This summer with Haute Africa, Noorderlicht Photogallery sheds light on the sunny side of the African continent. From 5 July through 31 August, seven photographers show a different Africa: a continent that still defies the imagination, and a place where creativity can bring prosperity. This flourishing African creativity finds no better expression than in fashion.
Haute Africa shows work by photographers who are not so much interested in African fashion in itself, but rather carry out an anthropological research into contemporary African clothing culture. Various African countries such as the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia have a well-functioning economy; South Africa is even an important global player. First and foremost, these countries have the exploitation of Africa's rich natural resources to thank for their progress, yet the creative, sustainable economies are also gradually starting to grow.
The fashion industry is an important exponent of this creative industry. Many African designers, entrepreneurs and photographers inspire the world with new designs that convey and renew African identity. This evolution hasn't escaped the attention of artists and photographers. Through clothing culture they gauge the convictions, thoughts and feelings of its wearers, or the history of a particular place. They take a look at topics such as Westernization, post-colonialism, race, gender equality, religious beliefs or political power relations. From this angle, Haute Africa shows how clothing culture conveys and renews African identity without averting its eyes from an otherwise often bitter reality.