After a first edition at Artcurial in 2019, Exceptions d’Afrique is coming back in 2022 with three highlights: the first one is at EMPREINTES’, the fine craft concept store, from 19 May to 18 June 2022, and the other two take place at the heart of the Grand Palais Éphémère, on the Art & Exception stand and on the Agora, near the entrance.
“It is the contemporary history of African creativity in the fine craft sector; a connection between a common legacy, innovation and a new generation’s perspective.
The men and women who have shaped these objects are exceptions in Africa. Their unique stories – having received little encouragement and little recognition – prove that the African continent is full of talented people who, once freed from the adversity of their own environment, can use creation to transform the rawest of materials, the noblest, the most common as well as the most ordinary ones,” says Nelly Wandji, Art & Exception Programmes and Partnerships Manager
This exhibition was designed like an overview of the African continent and its exceptional talents. It presents powerful new African aesthetics, the avant-garde of a pioneering generation. It is at the heart of the Grand Palais Éphémère that the Art & Exception stand was imagined and staged by Fatiya Diene Mazza of Senegalese firm ID+EA. Her staging puts various aspects of exceptional fine crafts from the African continent into perspective, combining timeless materials, curiosity objects and singular pieces.
The diversity of the pieces presented here highlights the plurality of craftsmanship and the singularity of the houses that transform materials while preserving ancient techniques, giving the pieces a unique signature. This area is also a tribute to fine craft workers whose commitment, determination and creativity provide a new look on Africa, a contemporary interpretation of timeless materials.
Exceptions d’Afrique, stand E13
Visitors will discover, among others, the approach of Ousmane Mbaye (Senegal), a designer who heats metal, while in the cabinet-making workshops of Meyer Von Wielligh (South Africa) and Jean Servais Somian (Côte d’Ivoire), wood is being transformed to make it look stony, as rough stones are on the southern coasts of Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope.
By creating functional objects, designer Noé Duchaufour Lawrence, in collaboration with craft workers from the Maison Intègre workshops in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), dives into the African tradition to revisit the ingenuity of African design with symbolic objects such as
the palaver chair, the Lobi ladder or the passport masks whose shapes codify men’s identity within society.
In this area, which can be transposed into a contemporary living room, the work of Malagasy workers, directed by Andrée Ethève, cover the floor with a solar cameo which highlights the spark of Zizipho Poswa’s (South Africa) ceramic and of the functional and decorative objects made by Hicham Essaidi, one of the last four damascening artists in Morocco.
The colour palette – alternating between the black of the wood, the golden of the bronzes and the solar yellow of the textiles and natural fibres – symbolises Africa with the richness of its subsoil (golden), the boldness of contemporary talents (black) and the dominant sparkle of this new perspective (yellow): a warm harmony which frees itself from stereotypes.
Exceptions d’Afrique, at the heart of the fair’s Agora
The Agora is where visitors are welcomed and the first glimpse of the creativity of the workshops from the continent of honour. As an introduction to the Art & Exception pieces, the Agora is an invitation to continue your journey within the various areas of the fair, dedicated to African craftsmanship, the beating heart of tomorrow’s fine crafts and materials.
Exceptions d’Afrique, at the EMPREINTES concept store
The EXCEPTIONS D’AFRIQUE exhibition-sale unveils another part of its creations at EMPREINTES’, at the heart of the Haut-Marais neighbourhood, from 19 May to 18 June 2022. Unique pieces made in Africa are to be discovered are purchased at the fine craft concept store.