making their South African debut.

D’Zair (slang for Algeria) features furniture, art, design objects and textiles by both young and established names including Yamo, Mohamed Ourrad, Jamel Matari, Leila Mammeri, Samir Hamiane, Hamida Benmansour, Mourad Krinah, Idir Messaoud, Amine Belkebir, Neila Rahil, Said Issadi, Mohamed Walid Bouchouchi and Radia Zitouni. 

“Visitors are invited to appreciate the ideas engrossing Algerian designers – namely, their unique relationship to local artisans,” says respected Algerian painter, designer and academic Hellal Zoubir, who curated the show. “Algeria does not have the infrastructure that would allow designers to manufacture prototypes, which has had the advantage of merging traditional artisans’ dexterity with designers' plans – leading to unique outcomes. The multicultural exchange in the exhibit also exemplifies design’s role in intersecting worlds of art and craft; worlds of Europe, Africa and the Middle East and worlds of North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.”


"The multicultural exchange in the exhibit
exemplifies design’s role in intersecting worlds
of art and craft; worlds of Europe, Africa and
the Middle East and worlds of North Africa
and Sub-Saharan Africa"


When MOAD first launched in 2013 it was a landmark development in the Maboneng district of Johannesburg’s CBD. The multi-disciplinary exhibition and performance space closed for renovations last September to introduce new studios and workshops and its artistic director Aaron Kohn is making a characteristically bold artistic statement with this show, which crosses borders and forges new allegiances. “At MOAD we constantly attempt to convince African designers living in New York and exhibiting in Paris to come for a project in South Africa. And when you introduce Franco / Anglo / Lusophone barriers the connections seem more reluctant and difficult to forge,” he says. “So I hope this collaboration between Algiers and Johannesburg shows just how easy it can be to make amazing things happen when the right people are involved and that the show encourages more North / South projects within the continent to develop.” 

D’Zair: Art and Craft A Johannesburg is at MOAD until 4 April
 


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