Cape Town --- with my fellow West African DNA brothers photo Richard Keppel Smith

We (team Adele) have been so privileged to be on the DNA program since its inception. Not only is it an amazing platform for our designs to be promoted and appreciated it gives us a voice. A voice in a beautiful continent where there is so much talent and creativity.

We are African designers, Design network Africa.

A continent so rich in culture, diversity and opportunities, that even Barack Obama on his recent trip to Nairobi acknlowedgled this potential with his beautiful statement: ‘Africa is on the move.’  This very much resonates with the brand’s own concept behind the hashtag #MyheartbeatsAfrica.

Read about what DNA does here.

Today, we’d like to share with you some of our memories and also let you know about some of the members. Some of the designers we’ve interacted with (in alphabetical order):


Hamed Ouattara (Burkina Faso)

Hamed Ouattara
Hamed Ouattara
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‘I’m always working to bring out a design that reflects the realities of Africa,’ says painter and furniture designer Hamed Outtara of his wildly original mixed media furniture pieces. ‘My goal is to provide a key point in a continent which suffers from imports and all kinds of imitation furniture, especially of poor quality and which does not reflect our culture. As inspiration from traditional furniture carved by our artisans is disappearing, my work makes a difference and is a modern African design luxury.’ Having trained in accountancy, Outtara’s switch to being an artist and designer proved to be a sound decision; he has exhibited widely – from Bilbao, Spain
to Miami, USA – and supplies his products to France, Spain, Switzerland, Burkina
Faso and Ghana.

 

Marjorie
Marjorie holding one of her pieces of work
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Having graduated with a degree in painting from Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town, Marjorie Wallace is a gifted ceramic artist who produces fine porcelain objects, which she scratches, presses and incises with linear designs and decoration. ‘I have loved baskets since I was quite young. I have memories of the people who made them, how they sat and where they collected the grass – what they were looking for when they collected it. We had baskets hanging on the wall in the house, and we used them,’ she says. ‘When I started decorating pottery I thought more and more about baskets, how they look and how they are woven. They too are vessels. I saw my task as being no different from the basket makers. They too, are women, leading a domestic life.’
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This stunning salad bowl was a gift I received recently from Marjorie and I shall treasure it.

One of Tekura's works
A sample of Tekura’s works
Known for its contemporary interpretations of legendary Ashanti and Fanti cultural artistry, each of Tekura’s beautiful and functional furniture designs in wood is created by master artisans under the direction of Josephine and KwekuForson. Tekura’s respect for heritage and quality of life extends to the environment, with pieces being produced exclusively from carefully selected wood found lying on the ground following reforestation. Tekura currently exports to the US, Canada, Holland, Brazil and the UK.
Tekura table with my Margaret Bracelet on top
Tekura table with my Margaret Bracelet on top

Note from Adele: Special tribute to Babacar

The moment I met Babacar, AKA Babs, I immediately bonded with him.  He was an incredible person with a huge heart and 100% committed to his work and and designs. Everytime there was a DNA workshop somewhere in Africa Babs made sure he brought gifts for me. He was such a humble man and just loved the music of Salif Keita.

 

Babacar aka Babs
The late Babacar

Whilst in Accra, Ghana, on an amazing DNA trip/workshop he introduced me to Salif Keita and the music just blew my mind. Babs came the next day with the entire collection of Salif Keita as a goodbye gift for me. I was so incredibly touched. This was family, his was a true friend. I knew no matter how different our work was and diverse our visual aesthetic was we would be friends for ever. Babs, the whole DNA family miss you so much and you have left a huge void. You were and are still incredibly loved. R.I.P. Babs.

 


 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Danish Institute for Culture and Development and the voice we have been given.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO SOURCE, ALL DNA FACILITATORS & TRACY & OFF COURSE MY INCREDIBLE TEAM

We are very much on the move …

Ciao for now,

Affectionately,

Adele

PS:
We’ll be sharing more of these on our post next week so stay tuned.

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