Above: Thabisa Mjo & her work
Andrea Anghinetti - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci
Vrinda Mathur - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci
Olivia Wärme - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci
Allyn Fox - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci
Ross Backenkeller - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci
Shiril Joseph - Student Q&A - Global Design Graduate Show 2022 in collaboration with Gucci
Above: Thabisa Mjo & her work
Thabisa Mjo, founder of the Mash. T Design Studio in South Africa, is an award-winning designer specialising in furniture, lighting and accessories.
Receiving top prizes in the South African Designer of the Year 2019, Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2018 and the Nando's Hot Young Designer Search competitions, Mjo has been commended for her work which combines traditional African design techniques with modern aesthetics.
Mjo was selected to co-curate the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives 2021 initiative, which shines a spotlight on the newest artists and designers in South Africa. Alongside fellow curator Cole Ndelu, Mjo has chosen some 40 designers from across the country and a range of creative specialisms from photography to fashion, craft and fine art.
We sent Mjo a few questions to learn more about the process of curating the Emerging Artists show and get her advice on how to start your career as a young designer.
ARTS THREAD: What were the high points of curating the Design Indaba Emerging artists?
Thabisa Mjo: Seeing all the talent and just how vast and varied it is as well, is very cool. Also reading and learning about people's thought processes and motivations is always inspiring.
ARTS THREAD: What would be your 3 top pieces of advice to the Design Indaba Emerging artists?
Thabisa Mjo: Oh that's hard! Maybe to be adaptable, remain curious and don't be afraid to put yourself and your ideas out there.
ARTS THREAD: How do you think the Design Indaba Emerging artists can use the current move online in their favour?
Thabisa Mjo: It's tricky because there's just so much content online and one can get easily lost. But it's also good precisely because everyone is online and people have become so much more intentional about finding work that they feel adds value or they find interesting. I think this works in our favour because that community that you do start to build is engaged and interested in what you have to say precisely because they had to weed through so much other content to get to you. So I suppose being intentional about what you put out there and just being authentic and consistent. Consistency is key, I think.
ARTSTHREAD: What are your own future plans?
Thabisa Mjo: Streamlining our product offering and production processes which will lead to an improved and seamless customer experience.
ARTSTHREAD: Thank you Thabisa
Keep your eye on the ARTS THREAD blog and follow the Design Indaba tag for more previews, reviews and Q&As.
Image credits: interiors photography Sarah de Pina