Telling powerful African stories through colour

Editor's note:

Ravi Naidoo, the creator of the Interactive Africa and Design Indaba, an annual three-day design conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, contributed today's post. He discusses the Colours of Africa project, which showcases the best of African craft, product, industrial design, fashion, film, animation, graphic, cuisine, music, jewellery, and architecture.


African culture is joyful, expressive and vivid – and intrinsically linked to color – from rallying shades of liberation to evocative hues of optimism, color is embraced as an unspoken language. With a vibrant palette and gift for storytelling, as Africans, we tell powerful stories through color, and it is this unique phenomenon that led to the development of the ‘Colors of Africa’ project. This ambitious initiative shares stories from Africa by Africans.

Design Indaba collaborated with Google Arts & Culture on this brand-new, cross-continental project. In order to tell the full story of such a diverse continent, we approached 60 African creatives and asked them each to create a unique work that depicts their home country through the symbolism of color.

At the same time we asked what being African meant to them. The resulting works and thoughts offer personal insights into African lived experiences and add the ever evolving kaleidoscope that is the African continent.

The stories of each creative have been woven into a colourful tapestry which is available on Google Arts & Culture. And this bespoke, online exhibit dives into the artist’s experience of their country – as well grappling with the intricacies of identity. In addition to the exhibits, you can spin the kaleidoscope to explore and collect the colours of Africa. Experience the different countries and travel through Africa guided by the eyes of local artists.

Each work is a personal and completely unique experience of a country. Discover some of the colours of Africa below:

I invite you to discover more about each artist and artwork on the dedicated hub on Google Arts & Culture, or travel through the kaleidoscope here and share your colours with the world.

Posted by Ravi Naaido, Founder & CEO, Design Indaba,