A large number of African fashion designers have been redefining African fashion in recent years. Innovative design hubs are emerging all over the continent. The artists are not only concerned with aesthetic aspects, but rather with a cultural and political commitment with a decidedly decolonial self-image. As part of the "Connecting Afro Futures" research and exhibition project, the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum) has invited actors from Uganda, Benin and Senegal to create new works on the themes of design, fashion and hair. The results of this dynamic, intercontinental exchange are presented in the exhibition "Connecting Afro Futures. Fashion - Hair - Design" in Berlin.
African hairstyles as part of creative emancipation
Like fashion, the hair and thus the "African body" was a central arena for the exercise of colonial power. Hair was disciplined, regulated and subjected to Western ideals of beauty. Today, traditional African hairstyles, some of which were forgotten by colonialism, are spread and made accessible again. At the same time, they are confidently used in forms of playing with the hair as a mode of creative expression of identity formation, with hair as an artistic material increasingly coming into focus.
Artists at Connecting Afro Futures
The exhibition features works by Lamula Anderson (fashion designer, London/UK; Kampala/Uganda), Meschac Gaba (artist, Cotonou/Benin), Adama Paris (fashion designer, Dakar/Senegal) and Gloria Wavamunno (fashion designer, Kampala/Uganda).