Sandra Mawuto Dotou

Residence Fund for Young Design

Period of time
3.5.24 – 21.7.24
Teaser text

How do we define the concept of charity within a community, and how do we practice altruism in daily life? These are the questions asked by communication designer Sandra Mawuto Dotou in the exhibition project “Conscious and Collective Love”, which will be on view from 3 May to 21 July 2024 at the MK&G. Dotou’s design concepts and participatory formats interweave awareness-raising, the idea of lived community and political activism with design. Mawuto Dotou is the seventh resident to take part in the Fund for Young Design programme sponsored by the Stiftung Hamburger Kunstsammlungen (SHK).

Looking beyond religious and social norms, Mawuto Dotou enquires into the value of neighbourly love in communities. A community might, for example, be a safe place for free expression, or a family chosen based on felt affinities. For the exhibition project, Dotou immersed themself  in communities that are marginalised or less visible, and to which the designer has a personal connection. In Togo, Mawuto Dotou encountered the self-governing skater community “Blood Nation” as well as a queer community that is potentially threatened by Togo’s criminal law. They also interviewed members of the international “ballroom” scene, which has its origins in the US trans scene of the 1970s and 80s. “I’m interested in how these communities can mobilise, support each other and build safe spaces for themselves, how they listen to one another and create things together,” explains the designer. “In my own communities, I’m always questioning things: Do we support each other enough? How can I act more selflessly in certain things?” Mawuto Dotou found out how the selected communities are structured, how they negotiate needs, and how they reinforce themselves internally through mutual respect, charity and solidarity, thus creating a sense of security and closeness.

The result is an exhibition designed in collaboration with the communities that serves as a place of encounter both for themselves and for visitors. On display are videos, photographs, and typographic and applied participatory works, including a card game and posters that are open for further creative contributions. Complementing the show is a selection of specialist literature. 

Participating designers: Netanya Ajavon, Luca Bettinger, Mabagou Bonsoa, Come.Unity - ROOTS Berlin & +233c Agency, Alexandra Dimitraki, Caspar Engstfeld, Leonie Henze, Magalie Herter Courbon, Philipp Jäckel, Junior Komlan, Benita Martis, Chioma Ottakagu, Benedicte Pambu, Paulina Seuling, Julia Sukop, Patricia Tarczynski, Natayada Tawonsri, Pascal “The Schmidt”, Carolin Windel, Lukas Wörn, Lea Wurthmann




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