Ethiopian American artist and industrial designer Jomo Tariku is defining a new design language of modern African-themed furniture. As a young boy growing up in Ethiopia he was always drawn to the eclectic art, souvenirs, and furniture pieces his father collected during his travel throughout Africa and beyond.
Jomo developed his craftsman skills while spending his summer breaks at a local furniture builder in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He went on to study Industrial Design at the University of Kansas, U.S.A and completed his college thesis on Contemporary African Furniture.
One such example is his ‘Birth Chair II’ (2016). Made from blackened wood with white motifs painted on the backrest, it resulted from deconstructing traditional African birthing chairs that are used in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa to provide support to pregnant women during childbirth.
Jomo’s furniture include a wide variety of artistic designs that synthesizes his own experience of the continents diverse culture, historical structures, architecture, traditional furniture, colors, artifacts, landscapes, wildlife and even hair styles.
Jomo is a leading light in the world of African industrial and furniture design. His work is setting the foundation for hopefully many more emerging designers from the continent.
While the market for contemporary design from Africa is led by European and American clients, the desire is growing amongst African born clients.
Local Africans are becoming interested in unique pieces from galleries in Abidjan, Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Cape Town and internationally. At the same time, more collaborations are growing amongst architects themselves and designers.
Jomo’s work gives young emerging designers hope and inspiration that they too can create pieces that will get local and international appeal. Plus be recognised within their local African networks.
To learn more about Jomo’s work, please visit https://www.jomofurniture.com/
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