Exploring geography and Afro-Futurist design.

What would happen if Europe didn’t colonize Africa? How would maps reflect that alternative history? How can I apply this to an exhibition identity?

The Brief

Brand the exhibition with an identity influenced by the work of an exhibitor.

This assignment required me to pick an artist who exhibited at the Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design in October 2017 at the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. I then had to design the exhibition identity around that artist’s work, while putting my own take on it. I chose the work of Nicolaj Cyon whose Alkebu-lan 1260 AH explored the nature of geopolitical borders imposed by European colonizers on the indigenous people of Africa.

Further Reading
Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design

The Design

An essential component of Cyon’s work involved the notion that colonizing nations typically draw maps in the language of the colonizer, with the colonizer’s primary territory oriented toward the top of the map.

In this exhibition, the artist explored what might a map of Africa look like if it was left alone by colonial influences. This results in a map where placenames are predominantly Arabic in origin, with the European continent oriented beneath the African continent.

I chose to include these aspects in my design while incorporating yellow and green colors commonly found in African flags, as well as Arabic names of the bodies of water surrounding Africa.