Fashion designer Sandra Cardoso Muendane, a native of Mozambique, is the first designer and first African to chosen as the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft Museum of Art.

Muendane conveys social messages through her designs. Her winter 2008 ready-to-wear collection, inspired by conditions among the poor in Johannesburg, South Africa, was shown in silence, “like a screen of pain and social degradation.” During workshops at the Taft, Muendane will encourage participants to consider expressing social themes in their designs.

Following training in hand-sewing techniques and study at the Porto Fine Arts School in Portugal, Muendane earned a degree in architecture and fashion design at the Technical University of Lisbon in 2004. The following year she worked with the National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique and participated in a number of fashion shows. In 2006 she completed an internship in Paris with designer Sakina M’sa. The French designer introduced Muendane to structured volumes and geometric cuts in fabrics such as cotton jersey and silk.

Muendane won the Golden Thread Prize (first place) in the second annual Africa Is in Style! competition in Niamey, Niger, in November 2007. This competition targets young, independent designers and fashion creators living and working on the African continent or around the Indian Ocean. An international jury of fashion professionals selected ten young designers to vie for three top prizes while presenting collections in ready-to-wear, street wear, or haute couture. The goal of the competition is to promote young African fashion designers and their access to the international fashion market. It is organized by Culturesfrance as part of the African Fashion International Festival (FIMA).This past February, Muendane participated in the Labo Ethnik World Fashion Show in Paris that featured African, Caribbean, and multicultural design, showing an all-black collection of trousers and soft tops. In September, she presented designs made of a bamboo-derived fabric during a “green” fashion showcase event in Lille, France.

The Duncanson Society is collaborating with the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and the Cultural Services of the Consulate General of France in Chicago. Muendane’s participation as this year’s Duncanson Artist-in-Residence is sponsored in part by Culturesfrance, an agency of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Other sponsors of the 2008 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program include Ohio National Financial Services, Fine Arts Fund Partner: Fifth Third Bank, and the Docents of the Taft Museum of Art.