Decolonization, genre struggle and funk music are on the program of this swarming journey, as delightful as it is revolt, offered at the Palais de Tokyo.
The museum welcomes the public with a neon by Madagascan artist Joel Andrianomearisoa. “Here we carry all the dreams in the world” is it written on the pediment and this slogan could well be the program of this season, titled: 6 Continents, or more.
The route begins between two huge sculptures with graceful curves, giant wooden cones painted in black. They are 8 to 10 meters high. These are the works of Serge Alain Nitegeka, a Burundian exiled in South Africa. They would represent the hills of Burundi, hills that open onto a luminous valley. This valley is the exhibition. Overview in 6 stages and 6 artists.
Here we carry all the dreams of the world
Dreams are sometimes nightmares. This is the case in Lagos, Nigeria. With his photographs, Sabelo Mlangeni immerses us in the Royale House of Allure, refuge of the queer community of the capital.
The strength of this testimony, of these images, lies in the confrontation between the joyful, glamorous exhibition and the worry, the distress that can be read in the eyes. For the LGBT + community, living in Lagos like this is dangerous, the term is weak. But in order not to be invisible, they, they, them, pose provocative and laughing. South African photographer Mlangeni spent six weeks in this safe haven from violence.
A forgotten and rediscovered cinema
In the basement, in this labyrinth with the eternal appearance of industrial wasteland, a projection room. Ten screens show excerpts from Sarah Maldoror’s films.
Sarah Maldoror was born in 1929 in Condom in the Gers of a Guadeloupe father whom she did not know. She is at the same time a pioneer of the 7th African art and holds a primordial place in the anti-colonial cinema. She realised more than forty films, features, shorts, documentaries, portraits of writers like Aimé Césaire or Louis Aragon.
Sarah Maldoror’s filmography cannot be summed up. It is abundant, poetic and political. There intersects negritude, communism and surrealism. In 1971, she wrote about her film: Guns for Banta : “C‘is the story of a peasant woman who, becoming aware of the political problems posed by the presence of the Portuguese colonialists, goes to militate inside her village “. These stories, the director filmed them. Alas, his work has disappeared in part but the restored films are to be discovered.
Michael Armitage, 20th century impressionism
Michael Armitage est kenyan. Promoted among the ten artists of “Painting in the New Millennium” by the Whitechapel Gallery (2020), he is what is known in the art market as a rising value. Sometimes the market would be right, so strange, mysterious and disturbing are his paintings made on Lubugo, a Ugandan bark cloth. The codes of classic paintings are delicately diverted.
His Venus is inspired by that of Velasquez, one thinks of Manet but in front of her they are standing men watching their prey. Sexual violence, terror, Armitage paints it with impressionist tones.
Across the ocean, Brazil
The canvases by Maxwell Alexandre, Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, appear to be large sheets stretched out in the sun. The public wanders between these floating lays. On the web, everyday life intersects with police abuses, the symbols of rap or bling bling advertising are embedded in the dilapidated settings of the favelas.
The lightness of the support contrasts with the purpose. He writes and explains: “Sometimes you have to hit racism in the face, but I don’t have the courage to physically hit someone, so I do it in painting.”
“The Library of Things We Forgot to Remember”
Without an archive, a nation does not exist. To take the opposite view of the memory imposed by the colonizers, Kudzanai Chiura, born in 1981 in Zimbabwe, designed a library, a place of conservation.
In this space, close to the literary salon, he brings together in all subjectivity, revolutionary leaflets, posters of resistance, vinyl cover. The plastic creativity of these radical movements is no longer to be celebrated, but brought together by Kudzanai Vhiura, it makes up a new memory of the African continent.
Because the borders were established by the colonizers by crushing the cultures of the inhabitants of the African continent, the artist wants to pay homage to the struggles and activists who blew up these limits.
In memory of a French expedition to Australia
Since the exhibition takes the form of an exploration, one had to remember the colonial expeditions. This is what does Jonathan Jones, Australian artist from the nations Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi from south-eastern Australia.
In 1800, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Captain Baudin report during a scientific expedition in distant Australia, thousands of specimens of unknown plants, mineral samples and sketches of Aborigines.
The Australian artist reproduces these plants, which have since been kept at the National Herbarium in Paris, to make embroidery. carried out by migrant women and Australian refugees in Sydney. What was the booty from a colonial trip returns, two centuries later as a delicate and wonderful work.
The subtitle of the Palais de Tokyo exhibition is Ubuntu, a lucid dream. Ubuntu is a Bantu term, we could translate it as “I am because we are “. This is how to visit 6 Continents, or more.
Exhibition “6 Continents, or more”
Tokyo Palace in Paris
Until March 20, 2022