Following a hugely successful event last year, they have raised the bar this year. Founded in 2012, Craft Afrika is a social enterprise that provides market development services for enterprises within the handmade and design sector. A market development initiative of Craft Afrika, Afrika Handmade is a platform that congregates stakeholders within the artisan and handmade design sector for the main purpose of networking, sharing of ideas and resources and community mobilization around a common purpose.
The perception regarding craft and design in Kenya has been tainted with the negative connotation of value, worth and quality of the “open-air” markets saturated with cheap mass-produced souvenirs for tourists.
The need to create visibility is informed by research that points to the scant knowledge of contemporary craft designers locally and regionally. The perception regarding craft and design in Kenya has been tainted with the negative connotation of value, worth and quality of the “open-air” markets saturated with cheap mass-produced souvenirs for tourists.
However, there is a new genre in town and it cannot be found at the Masaai Markets. A contemporary and modern genre that is by far trendier, more sophisticated and more detailed in every aspect of its shape, line and form. Afrika Handmade Symposium and Gallery is committed to generating visibility, awareness and information to the contemporary craft and design sector in Kenya with the desired outcome of new market opportunities in Kenya and Africa at large.
With the emergence of a new contemporary and craft design sector, Afrika Handmade Symposium and Gallery seeks to challenge the narrow definition associated with the market scenario by demonstrating the creative process, the resulting product and the real value behind it. This is the genre that Afrika Handmade Symposium and Gallery represents and that it aims to create an awareness of and appreciation for.
The 2 day Symposium is slated for October 1-2 at the Alliance Francaise, Nairobi. The forum will provide an opportunity for debate and discussion on the current state of the sector. The program will feature presentations, workshops, round table discussions as well as open spaces where individual designers and artisans get an opportunity to speak about their work, their challenges and successes and their collaborative needs. Speakers include Larissa Muthoni from Zamoyo and Mark Stephenson from Sandstorm.
Take a look at the draft Symposium Program here.
You can now register and be a part of the incredible talks and discussions. Register online here.
Deadline for registration is 25 September 2015.
Running concurrently with the Symposium, Afrika Handmade will feature a two-week Gallery showcase that will seek to further reinforce the existence of a contemporary, sophisticated genre of artisan and design. Throughout this two-week showcase, there will be Gallery tours and chats with the exhibiting designers, thereby allowing conversations on the displayed work and theme.
Partnering with over 15 designers and artisans from Kenya, the Gallery will feature two floors of home decor solutions for the urban, trendy home. Featured among the exhibitors are the East African members of Design Network Africa (DNA), a design-focused platform funded by the Danish Centre for Culture and Development (CKU) and coordinated by Source. They include Adele Dejak, Bud Design, Sky Decor all based in Nairobi, Mutapo Pottery (Harare) and Uganda Crafts (Kampala).
Opening on the evening of 30 September and running till 16 October 2015, the “Modern Rustic Living” themed showcase will seek to demonstrate how you can furnish your entire home with high quality furniture, soft furnishings, floor rags, lighting and objet d’art conceptualized and created in Kenya.
They have planned a series of activities during the two-week Gallery to allow as many stakeholders as possible to experience the showcase. If you would like a (free) guided tour, mark the dates 2nd, 9th and 14th, 1-2pm. Alternatively, if you would just like to browse by yourself, the gallery will be open 7 days a week, from 7:30 – 7:30 pm at Alliance Française.
Find out more about the Gallery and the Schedule free tours here.
THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
As part of this year’s Afrika Handmade Symposium and Gallery, they have introduced the Lifetime Achievement Awards, in recognition of individuals who have contributed significantly to the social, cultural and economic landscape of handmade and design in Kenya.
The award ceremony, slated for 17 October, from 6pm at the Alliance Francaise Nairobi, will be officiated by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and will mark the end of Afrika Handmade 2015. Beyond being a one-time opportunity to honor these individuals, we hope that the award will encourage a widespread culture of consistently applauding those giants on whose shoulders we have and continue to stand on.
It’s safe to say that October will be an exciting month for contemporary design in Kenya and we are surely not going to miss it. See you there!