Ever since the time of Herodotus, the history of North Africa has also been the history of its imaginary. Beyond its geographical, religious or political borders, this region has been created and recreated in forms, images, words and sounds that are as different from one another as those of Ingres, Le Corbusier, Dizzie Gillespie and Yves Saint-Laurent, but also as different as those of Ibn Battuta, Umm Kulthum or Abdellatif Kechiche. The profound changes that have recently taken place in the streets and political regimes of the region’s three new democratic States have opened up a whole new field for creativity, but also for the development of specific projects, for the artists and designers of the Maghreb. At a time when a whole region is reinventing itself, in what way can art, but above all design, contribute towards our questioning of these imaginaries and our discovering new places for the imagination of its creators and citizens?
This is my introduction to the second Next Future Africa and Latin America Observatory, a one-day seminar dedicated to “The place of design and fashion in North Africa.” that I have the honour and pleasure in coordinating.
Taking place on May 12th at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, this seminar will have six speakers who’ll come from Egypt, Germany, Lebanon, Mozambique, Brazil and Portugal to present their work and research on this region of the world, currently under a massive redesign.