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David Adjaye’s photographs record the cosmopolitan condition of the African built environment

David Adjaye at Gallery Momo, September 2010
JOHANNESBURG — London-based architect David Adjaye is currently showing his photographs of African cities at Gallery Momo. The outcome of a decade-long, largely unaccompanied stroll through the metroplitan centres of the African continent, Adjaye, who was briefly in Johannesburg for the opening of his show, told Art South Africa that his photographs (a series of box-framed collages depicting hierarchies of architecture in various cities) are not meant to be viewed as iconic renderings of the built environemt.

David Adjaye’s exhibition African Metropolitan Architecture “This my
snapshot diary of things that I like as an architect of the built environment,” he said. However, the photos are not entirely diaristic.
“Instead of it just being about the things I like, I thought, ‘Let me
systematically look at all the typologies that I experience’.”

Born in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, to a Ghanaian
diplomat, Adjaye, who has designed exhibitions for artists Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson, said the impetus for his project largely stemmed from his frustrations with naive and misinformed views of African contemporaneity in the west. “I was born in a metropolitan city,” he offered. “I was born in a
cosmopolitan condition amongst different groups of Africans, Indians and
Chinese. That is my beginnings — and it was in metropolitan skylines.”

The exhibition African Metropolitan Architecture: A photographic journey by David Adjaye runs until October 25 at Gallery Momo, 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg. www.gallerymomo.com/

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