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AKAA: Africa as a field of observation for mondialité

Contemporary Art | To think about contemporary Africa is to reflect on the extensive continent’s plurality through common values, apprehending it as a field of observation for mondialité or worldliness. AKAA (Also Known as Africa), a young fair dedicated to the African art scene, has presented its second edition positioning itself as a fertile ground for observing the continent’s transformations through the precursory prism of artistic creation.

Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1889, Planisferio, 2015 © The artist
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Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1889, Planisferio, 2015
© The artist

The pioneering concept of mondialité was created by West Indian pœt Édouard Glissant. The author anticipated a new form of culture that would embrace the world’s diversities and specificities, as opposed to the mainstream culture produced by globalization. Nowadays Glissant’s thinking has gained more intensity and projection because of its relevant relation with Africa’s current reality and development.

The porosity between worlds and borders, time and space, is reflected in artistic practices that free themselves from post-colonial culture, positioning themselves in a reversed history : Malala Andrialavidrazana (Golborn) creates works in the shape of banknotes by using archival documents, letters and stamps from the 19th and 20th century. The artist emphasizes the concept of multiculturalism through a narrative that includes both global and local considerations. The sound installation Points de Résistance by Emo Medeiros (Dominique Fiat gallery) consists on the diffusion of sound archives intertwining international historical moments such as Radio Londres’ coded messages, Vietnam and Ghana’s declarations of independence, Mandela, Deleuze, James Baldwin, Churchill…

African megacities such as Lagos have become urban dynamic laboratories, where social and economic disruptions take place : Paul Alden Mvoutoukoulou’s Medicine Blues (2017, L’agence à Paris) denounces the smuggling of medicines with a model-sculpture in which imaginary cities are built with used medicine boxes.
The body, with its integrity, is a bearer of identities but it can also convey claims : artist Alice Pokuaa Opong (Artco) created a dress made of hair, with assembled parts that are intertwined in a complex way, reminding the viewer of a headdress.
Caribbean artist Jean-François Boclé’s artwork The Tears of Bananaman (Maelle), represents a body made of 300 kg of bananas with writings scarified on them. The fruits are destined to blacken throughout the exhibition’s duration, creating a mise en abîme of the notion of paradise.

Nina Rodrigues-Ely
Publié le 30/11/2017
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Version française

Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1889, Planisferio, 2015 © The artist Jean-François  Boclé,The Tears of Bananaman, 2012 © The artist Emo De Medeiros, Points de Résistance, 2017 © The artist / Dominique Fiat, Paris Alice Pokuaa Opong © Artco  Gallery

Malala Andrialavidrazana, Figures 1889, Planisferio, 2015
© The artist

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