Divas by Design

Magazine Cover

Before the 5th International Design Indaba® kicked off in Cape Town, I was in conversation with Lewis Blackwell [Getty Images] who asked what my ‘angle’ for the magazine was; and it was then, at that exact moment, that I started panicking. Lewis didn’t mean to make me panic - it’s a perfectly rational question to put to an editor.

Yet as the Indaba played itself out over three simultaneously energising and exhausting days, the illusive ‘angle’ began to make an appearance, without any intervention on my part.

It started at the official Indaba opening ceremony, with an extremely polite protest by Artscape’s theatre staff. It continued with the Minister of Art & Culture, Science & Technology’s response, right before he delivered his opening address. (For our foreign visitors, I think the experience must have been quite surreal: here was South African politics in action. For us jaded locals, I couldn’t help marvel at how respectful everyone was - ten years ago and someone would have been truncheoned on stage,regardless of the audience.) And it became increasingly evident as designer after artist after innovator explained their work to the audience.

If my interpretation is correct [and everything is subject to debate], it is basically this: if you have something to say and you want to make a difference, get on with it. However you want. No apologies. No excuses. [The commercial vs pure creative debate is getting a little tired now.] Whether you get paid to produce work for corporates, or you self-fund and self-publish because you want complete freedom; whether you’re selling jeans or raising global awareness of deforestation issues - if you have something to say, speak up. Just be smart about it.

This issue is packed with exactly that – smart opinions that manifest themselves through design. Lewis Blackwell comes to terms with matters of the ‘spirit’ in photography. Erik Spiekermann leaves little doubt about what he’s saying. Marti Guixé rails against function following form. Through his digital art, Joshua Davis wants to shake up the planet’s imagination. Shigeru Ban is quietly building a new world. James Victore shouts from lampposts about making a difference. And the three Design Divas – Luba Lukova, Lucille Tenazas and Teresa Roviras – speak from the heart about what matters to them.
We hope you find this issue as provocative, revitalising and entertaining as the Design Indaba was. We hope it makes a difference. It has to us.

Enjoy. - Nicky Apostolis