Between 1957 and 1966, 32 countries—almost two thirds of all African nations—gained their independence from colonial powers. In these budding nations, including Ghana, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia that are featured in this exhibition, technology and development became tools of liberation and instruments for expressing national identity. The daring and ambitious designs of new buildings, from state banks to convention centers and stadiums, mirrored the optimism and aspirations of the newly liberated states.
Presenting over 700 photographs, as well as archival materials, historical photos, newspaper clippings, postcards, videos, plans, and sketches, Architecture of Independence documents the ambivalences of decolonization, its contradictions, and inconsistencies, but also its ambitions, aims, and aspirations.
Curated by Manuel Herz and organized by the Vitra Design Museum, Architecture of Independence includes contemporary photography by renowned photographer Iwan Baan and award-winning South African humanitarian photo-documentarian Alexia Webster.