Hyperreal portraiture and classy ceramics meet in Design Indaba 2019's Emerging Creatives programme

22 February 2019

Next week sees the design world decamping to Cape Town for a full calendar of creatively-minded talks, exhibitions, screenings, workshops, and soirees. Yep, it’s Indaba time all over again.

Established in 1995, the annual South African celebration of all things creative is a chance to sit back in a plush chair and let the wise words of some of the design industry’s greatest minds wax lyrical about everything from how you approach the costumes for apocalyptic TV shows to founding the world’s only drone delivery service gets life-saving medical supplies and blood to the most remote places on Earth.

As ever, the 2019 installment of Design Indaba groups together some seriously big international names for some seriously interesting events, with the likes of ad-land big man David Droga (founder of Droga5), Hannah Barry (the London-based proprietor of the eponymous and influential Peckham gallery) and Lemn Sissay (the poet, playwright, and broadcaster) joined by equally intriguing local talents like architect Tshepo Mokholo, and award-winning South African film director Kagiso Lediga.

What’s really got us going here at It’s Nice That is the prospect of being led into flights of imaginative fancy after immersing ourselves in emerging pan-African talent for a couple of days. Handily, Design Indaba 2019 will make that possible, too.

Emerging Creatives does exactly what it says on the tin. Which, if we’re honest, is never a bad thing. Think about Ronseal: surely everyone’s favourite wood stainer, right? Sorry, we lost track of ourselves there.

Back to Indaba – this year’s incarnation of the Emerging Creatives portion of the programme promises all manner of future-focused, talent-based trend forecasting, and as ever, the aim is to showcase “young designers who might not have much exposure in the industry”, helping them to “get a leg up and hit the ground running in their careers”.

A noble aim, sure, but unless that quality is there, it won’t amount to a hill of beans. Happily, the goods are here, and in abundance. Swooping visitors from up-and-coming interiors experts-in-the-making to tomorrow’s top ceramicists via graphic designers looking to change the face of contemporary culture to artists who’ll be hung in the world’s best galleries for years to come, it offers attendees and web-users alike a chance to get firmly ahead of the creative curve.

We’re certainly looking forward to getting a closer look at the work of a few of the practitioners who’ll be rocking up to the yearly affair. Natalie Penang’s hyperreal approach to photographic portraiture has certainly turned our heads time and time again, and former Central Saint Martins student Nicole Du Toit’s packaging projects like Period — a taboo-busting initiative aimed at educating young women about menstruation — have caught the eye of commercial clients like Gap, Jeep, and Virgin, and for good reason.

Joining the fun all the way from Johannesburg are the likes of fashion-focused photographer Tandekile Mkize, colour-mad illustrator Manuela Ohsiek, and award-winning graphic designer Lebogang Maphanga.

It’s Nice That is lucky enough to be flying the 8,000 miles from our studio just off the Haggerston Riviera to Cape Town for the 2019 edition of Design Indaba and you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be bringing you all manner of creative morsels back with us. Luckily, they let those through customs. For now, anyway.

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About the Author

Josh Baines

Josh Baines joined It's Nice That from July 2018 to July 2019 as News Editor, covering new high-profile projects, awards announcements, and everything else in between.

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