In Paris, the contemporary art of Africa in the spotlight to break the cliché

In Paris, the contemporary art of Africa in the spotlight to break the cliché
/ Eric Feferberg

South African photographers, Algerian painters, Congolese visual artists: African artists are honored from Friday to Sunday at the contemporary art fair in central Paris where they hope to break the cliché around the continent's work.

"What is Congolese in my work? My soul and my spirit!", Laughs Brazzavillois Gastineau Massamba, who at the AKAA fair (also known as Africa) exhibits fabrics on canvas and cotton.

In his paintings on the subject of the family or new ways of information, the blink of his roots is discreetly designed as punished masks or teke reliquaries, artefacts of the tribes of Central Africa.

The fourth edition of the fair, which takes place in the bright exhibition hall of the Carreau du Temple in the heart of Paris, is invited to 14 exhibitors.

This year the book was blanche given to Dalil Dallese Bouzar, an artist of Algerian origin, who exhibits his work in the emblematic Cécile Fakhoury Gallery in Abidjan.

During the fair draws the portraits of the visitors she had created before.

"I said I would bring Africa to the heart of Paris and, depending on each person, there will be another makeup," he explains.

"I have a great interest in traditional rituals, ornaments, masks, everything people use to get to other forms of knowledge," he adds.

Do not cover up in "boxes"

If she says she is honored "to be one of the main representatives of the fair, which also represents a beautiful commercial platform, she regrets the owls of the art world.

"African Contemporary Art … For me, all these words are boxes, these are the boxes in which we die artists, but also the buyers, we all put them in boxes," regrets the artist.

"For example, collectors who are interested in African art when they see their work are not necessarily interested because it is an oil painting with more European style," he continues.

Boxes in which Gastineau Massamba does not want to be locked.

"Contemporary African art is about the sixties of the last century. The being of an African artist is a form of ghettoisation that I can not stand, I am an artist, and I am African," he says.

This year, artists from other countries called "South" are also awarded in the form of the impressive installation of Cuban artist Susana Pilar, which is at the heart of the show.

Illuminated boxes decorated with photographs of his family and a set of mirrors evoke his Chinese and African origins.

"Our primary goal is to divert and avert geographical areas. Our selection criteria are not nationalities and the place of life and work, it is a criterion for applying to Africa," says Victoria Mann, AKAA Director.

"The idea is to redraw the map of contemporary art, put it in the middle of Africa and this center to see all the axes, all the eyes, all the passages, south-south and north-south that are created," he continues.

Considering that the African galleries are multiplied and the recognition of artists on the continent is expanding, can AKAA always move?

"You can imagine," Victoria Mann adds, "through the development of arts centers, galleries, institutions, residences, fairs in Europe, Africa, the United States and America, Latin, that this market is stabilizing and conducive to sustainability.

Built in September 2017 in a refurbished grain elevator, the impressive contemporary art museum in Cape Town, South Africa, could be a serious candidate.

09.11.2018 08:35:20 –
Paris (AFP) –
© 2018 AFP

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