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NOTES 1 Elleh, Nnamdi, “Architecture and the Origins of Modernity in Africa”, Africa – Architecture, Culture, Identity, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015, s. 221 2 Photo by Pieter Hugo: Abdullah Mohammed with Mainsaya, 2007, Africa – Architecture, Culture, Identity, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015, p. 73 3 Myers, Garth: African Cities – Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice, Zed Books, UK, 2011, p. 14. 4 Pieterse, Edgar, “Reaching for Adaptive Urbanism”, Africa – Architecture, Culture, Identity, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015, p. 131 5 In ibid., p. 132 6 Interview on Youtube, Kwani Trust 27-30 November, 2013: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=IzR8nKSexP8 7 The Ghanaian architect Joe Osae-Addo asked me whether the exhibition could start with the words “We still don’t know Africa”, and I am grateful to him for the remark, which ends the introduction to the catalogue. 17 has been given the name Afrofuturism, but in the field of architecture too the future plays a special role. ‘White elephants’ are what we call often-ambitious building projects that have been conceived on the grand scale for a desired future, but whose reality is oblivion and decay, because for one reason or another the project, in its wish to reach the future now, has not been properly rooted in the real here-and-now of the surroundings. Several new construction projects across the continent are thus criticised for a lack of socio-economic realism. At the same time the houses, palaces and skyscrapers of the colonial era lie in several places as ruins from a bygone age and remind us that political and ideological power shifts can make any building into a white elephant. One of the foremost ways in which the young post-colonial nations could distance themselves from colonial power and profile themselves was precisely through architectural idioms. Often the young nations moved their capitals to start anew. In the architecture of independence we see the will of the respective states to create great nations, anticipated in imposing edifices. Louisiana’s exhibition and catalogue do not presume here to pontificate about the prospects for the various countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Instead they speak of the different versions of the here-and-now, and how these are influenced by what went before and what will perhaps follow. This is necessary if we wish to know more about the word’s second-largest continent. And even with this exhibition we can safely say we still don’t know Africa.7


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