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Promoting the African contemporary art scene // January Showroom Evening

Posted by Michaëla Hadji-Minaglou on

Promoting the African contemporary art scene by revealing its richness and particularities are key elements of Afikaris’ identity. Showcasing a selection of 10 artists from seven different countries, this new Showroom Evening exhibition embodies this desire, putting forward each artist’s vision of the continent and thus, creating a dialogue between Africa’s regions and different generations of artists.


While entering the showroom, visitors are directly plunged in the nature. Surrounded by exotic vegetation, a bull, reminding prehistorical cave paintings faces them. Nature is always at the heart of Senegalese artist Aliou Diack’s work, through the use of natural pigments he mixes himself, the subject of his compositions, and even prints made by animals walking on the surface of the canvas. Hence, the traditional opposition between nature and culture can’t work anymore as art is then the result of the collaboration of the artist and nature itself. From the raw canvas, still virgin in some areas, something primitive, sending back to the origins of art, stands out from the painting. This aesthetic could also be spotted in Saidou Dicko’s works on paper. This Peulh shepherd, self-taught photographer, video-maker and painter leaves clues about his past life in his work. Few goats dispersed on the paper lead the way, as an invitation to follow them through this abstract composition: organized mess on the white sheet.

Starting from the 2000s, new cities started to be built all over Africa. Thus, between disorder and fantasy, cities participate more than never to feed the artists’ imagination.

Throughout a subtle mix of abstracts and figurative elements, Tunisian artist Thameur Mejri tells the story of Tunisia, taking a critical view of social and political issues in this country. This admirer of Francis Bacon, as his idol, builds his words on flat areas of color that reveal the torments of the city. Skulls, soccer balls, warplanes and parts of human bodies are quite common components in his work to address intricate topics about social, moral and religious values that touch upon subjects of sexuality, the sacred and the profane, nudity and religious dogma. Hence, under his brushes, cities appear to be places for control and indoctrination. Far from this chaos created by the will of power and domination cities could concentrate, other artists think about urban life in a more dreamy and utopian way. Among them, Slimen Elkamel brings to life on his canvases, tales, and poems influenced by the city. From something that might remind at first sight Brassaï’s footages - a dense network of lines and symbols close to engravings - stand out characters. This decor, close to a map testifying of an invisible world, anchors the story of these protagonists in a fantastic universe.

Even if cities flourish on the continent, nature is never far away. The Cameroonian Moustapha Baidi Oumarou imagines outlines, as if they were taken in a fashion magazine or, more basically, as if they came directly from the streets of his city, melted on a plain background where flowers and leaves harmoniously intertwine. Thus, human beings and nature become a whole in a perfect symbiosis.
In Ousmane Niang’s work, the fusion between nature and urban life questions their harmony. From the dots emerges a hybrid figure: a bird whose attitude and behavior remind those of a human being. Seated with the legs crossed, it seems to be carefully listening to the news. Its feathers become an accessory and the pattern of his body a fashionable suit. The bird and the machine seem to be one, like if the radio set was the prolongation of its body. Humanization of animals has always been used in art and literature to criticize an aspect of society while avoiding censorship. Here, nature and technological artifacts merge: is technology running the natural world or is the natural world taking back control on manufactured items?


« Et les princes des villes, n’ont pas besoin d’armure

Les rêves sont faciles »


« Vraiment- Faut qu’tu t’dises que tu peux être le prince de la ville »


In the heart of cities’ organization, their inhabitants are also a great source of inspiration for artists. From Michel Berger to Monsieur Iceberg’s genius remix broadcasted on the occasion of Palais de Tokyo’s exhibition “Prince.sse.s des villes” last summer, townsfolks become the new heroes of modern life. Under Nana Saw Oduro’s lens, the Prince of the city stands out from the crowd for the pureness of his shapes and his ability to adapt to his environment. Here, the Prince of the city remains a prince even when he leaves the city, being a prince being an attitude more than a status. If common sense would lead to believe that cities, making the world global, erase the singularity of each culture, Asiko proves the opposite. In its series “Ase”, he aims to expose Yoruba culture and its intersection with womanhood. In Yoruba culture, “ase” is the energy within all living things. It is believed that it is especially powerful in the female form. Thus, Asiko aims to explores, in his own words, "the divine energy encapsulated within the black woman, her power, and her vulnerability."


While Ibrahim Ballo, throughout his canvases decorated with knots and threads like the second skin of his characters, focuses on human relations, Ajarb questions them in the time of social media. His acid colors reflect urban culture and could remind the chromatic palette of some street artists.

 

Curatorial text of January exhibition at Afikaris' showroom

Read more

Promoting the African contemporary art scene // January Showroom Evening

Posted by Michaëla Hadji-Minaglou on

Promoting the African contemporary art scene by revealing its richness and particularities are key elements of Afikaris’ identity. Showcasing a selection of 10 artists from seven different countries, this new Showroom Evening exhibition embodies this desire, putting forward each artist’s vision of the continent and thus, creating a dialogue between Africa’s regions and different generations of artists.


While entering the showroom, visitors are directly plunged in the nature. Surrounded by exotic vegetation, a bull, reminding prehistorical cave paintings faces them. Nature is always at the heart of Senegalese artist Aliou Diack’s work, through the use of natural pigments he mixes himself, the subject of his compositions, and even prints made by animals walking on the surface of the canvas. Hence, the traditional opposition between nature and culture can’t work anymore as art is then the result of the collaboration of the artist and nature itself. From the raw canvas, still virgin in some areas, something primitive, sending back to the origins of art, stands out from the painting. This aesthetic could also be spotted in Saidou Dicko’s works on paper. This Peulh shepherd, self-taught photographer, video-maker and painter leaves clues about his past life in his work. Few goats dispersed on the paper lead the way, as an invitation to follow them through this abstract composition: organized mess on the white sheet.

Starting from the 2000s, new cities started to be built all over Africa. Thus, between disorder and fantasy, cities participate more than never to feed the artists’ imagination.

Throughout a subtle mix of abstracts and figurative elements, Tunisian artist Thameur Mejri tells the story of Tunisia, taking a critical view of social and political issues in this country. This admirer of Francis Bacon, as his idol, builds his words on flat areas of color that reveal the torments of the city. Skulls, soccer balls, warplanes and parts of human bodies are quite common components in his work to address intricate topics about social, moral and religious values that touch upon subjects of sexuality, the sacred and the profane, nudity and religious dogma. Hence, under his brushes, cities appear to be places for control and indoctrination. Far from this chaos created by the will of power and domination cities could concentrate, other artists think about urban life in a more dreamy and utopian way. Among them, Slimen Elkamel brings to life on his canvases, tales, and poems influenced by the city. From something that might remind at first sight Brassaï’s footages - a dense network of lines and symbols close to engravings - stand out characters. This decor, close to a map testifying of an invisible world, anchors the story of these protagonists in a fantastic universe.

Even if cities flourish on the continent, nature is never far away. The Cameroonian Moustapha Baidi Oumarou imagines outlines, as if they were taken in a fashion magazine or, more basically, as if they came directly from the streets of his city, melted on a plain background where flowers and leaves harmoniously intertwine. Thus, human beings and nature become a whole in a perfect symbiosis.
In Ousmane Niang’s work, the fusion between nature and urban life questions their harmony. From the dots emerges a hybrid figure: a bird whose attitude and behavior remind those of a human being. Seated with the legs crossed, it seems to be carefully listening to the news. Its feathers become an accessory and the pattern of his body a fashionable suit. The bird and the machine seem to be one, like if the radio set was the prolongation of its body. Humanization of animals has always been used in art and literature to criticize an aspect of society while avoiding censorship. Here, nature and technological artifacts merge: is technology running the natural world or is the natural world taking back control on manufactured items?


« Et les princes des villes, n’ont pas besoin d’armure

Les rêves sont faciles »


« Vraiment- Faut qu’tu t’dises que tu peux être le prince de la ville »


In the heart of cities’ organization, their inhabitants are also a great source of inspiration for artists. From Michel Berger to Monsieur Iceberg’s genius remix broadcasted on the occasion of Palais de Tokyo’s exhibition “Prince.sse.s des villes” last summer, townsfolks become the new heroes of modern life. Under Nana Saw Oduro’s lens, the Prince of the city stands out from the crowd for the pureness of his shapes and his ability to adapt to his environment. Here, the Prince of the city remains a prince even when he leaves the city, being a prince being an attitude more than a status. If common sense would lead to believe that cities, making the world global, erase the singularity of each culture, Asiko proves the opposite. In its series “Ase”, he aims to expose Yoruba culture and its intersection with womanhood. In Yoruba culture, “ase” is the energy within all living things. It is believed that it is especially powerful in the female form. Thus, Asiko aims to explores, in his own words, "the divine energy encapsulated within the black woman, her power, and her vulnerability."


While Ibrahim Ballo, throughout his canvases decorated with knots and threads like the second skin of his characters, focuses on human relations, Ajarb questions them in the time of social media. His acid colors reflect urban culture and could remind the chromatic palette of some street artists.

 

Curatorial text of January exhibition at Afikaris' showroom

Read more


Interview of Jean David Nkot - January 2020

Posted by Julie Mathon on

Interview of Jean David Nkot
10/01/2020

Jean David Nkot - Cité internationale des arts 2018Jean David Nkot during his residence at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2018, creating his series "Les indésirables".


Did Paris Cergy's "Moving Frontiers" 
program play an important role in the progression of your work?

JD - The "Moving Frontiers" program has been important in the evolution of my work. It was as a result of this project that the theme of migration imposed itself on me. It also opened the doors of one of the most important residences of my career at la Cité Internationale des Arts.
The latter has also given birth to the project "The undesirables" which continues with the new series "The Shadows of Space" which will be presented by Afikaris in Morocco at 1-54 Marrakech Art Fair in February 2020.

Do you consider yourself a politically engaged artist?

JD - I would not go as far as saying that I am a committed artist.
What I do know is that before being an artist, I am a human being who lives in a society, in a space in a changing world.
Thus, transformation is a subject that speaks to me and concerns me. I want things to change and I need to talk about it, make this problem visible and create dialogue spaces to discuss it.

Art offers us the possibility and the means, both ideological and aesthetic, to say things that speak to everyone, and this is at this specific moment that my artistic practice takes place. I'm just using these tools to draw attention to this time of changes. As an artist, I would like to immortalize these changes so that no one is ignorant of what happened during this period.

You paint from photographs of people in your neighborhood. Why this method and how do you choose your models?

JD - For me, working from a photo gives me the possibility of continuing to observe my subjects, even after their departure because it is the only thing that allows me to still have a connection with them.

My models are above all friends, brothers, companions for going out.
It is in these moments of sharing - when everyone talks about their dreams, their projects, how they would like to become a man who could also help their family - that the discussion takes shape and makes it possible to realize that most dream of going to Europe and some have already traveled more than once.

The photo sessions result from these long discussions, sometimes in groups, sometimes in private.

How does your work tend to evolve ? Future projects?

JD - I cannot say at the moment towards which direction my work tends. I know that it will evolve over the course of my meetings and my readings. For the moment, I let my work leading me to new horizons.

 This does not mean that I have no plans. For example, in May, my work will be presented in 1-54 New York and then in London. I also have other projects but I cannot say more for the moment.

Read more

Interview of Jean David Nkot - January 2020

Posted by Julie Mathon on

Interview of Jean David Nkot
10/01/2020

Jean David Nkot - Cité internationale des arts 2018Jean David Nkot during his residence at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2018, creating his series "Les indésirables".


Did Paris Cergy's "Moving Frontiers" 
program play an important role in the progression of your work?

JD - The "Moving Frontiers" program has been important in the evolution of my work. It was as a result of this project that the theme of migration imposed itself on me. It also opened the doors of one of the most important residences of my career at la Cité Internationale des Arts.
The latter has also given birth to the project "The undesirables" which continues with the new series "The Shadows of Space" which will be presented by Afikaris in Morocco at 1-54 Marrakech Art Fair in February 2020.

Do you consider yourself a politically engaged artist?

JD - I would not go as far as saying that I am a committed artist.
What I do know is that before being an artist, I am a human being who lives in a society, in a space in a changing world.
Thus, transformation is a subject that speaks to me and concerns me. I want things to change and I need to talk about it, make this problem visible and create dialogue spaces to discuss it.

Art offers us the possibility and the means, both ideological and aesthetic, to say things that speak to everyone, and this is at this specific moment that my artistic practice takes place. I'm just using these tools to draw attention to this time of changes. As an artist, I would like to immortalize these changes so that no one is ignorant of what happened during this period.

You paint from photographs of people in your neighborhood. Why this method and how do you choose your models?

JD - For me, working from a photo gives me the possibility of continuing to observe my subjects, even after their departure because it is the only thing that allows me to still have a connection with them.

My models are above all friends, brothers, companions for going out.
It is in these moments of sharing - when everyone talks about their dreams, their projects, how they would like to become a man who could also help their family - that the discussion takes shape and makes it possible to realize that most dream of going to Europe and some have already traveled more than once.

The photo sessions result from these long discussions, sometimes in groups, sometimes in private.

How does your work tend to evolve ? Future projects?

JD - I cannot say at the moment towards which direction my work tends. I know that it will evolve over the course of my meetings and my readings. For the moment, I let my work leading me to new horizons.

 This does not mean that I have no plans. For example, in May, my work will be presented in 1-54 New York and then in London. I also have other projects but I cannot say more for the moment.

Read more


JUJU CONNECTION, from Nigéria to Paris by Jean David Nkot

Posted by Julie Mathon on

For the first time, the Cameroonian artist Jean-David NKOT is presented at the AKAA 2019 African Contemporary Art Fair by the Afikaris Gallery.

On the occasion of the contemporary African art fair AKAA 2019, Afikaris presents the works of the young artist Jean-David Nkot, born in 1985 in Douala, economic capital of Cameroon. Jean David uses painting and sculpture to create plastic works and installations, which have won many awards and are exhibited in Cameroon, Germany, Senegal and France.

Through the series "undesirables" and "workers", Jean David Nkot represents the misery and the pain caused by illegal and forced immigration.

The denunciation procedures he is demonstrating are motivated by the sad report of the indifference of public opinion and the failure of governments to stop such a serious phenomenon. In her latest series "Juju connection", the silhouettes of naked women replace the faces of children and migrants.

 

https://afikaris.com/collections/jean-david-nkot

Girls of the Juju Connection, this Nigerian prostitution organization closely linked to the mafia, they witness the instrumentalisation of the traditions to the advantage of the sex trafficking. The exploitation of which they are victims is concretized by means of rites of passage, synonyms of aggravated rapes, and held by an emblematic and respected hierarchy.

The power of "Mamas", former prostitutes who serve as spiritual guides, is sanctioned by a rite of submission and by the creation of "Juju" symbolic object consisting of hair, blood and dust. The influence of the Mamas on their younger sons seems infallible. It is motivated by a strong attachment of the Yoruba people to local traditions and customs that govern relationships between individuals. Jean-David Nkot tackles an extremely controversial subject, the progress of the Nigerian sector among the networks of prostitution.

Lying on their knees or knees, young women are covered by the drawings of a European city that sets them apart, between prostitution, drugs and violence. Crushed under its weight, is finally noticeable only the shape of their chest and grimaces of pain. The softness of the colors and the technical quality of the silhouettes contrast with the gravity of the subject.

              https://afikaris.com/collections/jean-david-nkot                                   https://afikaris.com/collections/jean-david-nkot/products/mentalmirage-yohoo-space  

The large formats of the works impose the subjects in the eyes of all and force the consideration of the denounced dramas. The silhouettes of the invisible women, hidden in the lanes of the host cities, are eloquent and masterful. At the corners, postage stamps, Priority stamps and macaroons where you can read, hidden behind the arteries of the drawing of the city, the words Freedom and Affranchi. Ideas that continue to persuade young girls to entrust their lives and bodies to elders. Like postcards, stamped and stamped, the works carry the sad news of the young women represented, such as the bitter realization of a trip to illusory promises.

 

Come and discover the works at AKAA !
Du 9 au 11 Novembre 2019
Carreau du Temple, Paris

 

Read more

JUJU CONNECTION, from Nigéria to Paris by Jean David Nkot

Posted by Julie Mathon on

For the first time, the Cameroonian artist Jean-David NKOT is presented at the AKAA 2019 African Contemporary Art Fair by the Afikaris Gallery.

On the occasion of the contemporary African art fair AKAA 2019, Afikaris presents the works of the young artist Jean-David Nkot, born in 1985 in Douala, economic capital of Cameroon. Jean David uses painting and sculpture to create plastic works and installations, which have won many awards and are exhibited in Cameroon, Germany, Senegal and France.

Through the series "undesirables" and "workers", Jean David Nkot represents the misery and the pain caused by illegal and forced immigration.

The denunciation procedures he is demonstrating are motivated by the sad report of the indifference of public opinion and the failure of governments to stop such a serious phenomenon. In her latest series "Juju connection", the silhouettes of naked women replace the faces of children and migrants.

 

https://afikaris.com/collections/jean-david-nkot

Girls of the Juju Connection, this Nigerian prostitution organization closely linked to the mafia, they witness the instrumentalisation of the traditions to the advantage of the sex trafficking. The exploitation of which they are victims is concretized by means of rites of passage, synonyms of aggravated rapes, and held by an emblematic and respected hierarchy.

The power of "Mamas", former prostitutes who serve as spiritual guides, is sanctioned by a rite of submission and by the creation of "Juju" symbolic object consisting of hair, blood and dust. The influence of the Mamas on their younger sons seems infallible. It is motivated by a strong attachment of the Yoruba people to local traditions and customs that govern relationships between individuals. Jean-David Nkot tackles an extremely controversial subject, the progress of the Nigerian sector among the networks of prostitution.

Lying on their knees or knees, young women are covered by the drawings of a European city that sets them apart, between prostitution, drugs and violence. Crushed under its weight, is finally noticeable only the shape of their chest and grimaces of pain. The softness of the colors and the technical quality of the silhouettes contrast with the gravity of the subject.

              https://afikaris.com/collections/jean-david-nkot                                   https://afikaris.com/collections/jean-david-nkot/products/mentalmirage-yohoo-space  

The large formats of the works impose the subjects in the eyes of all and force the consideration of the denounced dramas. The silhouettes of the invisible women, hidden in the lanes of the host cities, are eloquent and masterful. At the corners, postage stamps, Priority stamps and macaroons where you can read, hidden behind the arteries of the drawing of the city, the words Freedom and Affranchi. Ideas that continue to persuade young girls to entrust their lives and bodies to elders. Like postcards, stamped and stamped, the works carry the sad news of the young women represented, such as the bitter realization of a trip to illusory promises.

 

Come and discover the works at AKAA !
Du 9 au 11 Novembre 2019
Carreau du Temple, Paris

 

Read more


The role of foundations in the development of the contemporary African scene

Posted by Maxence Zabo on

The interest for contemporary creation in Europe has intensified for several years. In 1989, at the Center Pompidou and La Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, "Les Magiciens de la Terre" [Magicians of the Earth] is the first exhibition of contemporary art in France with African artists. Since then, contemporary art has not stopped to gain importance in Europe and some artists are now recognized internationally.

 

"Magicien de la Terre" exhibition poster  - Paris 1989

 

Even though access to major artistic institutions remains limited to sub-Saharan African artists, exhibiting in the West seems to be the guarantee of an international fame, a promoted works and getting the collectors. The art market is little developed in Africa, and Europe is a true springboard for the artists. However, some European states have responded to the needs of cultural institutions, in permanent search of funds. Faced with this, private initiatives are multiplying. More and more foundations are investing in highlighting contemporary African art, using their resources to encourage their development and facilitate their recognition to the public. Whether in Europe or in Africa, these foundations developed various approaches to make the creation shine.

In France, one of the challenges is to offer contemporary African artists a more important place on the market. The Jean-Paul Blachère corporate foundation has been involved in their promotion and recognition of their art since 2004. It discovers and accompanies new talents. The setting up of an artists' residence gives the possibility to visual artists to work with the materials provided by the company Blachère Illumination, specialized in the luminous decorations. This is to give contemporary African art a place on the international market.

Zinsou Fondation in Ouidah (Benin)

 

Faced with the affirmation of artists beyond the African continent, it is now essential to exhibit their creations on their native land, in order to promote their local recognition. In this issue, the Zinsou Foundation plays a key role. Founded in 2015 in Cotonou, Benin, it carries out pedagogical, cultural and social actions in order to highlight the creation, to promote the artists and to favor the access of the local population to the culture. In 2013, the Zinsou Foundation Museum is the first museum of African contemporary art to appear on the continent. The foundation enjoys an international reputation, which testifies to its major importance. She embodies contemporary African creation, and places the continent in the rank of actor of the world of art.

 

Written by Chloé FAYETTE

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The interest for contemporary creation in Europe has intensified for several years. In 1989, at the Center Pompidou and La Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, "Les Magiciens de la Terre" [Magicians of the Earth] is the first exhibition of contemporary art in France with African artists. Since then, contemporary art has not stopped to gain importance in Europe and some artists are now recognized internationally.

 

"Magicien de la Terre" exhibition poster  - Paris 1989

 

Even though access to major artistic institutions remains limited to sub-Saharan African artists, exhibiting in the West seems to be the guarantee of an international fame, a promoted works and getting the collectors. The art market is little developed in Africa, and Europe is a true springboard for the artists. However, some European states have responded to the needs of cultural institutions, in permanent search of funds. Faced with this, private initiatives are multiplying. More and more foundations are investing in highlighting contemporary African art, using their resources to encourage their development and facilitate their recognition to the public. Whether in Europe or in Africa, these foundations developed various approaches to make the creation shine.

In France, one of the challenges is to offer contemporary African artists a more important place on the market. The Jean-Paul Blachère corporate foundation has been involved in their promotion and recognition of their art since 2004. It discovers and accompanies new talents. The setting up of an artists' residence gives the possibility to visual artists to work with the materials provided by the company Blachère Illumination, specialized in the luminous decorations. This is to give contemporary African art a place on the international market.

Zinsou Fondation in Ouidah (Benin)

 

Faced with the affirmation of artists beyond the African continent, it is now essential to exhibit their creations on their native land, in order to promote their local recognition. In this issue, the Zinsou Foundation plays a key role. Founded in 2015 in Cotonou, Benin, it carries out pedagogical, cultural and social actions in order to highlight the creation, to promote the artists and to favor the access of the local population to the culture. In 2013, the Zinsou Foundation Museum is the first museum of African contemporary art to appear on the continent. The foundation enjoys an international reputation, which testifies to its major importance. She embodies contemporary African creation, and places the continent in the rank of actor of the world of art.

 

Written by Chloé FAYETTE

Read more


What recognition for women artists in the African art scene ?

Posted by Maxence Zabo on

In the history of art as in contemporary creation, the low representation of women raises questions. The reality is old but the observation is more recent: the place given to the woman in the artistic environment is insufficient. By the end of the 1990s, African women artists joined emerging demands targeting female invisibility in the art world. At the same time, they engage in struggles against inequalities that concern them more specifically. Indeed, in addition to the lack of consideration of women artists, they denounce the unfair recognition of contemporary African art on a global scale.

This precarious situation could be summed up in the terms of the art critic Roxana Azimi: "What is the most underrepresented genre in contemporary art? The women. Which continent escapes the radar of curators? Africa.”

However, by means of protests, productions and broadcasts, African women artists have come to dominate the world art scene. Evidenced by the proliferation of exhibitions devoted to them since the 2000s in Europe and the United States. Some artists even find themselves from one exhibition to another, a sign of their growing notoriety. Among them: Malana Andrialavidrazana, Joana Choumali and Seyni Awa Camara.

  Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1861, Natural History of Mankind, Figures, 2016,

Malana Andrialavidrazana, born in 1971 in Madagascar, develops very early an acute sense of the observation of cultures, their specificities and their mutations. The Malagasy artist, settled in France since his childhood, is particularly sensitive to the study of cultural interactions and the way cultures feed on each other throughout the world. But it also likes to seize the distinctive and singular traditions that can still exist. Of an almost anthropological nature, his work is based on photography, a medium that evolves according to his works.

If, at the beginning, the artist cultivated a certain interest for photographs mixing narration and documentary, her recent work, Figures, started in 2015 and still ongoing, marks a turning point. Indeed, Malana Andrialavidrazana proposes a bold series crossing techniques: collage, drawing, photography create a new dialogue. By reworking a visual and iconographic heritage that was once the backing of a political discourse, the artist deconstructs the original meaning to propose a new sens. Thus, colonial cartographies become simple colored backgrounds in the service of the work, the historical images are confused with a popular repertoire, the whole is like a rich and complex patchwork. The history of the world and civilizations is interrogated by means of this assemblage of various references. More specifically, the stereotypes about Africa, widespread during the time of the conquests of the nineteenth century, are questioned by being presented in isolation and front.

Joana Choumali, Mme Djeneba, Haabré, la dernière génération (2013 - 2014), Print on Baryta paper, 90 x 60 cm

Also interested in cultural diversity and the history of Africa, Joana Choumali, born in 1974 in Côte d'Ivoire, sees photography as an opportunity to explore her identity and environment. Here again, the artistic work produced by this artist has strong sociological and anthropological resonances. Her series focus on the fashions or traditions that cross Africa. One of them, Hââbré, last generation (2013-2014), is about the scarification, custom of long time in West Africa but which is becoming scarce these days. These photographs are therefore an essential testimony of this ancient bodily adornement. Working in Africa in a profession where women are underrepresented, Joana Choumali is aware of the difficulties of this position of African female artist in the world. In an interview with Intense Art Magazine in November 2017, she noted the serious gender imbalances in Africa and between Africa and West and said: "We need more Ivorian women photographers, African photographers and women photographers! “.

 

Seyni Awa Camara, 'Maternité Submergente', 1986, Bignona clay, 155 x 39 x 24 cm, Courtesy of Galerie MAGNIN

A very different profile but an artist all caught up in the sales of the market of international art, Seyni Awa Camara, nicknamed the "Potter of Casamance" (Senegal), where she is from and where she still lives, showcases a traditional art of pottery handed down from mother to daughter. Foreign to the artistic milieu, her relation to sculpture is characterized by a great spontaneity. The abundant forms that Seyni Awa Camara presents come as much from her imagination as from the myths and stories that surround her since childhood. The consideration of his creations on a world scale allows to open, through art, to different lifestyles and systems of thought, whether it is pottery in traditional context or the importance of certain symbols. For example, the recurring motif of motherhood in Seyni Awa Camara's work embodies more widely, for her and her culture, the virtuous idea of ​​fertility and fecundity.

Three different paths, three singular approaches to the world and art, but one contribution to contemporary African women's art.

 

Written by Eléa Sicre

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What recognition for women artists in the African art scene ?

Posted by Maxence Zabo on

In the history of art as in contemporary creation, the low representation of women raises questions. The reality is old but the observation is more recent: the place given to the woman in the artistic environment is insufficient. By the end of the 1990s, African women artists joined emerging demands targeting female invisibility in the art world. At the same time, they engage in struggles against inequalities that concern them more specifically. Indeed, in addition to the lack of consideration of women artists, they denounce the unfair recognition of contemporary African art on a global scale.

This precarious situation could be summed up in the terms of the art critic Roxana Azimi: "What is the most underrepresented genre in contemporary art? The women. Which continent escapes the radar of curators? Africa.”

However, by means of protests, productions and broadcasts, African women artists have come to dominate the world art scene. Evidenced by the proliferation of exhibitions devoted to them since the 2000s in Europe and the United States. Some artists even find themselves from one exhibition to another, a sign of their growing notoriety. Among them: Malana Andrialavidrazana, Joana Choumali and Seyni Awa Camara.

  Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1861, Natural History of Mankind, Figures, 2016,

Malana Andrialavidrazana, born in 1971 in Madagascar, develops very early an acute sense of the observation of cultures, their specificities and their mutations. The Malagasy artist, settled in France since his childhood, is particularly sensitive to the study of cultural interactions and the way cultures feed on each other throughout the world. But it also likes to seize the distinctive and singular traditions that can still exist. Of an almost anthropological nature, his work is based on photography, a medium that evolves according to his works.

If, at the beginning, the artist cultivated a certain interest for photographs mixing narration and documentary, her recent work, Figures, started in 2015 and still ongoing, marks a turning point. Indeed, Malana Andrialavidrazana proposes a bold series crossing techniques: collage, drawing, photography create a new dialogue. By reworking a visual and iconographic heritage that was once the backing of a political discourse, the artist deconstructs the original meaning to propose a new sens. Thus, colonial cartographies become simple colored backgrounds in the service of the work, the historical images are confused with a popular repertoire, the whole is like a rich and complex patchwork. The history of the world and civilizations is interrogated by means of this assemblage of various references. More specifically, the stereotypes about Africa, widespread during the time of the conquests of the nineteenth century, are questioned by being presented in isolation and front.

Joana Choumali, Mme Djeneba, Haabré, la dernière génération (2013 - 2014), Print on Baryta paper, 90 x 60 cm

Also interested in cultural diversity and the history of Africa, Joana Choumali, born in 1974 in Côte d'Ivoire, sees photography as an opportunity to explore her identity and environment. Here again, the artistic work produced by this artist has strong sociological and anthropological resonances. Her series focus on the fashions or traditions that cross Africa. One of them, Hââbré, last generation (2013-2014), is about the scarification, custom of long time in West Africa but which is becoming scarce these days. These photographs are therefore an essential testimony of this ancient bodily adornement. Working in Africa in a profession where women are underrepresented, Joana Choumali is aware of the difficulties of this position of African female artist in the world. In an interview with Intense Art Magazine in November 2017, she noted the serious gender imbalances in Africa and between Africa and West and said: "We need more Ivorian women photographers, African photographers and women photographers! “.

 

Seyni Awa Camara, 'Maternité Submergente', 1986, Bignona clay, 155 x 39 x 24 cm, Courtesy of Galerie MAGNIN

A very different profile but an artist all caught up in the sales of the market of international art, Seyni Awa Camara, nicknamed the "Potter of Casamance" (Senegal), where she is from and where she still lives, showcases a traditional art of pottery handed down from mother to daughter. Foreign to the artistic milieu, her relation to sculpture is characterized by a great spontaneity. The abundant forms that Seyni Awa Camara presents come as much from her imagination as from the myths and stories that surround her since childhood. The consideration of his creations on a world scale allows to open, through art, to different lifestyles and systems of thought, whether it is pottery in traditional context or the importance of certain symbols. For example, the recurring motif of motherhood in Seyni Awa Camara's work embodies more widely, for her and her culture, the virtuous idea of ​​fertility and fecundity.

Three different paths, three singular approaches to the world and art, but one contribution to contemporary African women's art.

 

Written by Eléa Sicre

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