to improve knowledge of Africa in the Netherlands (and elsewhere) and to promote African art, culture and architecture as a source of inspiration for the challenges that even countries like the Netherlands – a society comprising many nationalities – are faced with. Both organizations want to present Africa as a continent that is developing in its own rhythm and manner and as such can be a source for solutions in the Western context.
What better way to emphasize this, than by asking African artists and architects for ideas on how to represent African art, culture and architecture in the Netherlands?
This idea resulted in the plan to launch a project, focusing on the progress that is characteristic of Africa and that requires recognition as a source of inspiration for solutions in the Western world.
For the Afrika Museum, the organization of a competition is a novelty, especially as the foundation of an exhibition. African Architecture Matters – established by the founders of ArchiAfrika – has been planning on organizing a competition for some time now, and in this cooperation has found the opportunity to set the ball rolling. Competitions are not unheard of in the world of architecture and art. To the best of our knowledge, never before has a competition been organized exclusively for entrants from Africa or with African roots.
The Afrika Museum considers it a challenge to convert this project into an innovative, trendsetting exhibition. After all, the museum has been a forerunner in displaying African art, culture and architecture for decades now and has all the expertise that is required to organize spectacular exhibitions.
African Architecture Matters has an excellent network of architects, planners and educational institutes as well as good contacts with the cultural circuit on the African continent and within the Diaspora. We will tap into this network to attract entries, but it will also be a key source of jury members and general publicity.
For both African Architecture Matters and the Afrika Museum, the competition is, by its very nature, a way of reinforcing the link with the source communities. This project provides a brilliant opportunity to show that African designers have made their mark in the world. The meaning of Africa’s power and significance will undoubtedly feature strongly in the competition entries.
The Afrika Museum and African Architecture Matters will contact local councils, housing associations and property developers, so as to allow the competition entries to be a source of inspiration for urban and rural planning in the Netherlands.