ART OF CONNECTION, Encountering African design at Paris Design Week.
Sophie Ferrand-Hazard knows Africa well: after a childhood spent between four African countries until the age of 17, and an experience in the media, including the African Barter Company, she became director of the Franco-South African Chamber of Commerce before working as a consultant for the CCE, while passionately managing her gallery in South Africa, where she has lived for 23 years. In 2010, Sophie Ferrand-Hazard decided to dedicate herself to bringing Africa and Europe closer through a series of events and exhibitions in France, by launching Art of Connection (AOC), a nomad gallery that is the result of 36 years of experience in bringing the two continents together:
“I believe in the importance of connections and the power they have to build bridges between different cultures; that’s why the ‘Art of Connection’ idea is to link the local to the global, particularly in the fields of crafts, design and art between Europe and Africa.”
AOC seeks its artists and artisans from all over Southern Africa, a land immensely rich in rare materials and ancestral traditions. The gallery has developed around three pillars: the enhancement of local knowledge, collaboration through dialogue between techniques and the establishment of sustainable support for artists, and, finally, the desire to promote international artists who embody African modernity while reviving ancestral techniques and using natural and sustainable materials.
The exhibition will feature furniture, accessories, decorative objects, tablecloths made from Karoo wool, KwaZulu-Natal palms and cotton grown on the Eastern Cape, and jewelry in indigenous colors, made using traditional techniques, such as the work of Angeline Masuku, who uses lala palm and wild plants to create and give color to her pieces. You can also experience Monkeybiz creations, designed and made by pearl craftsmen. Combining sumptuous materials, delicate techniques and bubbling creativity, the works on display at the Paris Design Week Factory offer a true visual and artistic experience. Some of the creations have also captured the attention of Western luxury brands.
This journey is truly a breath of fresh air and a magnificent example of the successful development of a gallery between two continents.
Art of Connection at the Paris Design Week Factory: from 3 to 12 September 2020