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          Afro-Polis: The African Renaissance

          Calling all art-lovers! Next Tuesday is the opening night of the A-Polis Art & Design Gallery in West London, a permanent space celebrating the best of African contemporary creation and exploring Africa in a global context. The gallery's opening exhibition The African Renaissance showcases the awakening of a continent that is rapidly emerging as a contemporary creative force to be reckoned with. 

          Afro-Polis is the brainchild of London-based polymath artist and cultural entrepreneur Pierre-Christophe Gam   We caught up with Pierre to find out more! 

          Tell us about The African Renaissance exhibition:

          Visitors to the exhibition are invited into the house of the Affogbolos, a fictitious young couple from Lagos in Nigeria. Kolade Affogbolo is an architect and his wife, Remi, who originally hails from Angola, is a lawyer. Well-travelled, passionate about art, design and culture, the Affogbolos are emblematic of this new generation of global citizen, locally rooted in their tradition and culture, but with at the same time a distinctive global outlook. The visitors are invited to experience their lifestyle as it translates through their imaginary collection of photography, furniture and objects: selecting authentic creative voices, celebrating local artisanship and flirting with the reinvention of cool.

          What is Afro-Polis and why did you found it?

          I was born and raised in Chantilly but my influences come from my very multi-cultural upbringing (I have a Cameroonian, Tchadian, and Egyptian heritage). I trained as an architect at the Ecole Nationale des Superieures des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and Central St. Martins in London and in my professional career, I specialised in art direction for leading contemporary luxury brands, including Kenzo, Martin Margiela, Shiseido and Cartier.

          Pascale Revert-Wheeler, founder of the Perimeter Gallery in Paris, and I decided to launch Afro-Polis in 2012 as a cultural platform that aims to create a multi-dimensional exploration and critical discovery of Africa’s cultural DNA through participatory forum via events, talks and exhibitions. Afro-Polis is a commercial, educational and philanthropic platform for emerging and established artists from Africa and beyond. We have supported a program of activities that include curating and touring exhibitions, staging performances and panel discussions. After several successful editions of events in both Paris and London, we are now opening the A-Polis Art and Design, our first permanent gallery space on Golborne Road. 

          How do you see Afro-Polis making a positive impact?

          Afro-Polis's mission is to pave the way for a new kind of engagement with modern Africa. It invites viewers to adjust their lens and rediscover the continent, thanks to a more fair, nuanced and multi-layered representation of the modern African way of life.

          What inspires you and your work?

          My inspiration comes from exploring the rich global African cultural experience, whether it be on the continent, here in Europe or in the US. Africa is everywhere through the cultural production of its direct and extended diaspora and it is fascinating to underneath the hidden pattern, the cultural DNA.  

          Baobab or moringa?

          Baobab of course! ;)

          The A-Polis Art & Design Gallery is on 50 Golborne Road, W10 5PR. The African Renaissance Exhibition runs from 10 February to 29 March 2015. The opening launch of the exhibition takes place from 18:30 - 20:00 on Tuesday 10th March and is free to attend. 

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