In celebrating woman’s month, we decided to put together a collection of inspirational designers and creatives, hailing from different corners of the continent. Each selection represents a category on our platform. All the women listed below are renowned in their own respect, propelling their creative agendas to staggering heights.
Julie Mehretu (Art) | Addis Ababa / New York
Julie is an Ethiopian-American abstract artist that creates architectural inspired layered patterns and prints that capture dense urban environments.
Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa. She received her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. Mehretu’s paintings and drawings refer to elements of mapping and architecture, achieving a calligraphic complexity that resembles turbulent atmospheres and dense social networks. Her work conveys a layering and compression of time, space and place and a collapse of art historical references, from the dynamism of the Italian Futurists and the geometric abstraction of Malevich. Mehretu’s work is held in collections at the Museum of Modern Art.
Shahira Fahmy (Architecture) | Cairo
Shahira is an Egyptian architect and the founder of Shahira Fahmy Architects. She is currently serving as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.
Fahmy won the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Young Architect Award in 2005. She has worked with renowned architects like Legoretta+Legoretta and her company has won international competitions in Switzerland and London. Fahmy is a board member of the International Community of Red Cross in Egypt and a member of the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate. She is also an associate member of the Society of Egyptian Architects and the Egyptian Earth Construction Association.
Hanneke Schutte (Film) | Johannesburg
Hanneke is a South African writer, film director and the 2013 winner of the Jameson First Shot short film competition, where she got her film produced by Kevin Spacey.
Schutte completed a BA in Psychology at the University of Pretoria and ventured into advertising where she spent her early 20’s as a copywriter and later as a lecturer. She made her directorial debut with her short film Superhero, which was the winner of 2 South African Film and Television Awards for Best Short Film and Best Cinematography. Her short film Saving Norman, which was the 2013 winner of the Jameson First Shot competition, was produced by Kevin Spacey with Willem Dafoe starring in the lead role.
Reni Folawiyo (Design) | Lagos
Reni is a Nigerian businesswoman, design enthusiast and founder of Alara concept stores, where she combines fashion art and design with a bold African flair.
Folawiyo seeks to redefine luxury fashion for Nigerians. Alara, meaning ‘wondrous performer’ in Yoruba, is rapidly becoming a fashion destination for Nigerians and westerners alike. Born in London, and raised in Western Nigeria, she initially studied law, returning to Lagos to work for her father’s law firm. Alongside this, she opened an interior design business producing custom furniture. The Alara concept store was designed and built by the internationally renowned Ghanian-British architect David Adjaye.
Ilze Wolff (Research) | Cape Town
Ilze is a South African architect, writer and scholar within the fields of heritage, architectural history and public culture.
Wolff, co-founded Open House Architecture (OHA) in 2007, a practice responsible for researching and documenting SA architecture through popular Open House guided tours and documentaries. She explores heritage buildings in South Africa, opening them up for public engagement and discourse. Parallel to this, she also directs Wolff Architects alongside her husband and partner, Heinrich Wolff.