Must Visit: Contemporary African Design Exhibit in Plett

Locals can view a exhibit that displays the current scene of contemporary African design at the Discoveries of Africa Exhibition in Plettenberg Bay

Supplied, Design Afrika
Discoveries from Africa Design Afrika
Pot basket and gourd  Baba Tree Basket Company


Founder of Design Afrika, Binky Newman, and Suzie Ovenstone, founder of  The White House Venue and Theatre in Plettenberg Bay have collaborated together to bring a unique showcasing of contemporary African design, with works from Ghana, Rwanda, DRC, Tanzania, Mali, Ethiopia, Malawi, Burkina Faso and South Africa. 

Newman is a household name in the designer African basket-ware sector and will be bringing work from across the continent to one place in an effort to create a curated exhibition of African produced work. 

Named Discoveries from Africa, the exhibit will display basket-ware, jewellery, handbags, photography, ceramics, furniture, fabrics and accessories made from African artists and designers.

Visitors will be able to shop all items at the exhibit in Plettenberg Bay. Newman explains that not only will the exhibit allow visitors to show certain items, but will include videos of projects and a collection of reference books. 

'There will be an educational element as we would like to inform visitors about the various cultures and their craft and design techniques,' said Newman.


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Discoveries of Africa Design Afrika
Gourd by Design Afrika

Artists and pieces exhibited 

A number of South African creatives and artists will be exhibiting their work at Discoveries from Africa.

Obie Oberholzer 

As a renowned South African photographer based in Nature's Valley will be showcasing a selection of photographic prints. Since 1975, Oberholzer has created 10 coffee table books, held 35 solo exhibits in South Africa and 12 international solo exhibitions in Europe.

Documenting his travels through the African continent, Oberholzer has an eye for capturing moments that are not always seen by the naked eye. He has also captured photographs in international destinations such as Vietnam, Cuba, Australia and more.

Richard Henley 

Creating furniture from indigenous woods with traditional joinery techniques and contemporary design, Henley has established himself as a talented designer.

With a 40 year career, Henley has created a company titled 'full circle furniture' and completed his studies at City and Guilds of London advanced course in fine craftsmanship and design at Rycote College in England. 

Discoveries in Africa
Vessel by Richard Henley
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Myfanwy Bekker 

As a multi-talented artist, Myfanwy Bekker creates works of art through various mediums including, painting, sculpture, ceramic work, fabrics and drawing.

Making a name for herself on the global art platform, Bekker's work is collected by corporate and private collectors in the United States, Europe and South Africa. Bekker is currently based in Plettenberg Bay.

Bekker has played an integral role in the Site-Specific Land Art series, bringing local artists together along with establishing life drawing classes. 

Discoveries in Africa exhibit
Work by Myfanwy Bekker
Ruby Ovenstone 

As the founder and resident of Kutumba eco-village and forest reserve in the Crags along with being the founder of Anima Mundi Living Design, Ovenstone is also a talented artist. 

Ovenstone is well-known for her work in terracotta pots, glass blowing and painting in oils. At the Discoveries From Africa Exhibition, Ovenstone's work will include the creation of 'quirky objects of delight' titled with unique names such as The Alchemical Marriage of the Crocodile Princess.

Funds generated by the exhibition will be donated to the Tikki Hywood Foundation, a non-profit rescue rehabilitation and release organisation. 

Joyous jewellery  

With a range of jewellery on showcase, from the collaborated works of art created by Rwandan master weaver Pelagie Nyirahabineza further embellished by a South African artist to a collection of Tanzanian Maasai jewellery which is made from white beads by Sidai Designs in Arusha, Tanzania. 

Kate Carlyle

Founder of Mustardseed & Moonshine, Carlyle has created a brand of botanical-inspired ceramics and will be launching a collection of brightly coloured bead necklaces inspired by sea anemones.


As a Rwandan jewellery brand - it is rooted in utilising natural materials to create pieces of jewellery and will be shwocasing handwomen vegetable fibre pieces mixed with silver. 

As a Rwandan jewellery brand - it is rooted in utilising natural materials to create pieces of jewellery and will be showcasing handwoven vegetable fibre pieces mixed with silver. 

Woven baskets 

Newman has collaborated with the National Museum of Rwanda in the university town of Butare/Huye where master weavers share the tricks of their trade and pass on tips to those wanting to follow in their footsteps. Together, the two creative houses have created a large collection of baskets in a project that is managed by museum guide Virgile Shirirungu. As a social enterprise in Tanzania, WomenCraft has crafts distinctive fair trade home decor pieces and will be exhibiting their work at the contemporary art display. 

'We will unveil the fruits of this collaboration at the exhibition,' shares Newman. 

'Baba Tree of Ghana, with their very brightly coloured baskets and unusual organic shapes, will feature prominently too,' she adds. 

Akosua Afriyie-Kum

As a Ghanaian designer and entrepreneur, Akosua Afriyie-Kum completed a degree in fashion design in London. Afriyie-Kum will be supply handcrafted and ethically produced women handbags at the Discoveries of Africa exhibit. With a brand rooted in supporting local talent and fostering traditional methods, Afriyie-Kum employs the local raffia weavers and using age-old African techniques to produce colourful and vibrant creations under the brand dubbed, AAKS

Le Ndomo

Located in Ségou Mali, Le Ndomo is a studio aimed at the conservation of the art of natural dyeing techniques. The exhibit in Plett will be home to various African fabrics including contemporary mud cloth.  

The exhibit will also showcase chairs from Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kyle Weeks 

Other work on display includes the mesmerising African images by Namibian-born, Amsterdam-based photographer, Kyle Weeks who is also known as the winner in the Fine Art category of the 2016 Magnum Photography awards. 

'His sleek, burnished images deal with the portrayal of masculinity and the African body in our globalised world – with a style that crosses documentary, art and fashion genres,' said Vogue Italia photo editor Chiara Bardelli Nonino, who nominated Kyle for the British Journal of Photography  2019 Ones to Watch.

A number of other artists will be showcasing their work at the unique exhibit in Plettenberg Bay.

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Embroidery by the Keiskamma Trust

Exhibition details

Date: 12 December 2019 -  30 April 2020
Time: Open daily from 10am-7pm
Address: The White House Theatre, 6 Cresent Street, Plettenberg Bay 
Entrance Fee: Free of charge 
Contact: Kerry (exhibition manager) 071 290 2109