Lumieres d`Afriques



Lumieres d`Afriques
de of:
With le
A group
2015 2015
4 au 24 4-24,
Théâtre National
National de
de Chaillot
en prélude à la COP21
médias :
Media partners:
Press kit
Lumières d’Afriques
Presentation of the Lumières d’Afriques Exhibition................................................. p. 03
54 Artists, 54 Works.............................................................................................................. p. 06
Planning Committee.............................................................................................................. p. 08
Genesis of an Exhibition...................................................................................................... p. 09
Interview with Gervanne Leridon, co-president, AAD............................................ p. 10
Interview with Jean-Michel Champault, artistic director....................................... p. 12
Presentation of the Exhibition by Franck Houndégla, exhibition designer... p. 16
“Africa, the Artist and Politics,” by Olivier Poivre d’Arvor..................................... p. 18
Exhibition Partners:
Fondation Schneider Electric............................................................................................ p. 20
Orange........................................................................................................................................ p. 22
Théâtre National de Chaillot.............................................................................................. p. 24
Tilder............................................................................................................................................ p. 26
About African Artists for Development........................................................................ p. 28
Bios of the Artists................................................................................................................... p. 29
Available Images..................................................................................................................... p. 44
Guinée Bissau
Sao Tomé
et Principe
du Sud
du Congo
du Sud
Lumières d’Afriques:
an exhibition as a prelude to COP21
The African Artists for Development endowment fund has organized an exhibition, open to the public, at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, November 4-24, 2015, prior to COP21. This initiative is a world
first in more ways than one.
For the first time in the history of contemporary art, 54 world-renowned artists, one for each country on the great African continent, will present a work inspired by a single theme: “The Illuminated
The 54 painters, sculptors, videographers and photographers featured in Lumières d’Afriques will
present their vision and, by extension, their hopes, dreams and fears for the future of their continent.
These artists — most of whom have shown their work in the world’s preeminent museums and major international events, such as the Venice Biennale — have accepted a dual creative challenge: to
create an original work of art on a unique theme, and to reveal their own personal source of inner
light by participating in a monumental video installation. The power of that video work expresses
both the vitality of contemporary African art and the critical challenges that Africa must face over
the next century.
For the first time in world political history, 54 African artists have committed to creating a single collaborative work of art, displaying their confidence in the fact that the African continent is entering its
own “Age of Enlightenment” in the 21st century. Lumières d’Afriques expresses the incandescence of
African art, culture and thought and the necessity of a dialogue with the world to conceive the future
of humanity. In that spirit, the Théâtre National de Chaillot, the emblematic location of the signing of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, has generously agreed to open its doors. In that
same sense of engagement, the Maison de la Culture, in Bobigny, will organize performances and
workshops that revolve around African creativity throughout the duration of the exhibition.
And finally, for the first time in economic history, 54 African artists have committed to reveal the
enormous challenge that energy access represents for the future of their continent — that is, “African
Lights” in the most literal sense. The artists in this exceptional exhibition call out to us with one simple
notion: There is no future, no growth and no progress without electricity. But too many Africans are
still without access to energy, which greatly impedes all development and contributes to the fact
that a growing portion of the population — in particular, young people — seek a future beyond the
borders of their native continent.
This exhibition has garnered extraordinary support. The support of its partners — Orange, the Schneider Electric Foundation, the Théâtre National de Chaillot and TILDER, who have agreed to support the exhibition in France and on it subsequent world tour. The support of its planning committee, which has assembled African and French personalities who are dedicated to the future of the
continent. And the support of its emblematic exhibition spaces, because after the exhibit’s public
presentation in November at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, the works will be shown at the Gare du
Nord in Paris, in December 2015, during COP21; then in Ivory Coast, with the support of the African
Development Bank, during the first quarter of 2016. The exhibition will subsequently go on tour in
Africa, Europe and the United States.
Since its inception, African Artists for Development has endeavored to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Lumières d’Afriques is a strong initiative, driven by the conviction that
African development and climate protection can dovetail harmoniously, and that contemporary art
can “add a bit of soul” to the continent’s growth. It is therefore quite natural that Lumières d’Afriques
is presented as a prelude to COP21, which will make Paris its capital in the battle against climate
change as the year 2015 draws to a close.
Press kit
Lumières d’Afriques
Lumières d’Afriques at the Théâtre National de Chaillot
November 4-24, 2015
Open to the public and free of charge
An initiative of the African Artists for Development endowment fund.
With the support of the Schneider Electric Foundation, Orange,
the Théâtre National de Chaillot and Tilder.
Artistic Director: Jean-Michel Champault
Exhibition Designer: Franck Houndégla
Opening Hours
• Tuesday - Friday, 5 pm - 11 pm
• Saturday, 11 am - 11 pm
• Sunday, 11 am - 6 pm
Directions to the Théâtre National de Chaillot
1 place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris
Entrance via the left wing of the Palais de Chaillot
Métro stop: Trocadéro (lines 6 and 9)
Bus: 22, 30, 32, 63, 72, 82
Press Contacts
Isabelle Baragan
+ 33 (0) 6 71 65 32 36
[email protected]
Emmanuelle Ledoux
+ 33 (0) 6 27 36 16 58
[email protected]
54 artists, 54 artworks
Athi-Patra Ruga, South Africa,
Miss Azania, Photography
Nabil Boutros, Egypt,
De l’ombre jaillit la lumière, Installation
Amina Zoubir, Algeria,
Le doute est désagréable mais la certitude est
ridicule, Wax and 25mm nails under plexiglas
Ermias Ekube, Eritrea,
Electricity is a Poetry of Science, Oil on linen
Franck Ludangi, Angola,
Droit d’accès à l’énergie équitable, Acrylic
pigments, collage and gouache on handmade
Aïda Muluneh, Ethiopia,
Darkness Give Way to Light (Chelema le
berhane botawen seelek), Photography
Aston, Benin,
Weziza, World map and collected items
Neo Matome, Botswana,
Green Energy, 2015, Photographies and digital
Nyaba Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso,
Génération C : connexion, communication,
culture et création, Photography
Teddy Mazina, Burundi,
Résistance Romantique, Photography
Hervé Youmbi, Cameroon,
La forêt illuminée, Video
Tchalé Figueira, Cape Verde,
The Future, Acrylic on canvas
Nathalie Mba Bikoro, Gabon,
Future Monuments, Photography on light Box
Njogu Touray, Gambia,
Amalgam, Mixed media on canvas
Paa Joe, Ghana,
Electric Bulb, Wood sculpture
Namsa Leuba, Guinea,
Ndebele Pattern Silver, Photography
Nu Barreto, Guinée Bissau,
Sukuru (Twilight), Acrylic on marouflaged
Arturo Bibang, Equatorial Guinea,
Puerta Iluminada, Photography
Cyrus Nganga Kabiru, Kenya,
Alternative/Solution, Metal sculpture (bike)
Dieudonné Sana Wambeti, Central African
Le Messager, Oil on canvas
Thakane Lerotholi, Lesotho,
KHANYA/LIGHT, Ceramic sculpture
Napalo Mroivili, Comoros,
The Future, Acrylic on traditional cotton shawl
Leslie Lumeh, Liberia,
The Light Within, Oil on canvas
Gastineau Massamba, Congo,
673 A, Fabric / Embroidery on canvas
Naziha Arebi, Libya,
Reflexions on Black Gold, Installation, printing
on canvas and soundtrack
Steve Bandoma, Democratic Republic of
Digi-Nsiki (Lost Tribe Series), Watercolor and
collage on paper
Malala Andrialavidrazana, Madagascar,
Der sudliche gestirnte Himmel vs Planiglob der
Antipoden, Photography/Digital Manipulation
Paul Sika, Ivory Coast,
Glôglô Gospel, Photography on light box
Samson Kambalu, Malawi,
Invention (1976), Video installation
Maan Youssouf Ahmed, Djibouti,
Not There Yet, Photographs
Abdoulaye Konaté, Mali,
Homme nature II, Mixed media on fabrics
Jamila Lamrani, Morocco,
Africa Dreams, Installation
Deng Majid Chol, South Sudan,
Happy People, Acrylic on canvas
Doung Anwar Jahangeer, Mauritius,
BlackLight - WhiteCoal, Philips Bulb 100 watts,
240volts, crushed coal from a South African
mining company (Richard Bay)
Noah Mduli, Swaziland,
Turning on the Light, Light sculpture in stone
Amy Sow, Mauritania,
Energie Durable, Oil on canvas and wood
Gonçalo Mabunda, Mozambique,
The Light at the End of the Tunnel, Recycled
weapons and metal
Herman Mbamba, Namibia,
The Meeting, Acrylic on paper,
Ibrahim Chahamata, Niger,
Emity Na-Zahir (Climate Change), Oil on
Emeka Okereke, Nigeria,
Light Switch, Photography
Hellen Nabukenya, Ouganda,
Key, Fabric wall Sculpture
Rehema Chachage, Tanzania,
ANGUKA (FALL), Plywood plates and strings
of light
Abdoulaye Barry, Chad,
Série Délestage (Power Cut), Photographs
Tété Camille Azankpo, Togo,
Ma lanterne, Wood, metal enamelled and
acrylic on wood plate
Mouna Jemal Siala, Tunisia,
La sphère transparente, Digital photography
Nolan Oswald Dennis, Zambia,
The Yams (Eminence grise), Grey blanket,
wooden frame, LED light box
Berry Bickle, Zimbabwe,
TOUCH, Photographs and digital manipulation
Epaphrodite Binamungu, Rwanda,
Soleil pour tous, Acrylic on canvas
René Tavares, São Tomé et Principe,
Série The Next Future, Photographs
Soly Cissé, Senegal,
The Future, Acrylic and collage on canvas
Christine Chetty, Seychelles,
African Sun, Mixed media on canvas
John Goba, Sierra Leone,
The Missellinius Mask Head, Wood sculpture,
textile and porcupine quills
Mustafa Saeed, Somalia,
Peace & Milk, Photography and digital collage
Hassan Musa, Sudan,
Flower Power, Ink on fabrics,
Planning Committee
Hortense Archambault
Co-director of the Avignon Festival from 2004 to 2013, Archambault previously
served as production administrator for the Parc de la Grande Halle de la Villette.
She currently directs MC93, Maison de la Culture de la Seine-Saint Denis, in Bobigny.
Elé Asu
Beginning her journalistic career on the Direct 8 channel, Asu has presented Réussite,
a TV magazine program on the African economy for Canal+ Africa, since January 2014.
Jean-Louis Borloo
Attorney and former minister Borloo founded the Energies Pour l’Afrique
foundation in 2014.
Gervanne Colboc-Leridon
An auctioneer, journalist and writer, Colboc-Leridon is co-director
of African Artists for Development.
Didier Deschamps
A dancer and choreographer, Deschamps was formerly director of the
Centre Choréographique Nationale - Ballet de Lorraine, in Nancy. Since 2011,
he has served as director of the Théâtre National de Chaillot.
Matthias Leridon
President of Tilder, Leridon is co-director of African Artists for Development.
Osvalde Lewat
An internationally award-winning film director, Lewat’s work is inspired
by her two passions – documentary filmmaking and photography.
Henri Lopes
A writer and diplomat, Lopes was prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
from 1973 to 1975. He has served as Congolese ambassador to France, since 1988.
Olivier Poivre d’Arvor
A writer and diplomat, Poivre d’Arvor has been director of France Culture
since 2010. He is also president of the board of directors of the
Musée National de la Marine (National Navy Museum).
Genesis of an Exhibition
The 21st century is and will be Africa’s own Age of Enlightenment. That powerful conviction is at
the origin of the Lumières d’Afriques exhibition, initiated by African Artists for Development. The
exhibition’s title can be translated as “African Lights,” in every sense of the term.
“African Lights” because AAD is convinced that the incandescence of African artists gives meaning
and illuminates the development of the continent.
“African Lights” because the access to energy — and therefore to light! — is a right to which every
human being must have access. And it’s difficult, if not impossible, to learn, to undertake anything or
to develop without electricity.
As we reach the end of 2015, and Paris becomes the world capital of climate protection, AAD has
commissioned 54 artists — one for each country on the African continent — to submit a work on
the theme of “The Illuminated Africa.” Their artworks simultaneously illustrate: the ambition of an
artistically luminous century, the importance of access to energy on all continents, and the imperative
that their development is based on technologies that will not increase greenhouse gas emissions and
thereby contribute to global warming.
Be they photographs, paintings, sculptures or performances, these 54 pieces offer a vision of the
diversity, power and uniqueness of contemporary African art, the riches of which remain far too
unrecognized. They also lead us to reflect on the challenges facing the development of the African
Beyond that, AAD asked those 54 artists to film themselves in their environment during the creation
of their artworks. This novel approach allows us to dive into the heart of the creative process, its
driving force, its doubts and its investigations. Those videos will be assembled into a monumental
installation, becoming a new piece, a unique testament to the inspiration and transcendence of the
creativity of these artists, anchored in their daily reality to better escape it.
Lumières d’Afriques is brimming with passion and conviction — a passion for contemporary African
art and the conviction that development is everyone’s business and must be done by respecting
everyone. The AAD family is united behind these strong ideas. Lumières d’Afriques is a tribute to
contemporary African creativity and a reflection of our confidence in the future of the African
Interview with Gervanne Leridon,
Co-President, African Artists for Development
© Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo
Why did you decide to create the AAD endowment?
Founding AAD was an incredible opportunity in my life — I was able to put my passion at the
service of my values! The entire AAD team, my husband, Matthias Leridon, and I stare the strong
conviction that development is everyone’s business, because it is our common future. Therefore,
it is our duty to contribute to it, to the best of our abilities. Art plays a major role in that process
because it is our past, our present and our future. Recent events have proven that. When a
civilization is attacked, art and artists are often the first victims. Our goal is to spotlight the
tremendous talent that Africa abounds in, be it entrepreneurial or artistic. Facilitating a dialogue
between those involved; creating alliances for progress between cultures, women and men; and
integrating contemporary art… — that’s the future of a continent that is being reborn.
Can you tell us how the idea for this
exhibition came about?
I spent much of my childhood in Africa and I now live in South Africa part of the time. Traveling
back and forth to the African continent gradually spawned the idea for ​​
the exhibition. In a
plane, I’m always struck by the inky darkness suspended over Africa. Even flying over crowded
metropolises, hovering in that black obscurity gives rise to an incomparable feeling. That absence
of any luminous glow is unsettling — simultaneously magical and disturbing. At the same time,
contemporary African art is luminous, radiating intensity, incandescence and beauty.
“Lumières d’Afriques” was conceived out of that dual reality. It’s a pioneering exhibition in many
ways. Pioneering in that, for the first time, all 54 countries on the continent are present, each
represented by the work by an artist. Pioneering again because, for the first time, 54 artists have
agreed to jointly create an original work of art based upon a theme: “The Illuminated Africa.” And
finally pioneering because, for the first time, 54 artists will “spotlight” one crucial issue: the right to
energy for the future of their continent. Again, I strongly believe that art is an indispensable vehicle
in the development and dialogue within Africa, and between Africa and the rest of the world.
The wealth of contemporary African art; economic, societal and technological developments;
the battle against climate change within the framework of COP21 — this exhibition has the great
ambition of attempting to embody all that at once, in one remarkable, unique, groundbreaking
artistic endeavor!
Precisely what role do you think art and artists should play in the development of the African
A major role! That conviction is at the very heart of AAD’s existence. The sensory prism through
which artists offer us a glimpse of the world is very different from the technological, economic and
scientific vision that tends to dominate discussions — too much so, it seems to me. I am convinced
that Africa’s artistic scope is not sufficiently appreciated. In that sense, “Lumières d’Afriques”
is also a powerful cultural adventure. Meeting these exceptional, committed artists, talking to
them, promoting their art is both a challenge and an opportunity. That is what we wanted to
share with the public by offering each artist the ability to film the development of his/her piece
in the environment in which it was created, and to discuss his/her sources of inspiration. Those
videos, screened at the exhibition, transform their testimonials into an incomparable work of art,
produced in collaboration by all 54 artists.
Was it one work in particular that ignited your passion for contemporary African art?
More than a single work, I’d be more inclined to mention the legendary exhibition “Magiciens de
la terre” (“Earthly Magicians,” at the Centre Pompidou in 1989), which had a tremendous impact
on me.
Do you think there’s anything particular to Africa in producing works of art?
No. There’s nothing particular to African art. What’s unique is the uniqueness of each artist. Their
gaze, what they decide to express. However, I would say that I find certain elements in these works
particularly striking, profoundly seductive. I’m thinking of the use of color, for example — colors
we see only in Africa, which have a rare intensity. Some images also. In fact, there’s an artistic
incandescence, a palpable light that creates a deep, carnal emotion.
What will the follow-up of this exhibition be?
The objective of this exhibition is clear: to use this exceptional artistic event to raise consciousness
about the essential issue, which is to provide all of Africa with electricity, via efficient networks
based on sustainable technologies. So the vocation of this exhibition is to follow that path, to take
a stand on an international stage. Our ultimate goal is that this exhibition will, one day, become
the symbol of that realization and a continental commitment to a new, respectful growth of the
individual, the planet and our climate. Beginning in 2016, the exhibition will travel well beyond
European borders. In early 2016, the show will be exhibited at the African Development Bank in
Abidjan. The works of art in “Lumières d’Afriques” deserve to circle the globe.
Interview with Jean-Michel Champault,
Artistic Director of “Lumières d’Afriques”
After serving as director of French cultural institutes, as well as
cultural attaché to French embassies in several Sub-Saharan
African countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique,
Ethiopia, Nigeria, etc.), Jean-Michel Champault was commissioned
by the French Association for Artistic Action (AFAA, currently
know as the Institut Français) to oversee cooperation agreements
between local French authorities and the AFAA, from 1995 to 2000.
In 2009, he participated in the creation of AAD. As Managing
Director for Programs and Cultural and Artistic Action, he supervises
the organization’s arts programs and endowment fund. He has
© Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo
simultaneously overseen a major private collection of contemporary
African art for ten years.
What are the principles upon which this exhibition was conceived?
“Lumières d’Afriques” is a highly original event — the first of its kind in the exhibition world —
based upon precise, unique specifications. We wanted to bring together 54 contemporary African
artists, one for each country on the continent, and commission an original work, specially designed
for our project, around a theme that’s both societal (Africa, as the continent of the 21st century,
experiencing its own “Enlightenment”) and environmental, linked to the right to have access to
light and energy on that continent, which is pitch dark at night. And all within a very short period
of time, as the artists were only approached in March of 2015. Through “Lumières d’Afriques,”
our ambition is to offer a wide audience — initiated or not — a vast panorama of contemporary
African art, by presenting the work of a group of artists that is very diverse in terms of their
careers, origins and paths, in an unconventional space, which is neither a museum nor a gallery.
The Théâtre National de Chaillot emerged as a symbol (that’s where the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights was signed in 1948), as well as a space that bestows great importance upon
contemporary art, through the dance and theatrical performances it hosts. That will allow us to
reach a wider audience — socially, geographically and esthetically — and to move beyond the usual
context of a contemporary Paris art event, especially by offering such exceptional opening hours.
How were the artists selected?
The AAD Endowment Fund organized this exhibition. AAD has had a presence in numerous
countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for many years, so we’re in close contact with that art world —
be it in the realm of dance, music or the visual arts — and therefore were able to rely on a strong
network in approaching these artists.
That said, most of the artists exhibiting in “Lumières d’Afriques” are already well known in the
contemporary art world. They’ve all shown their work in galleries in Europe, Africa and the United
States, and are increasingly participating in art fairs and biennales. That is, for example, the case
of the great Nigerian photographer Emeka Okereke, who founded the photographers’ collective
Invisible Borders/The Trans-African Photography Project, whose members travel around the world.
Or Gonçalo Mabunda, the sculptor from Mozambique who, following the civil war in his country,
contributed to the creation of the Transforming Arms into Art movement, of which he is now a
leader. The public will also discover the work of Berry Bickle (Zimbabwe), a woman who works on
the theme of exile and memory, or Ethiopian photographer Aïda Muluneh, who moved back to Addis
Ababa to continue her work, after living in the US for several years. She founded a photography
biennial, which currently draws countless artists and professionals from around the world.
Whatever their degree of notoriety, whether part of the diaspora or not, what’s striking about all
these artists is their strong, vital connection to their country of origin.
In any case, these 54 artists all deserve to be better known. With that in mind, in addition to their
work of art, we asked them all to create a 54-second video describing their artistic development
and showing their workspace. The results — all different, all exciting — will afford the audience a
genuine immersion into their creative process.
Can they be described as emerging artists?
The artists I’ve mentioned are recognized and celebrated on the international scene. They haven’t
been emerging artists for a long time. However, we also wanted to include artists who have had
less exposure and are just beginning to break through, like Aston from Benin, who was discovered
at the Cotonou Biennale and has just exhibited in Sao Paulo and Paris. His work is based on
recovering domestic and industrial waste and giving it a new life in very powerful works of art.
Or South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga, whose work has taken on a global scale in recent years.
He’s created a work at the juncture of fashion and performance art, openly questioning identity,
alienation and gender issues in a protean piece. We were also eager to ensure that lesser known
artists from countries where cultural life is currently on the back burner (Libya, South Sudan,
Somalia, Liberia) had an opportunity to show their work beyond their own borders. The exhibition
will introduce some artists from countries in great difficulty to Western and African audiences alike.
Can we attempt to determine the conditions African artists work in today?
In any case, what we can see is that their situation is evolving rapidly and that the dynamism and
changes on the continent also have a direct effect on artistic production. I’m primarily thinking
about the spectacular urban development that’s affecting so many artists. Today, they’re no longer
isolated; they have access to the Internet (when there have electricity, that is). Training centers
and art schools are popping up, and younger artists are reaching the art market with many more
“professional” tools than they had ten years ago. The art world is becoming structured; biennials
are held across the continent and are gradually gaining international recognition. Meanwhile, an art
market is developing in the West, attracting collectors and generating auctions and contemporary
African art fairs, like 1:54 in London and New York.
Regarding that dynamism, would you say African artists are now in the same position that
Chinese artists were in a few years ago?
The difference is that Chinese artists were highly supported by many collectors in their countries.
In contrast, African countries (with the possible exception of South Africa) have a fairly weak
national support system for artists, and collectors are still far too few. The situation is still evolving,
thanks to the proliferation of grass-roots local initiatives. At the moment, most counties are not
well mobilized, nor very active in cultural policy-making practices.
What other specific features of African art can we identify?
Rather than discuss the specificity of African art, I’d prefer to discuss specific artists.
The theme that we’ve given those 54 artists for this project necessitated a significant societal
commitment. Beyond that commission, we were stunned to see how naturally mobilized the
African artists were regarding their continent’s development issues. The right to energy is key to
development, and they dove into the subject with great passion.
Furthermore, we are particularly pleased with the significant number of women in this exhibition.
Some of them are, indeed, extremely engaged artists on the societal battlefront, which crosses
over and profoundly nourishes the art they produce. Algerian videographer and photographer
Amina Zoubir, Libyan filmmaker Naziha Arevi and Tanzanian artist Rehema Chachage are a few
So were the constraints imposed by the specifics of the exhibition welcomed by the artists?
Yes. They all played the game with enthusiasm and conviction. And we cannot thank them enough.
I, for one, am particularly struck by the generosity and solidarity of African artists and their desire
to pitch in, when it comes to their country’s development, which is often reflected in their work.
We were eager to see the diversity of their work (the event is entitled “Lumières d’Afriques” — in
the plural form). Yet, we found that all the artists were bound by a common history, probably
inherited from colonialism and links with the West.
The artists express themselves within their own means, with various forms of esthetics, but their
vision of the world is conditioned by a grim past, marked by slavery, racism and dictatorship. That
explains why African art is naturally given to resistance, activism and the struggle against more
or less obvious forms of tyranny.
It’s also a vision of the world that, despite a fairly gloomy context, often remains optimistic, which
we’d like to make known and share with a wide audience. African stereotypes are still firmly
planted in our minds and we think this type of event may also contribute to evolving attitudes.
John Goba - Sierra Leone
The Missellinius Mask Head
Sculpture of wood, textiles, porcupine quills, 186 x 150 cm
© Mathieu Lombard
Presentation of Lumières d’Afriques
by Franck Houndégla, exhibition designer
Franck Houndégla has worked as set designer and museum and
exhibition designer since 1990. He has created public spaces and
heritage sites in France and around the world, and teaches in art,
design and architecture schools, including the School of African
Heritage (EPA) in Porto Novo, Benin. Since 2012, he has served as
artistic director of the Liaisons Urbaines program, which develops
public spaces in African cities, in collaboration with the Cité de
l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, in Paris, and the EPA.
© Thierry Hensgen/Institut Français
The exhibition has been designed as an installation that will temporarily occupy the magnificent
Palais de Chaillot. The concept behind its layout responds to three criteria: first of all, to visually
distinguish itself from its host’s space, by affirming its status as an installation event; secondly, to
respect the physical integrity of an historic building dedicated to the performing arts and not to
the presentation of art exhibitions; and finally, to bring harmony to an exhibition of works that are
extremely diverse in type, technique and esthetics, even if the way they fit into the physical space
was delineated well before they were created. All that is to provide the visitor with a trajectory
that offers each piece its own space.
From the top of the grand staircase to the grand foyer, the itinerary is organized as a series of
stations that progressively lead the visitor into the very heart of the subject matter: the question
of energy and light.
Greeted by a projection of the event’s visual — a graphic display in the shape of the African
continent — the visitor then sees a vast geographical map spread across the floor below,
representing the continents in their actual proportions. That map, which can be walked across,
is supported by social, environmental, economic and technological data, presenting the major
contemporary issues facing the African continent.
Continuing the descent, we see a large luminous sculpture, once again rendering the event’s
visual graphic, now in 3-dimensional form. Further along, a film spotlighting each of the 54 artists
participating in the exhibition will be projected. The visitor then enters a long, very high corridor,
where a series of 2-dimensional works are on display. Then we reach a sprawling, light-filled space
that opens onto the Trocadero esplanade — the grand foyer — in which sculptures, paintings,
installations and videos are exhibited on walls, platforms and in small screening rooms.
Franck Ludangi - Angola
Le droit d’accès à l’énergie équitable, 2015.
Acrylic pigments, collage and gouache on handmade paper, 80 x 54.5 cm
Africa, the Artist and Politics
The contemporary African artist has entered into art history. That’s obvious to those in the know,
and they compose their messages to the nations without flourish. If there were a “political”
speech — in stark contrast to the 2007 address in Dakar— at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in
November 2015, on the occasion of the Lumières d’Afriques exhibition, it would unhesitatingly
testify that much has been accomplished in a decade or two. If it is untrue, as we sometimes read,
that modern Western art from the first half of the 20th century owes everything to Africa, the
presence of artists from the African continent on the global contemporary art scene is a reality
that is evinced by selections at recent Venice Biennales and major international art fairs, as well
as by the commitment of a handful of patrons, collectors and gallery owners around the world —
admittedly, too few — and, more generally, in the zeitgeist, the public taste… That “trendy Africa,”
yet another cliché on the heels of a “backward Africa.”
Venice is a case in point. National pavilions are still rare, despite a recent attempt at a so-called
“African” pavilion off the Giardini della Biennale site. This year, in 2015, South Africa, Angola, Egypt,
Zimbabwe and, for the first time, Mozambique were represented. All we can do is strongly advise
Michaëlle Jean, the new, extremely dynamic Secretary General of the International Organization
of the Francophonie, to support the representation of French-speaking African artists in the way
that the Commonwealth or Portuguese-speaking organizations do not hesitate to do for Englishor Portuguese- speaking countries. Because there is no shortage of talent among African artists.
Some are children of the diaspora, living in London, Berlin, Paris and the United States, in the
center of the art market. Others have remained at home, on the continent. It’s no longer even
a matter of scouting them out — many are critics and curators, like Nigerian Okwui Enwezor,
to whom we owe the presence of Gonçalo Mabunda, Massinissa Selmani and Sammy Baloji in
Venice this summer... while Kader Attia and Pascal Marthine Tayou have a significant presence at
prominent art events in the U.K., Switzerland, France, the Lyon Biennale, etc.
Lumières d’Afriques poses the only real question worth asking. By offering up a sort of United
States of Africa, with artists originating from each country on the continent, this exhibition serves
as a reminder to a few major international organizations — beginning with the African Union, based
in Addis Ababa and chaired by the controversial Robert Mugabe, as well as numerous regional
economic communities — of the value (marketing, soft power, etc.) these artists represent for the
African nations. How many governments on the continent are aware of that? For every Samuel
Sidibé, director of the National Museum of Mali and head of the Bamako Photography Biennale,
how many countries showing at the Palais de Chaillot have no ministry of culture worthy of that
name, no space devoted to contemporary creation, no art school, no collection, museum, gallery,
no market, no recognition or consideration for local artists? So we have one message for the 54
governments of the countries of the artists in Lumières d’Afriques. Name them all ambassadors for
the duration of this exhibition! Through their work, they often speak more eloquently than many
a diplomat of the genius loci of Africa!
Olivier Poivre d’Arvor
Writer, ambassador in charge of promoting French culture
Athi-Patra Ruga - South Africa
Miss Azania
Photograph 120 x 80 cm
Image Courtesy of Athi-Patra Ruga and WhatiftheworldGallery
Our world is experiencing more intense changes than ever before, with the unprecedented
acceleration of urbanization, digitization and industrialization. For the first time, new
technologies are allowing us to distribute and connect energy, which leads us to rethink
our lifestyles. Meanwhile, an estimated 1.1 billion people in the world had no access to
electricity in 2014, and 2.9 billion have no efficient means of cooking, according to the
Global Tracking Framework 2015 - Sustainable Energy for All.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, these issues directly affect between 580 and 650 million people,
or about 70% of the population. At Schneider Electric, we believe that access to energy
is a fundamental human right. We want every person on the planet to have access to
energy that’s steady, reliable, efficient and sustainable. In addition, we are committed to
providing innovative solutions to the energy paradox — to find a balance between our
planet’s carbon footprint and everyone’s undeniable right to quality energy.
That’s the challenge of our Access to Energy program. The Schneider Electric Foundation,
under the aegis of the Fondation de France is making a significant contribution to
reaching that goal. It allows disadvantaged populations to acquire the ability and knowhow that will guarantee them a responsible, reliable career that will provide them and
their families with the means to a satisfying life. Its role is also to raise awareness of
those issues among as many people as possible.
The Lumières d’Afriques exhibition, at the initiative of African Artists for Development,
is a wonderful opportunity to give African artists a voice and to share their vision on the
importance of energy.
Together we can make a difference.
Gilles Vermot Desroches,
Group Managing Director, Sustainability Foundation and Schneider Electric
Véronique Roquet-Montégon, Schneider Electric
[email protected]
Emeka Okereke – Nigeria
Light Switch
Digital photograph 120 x 80 cm
© Emeka Okereke
Orange is particularly active in Africa. We are greatly invested in the continent, which is
a key growth area for the Group.
With a presence in 19 countries, we contribute to the continent’s digital development
through network expansion, as well as innovation and support for features like mobile
payments and money transfers.
Our Orange Money solution has already won over more than 14 million customers, many
of whom do not have bank accounts.
Finally, the Group is a responsible, committed participant, with the particularly strong
presence of the Orange Foundation and our CSR activities. It also provides a means for
everyone to discover the digital world.
So it was only natural for Orange to add its voice to the Lumières d’Afriques exhibition’s
message of solidarity, humanity and innovation.
I am proud to offer such committed, talented African artists the opportunity to show
their work at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, and I encourage the public to attend and
discover them!
Stéphane Richard
CEO, Groupe Orange
Marie-Paule Freitas, Orange
[email protected]
Gonçalo Mabunda – Mozambique
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Metal sculpture with recycled weapons
120 x 120 cm
© Mathieu Lombard
The fascination that the Arts and Cultures of the immense African continent spawn
testifies to the extraordinary wealth, diversity, power and individuality of artists from
each of its 54 nations.
The Théâtre National de Chaillot is particularly delighted and proud to host this
remarkable — and unique — event, offering the public a glimpse into the vision and
perspective of these often extremely engaged artists. Working in very diverse forms,
they address universal themes, in particular that of ecology. That problematic, which no
citizen of the world can escape, of which each of us has a stake in the “solution,” spans
numerous artistic interpretations.
Enriched by performances and readings of works by African authors, the Lumières
d’Afriques exhibition is a powerful invitation to mobilize to build a more united world.
Didier Deschamps
Catherine Papeguay, Théâtre National de Chaillot
[email protected]
Aïda Muluneh - Ethiopia
Darkness Give Way to Light (Chelema le berhane botawen seelek)
Photograph and body painting
120 x 120 cm
© Aïda Muluneh
The Lumières d’Afriques exhibition is firmly rooted in the logic of the projects that Tilder
has supported for 25 years — meaningful projects conducive to generating, nurturing
and developing our great societal debates. Committed projects promoting dialogue
with the arts and the creative world, a dialogue between cultures, and respect for human
Dedicated to the recognition of the incredible dynamism in contemporary African art,
and committed to the future of the African continent, Tilder has supported African
Artists for Development since its inception. A global arts event, its scope both cultural
and political, Lumières d’Afriques embodies that dynamism. Fifty-four works of art
grouped together in the Théâtre National de Chaillot, where the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights was signed, as Paris prepares to welcome COP21.
A commitment to freedom, the battle against climate change, a meaningful artistic
initiative — those are three battles that Tilder is very eager to take part in.
Tilder is proud to support this exhibition, which goes far beyond the mere promotion
of the African art world’s leading lights, but rather expresses a new avenue of solidarity
between its nations.
Matthias Leridon
Anne Turon-Lacarrieu, Tilder
[email protected]
Abdoulaye Konaté - Mali
L’Homme Nature
Textiles 120 x 120 cm
Image courtesy: Abdoulaye Konaé and the Primo Marella Gallery
About African Artists for Development
Founded by Gervanne and Matthias Leridon in 2009, in response to the United Nations’ Millennium
Development Goals (MDG), the African Artists for Development (AAD) endowment fund supports
community development projects linked to the work of contemporary African artists. The Clinton
Global Initiative has honored the organization’s original approach, and the AAD has been named
an observer member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). African
Artists for Development was born out of the deep-seated conviction that the commitment of
contemporary African artists to development projects is one of the best ways to build a better
future for the continent.
By initiating this artistic event, AAD supports the concept that contemporary African artists are
also participants in building the future of their continent through the meaning, conscience and
esthetics inherent in their work.
AAD’s various programs touched the lives of more than one million Africa men, women and
children in 2014.
In particular:
• Inhabitants of UNHCR refugee camps in Chad, the Central African Republic, Burundi and Burkina
Faso participated in our Refugees on the Move program, which uses contemporary dance as a
tool for psychological recovery and social and cultural mediation within the camps.
• Disadvantaged students in South African townships took part in Township Orchestra, a program
utilizing music as a means of reintegration for families and academic achievement for students.
• Students in Cotonou, Benin are now able to take advantage of the first Beautiful Library of Benin
on a daily basis.
• People in the Democratic Republic of the Congo suffering from AIDS have been accepted,
supported and cared for. Some 250,000 copies of the comic book/prevention tool, Les Diamants
de Kamituga, has generated a 40% increase in HIV screening tests in South Kivu Province
South Africa
Athi-Patra Ruga
Born in Umtata in 1984, Athi-Patra Ruga, a leading artist on the South African scene, lives and
works in Johannesburg and Cape Town. A multidisciplinary artist at the crossroads of fashion
and contemporary art, he questions notions of identity, alienation and the symbiosis between
body and mind. His performances, videos, photographs and textile works plunge the viewer into
subversive and fantastic universes, tinged with provocation and eroticism.
Amina Zoubir
Amina Zoubir was born in Algiers in 1983 and is a visual artist and filmmaker. With degrees in
graphic design from the Higher School of Fine Arts in Algiers in 2006 and the University of Paris
8, she subsequently embarked upon PhD research in the esthetics of contemporary art. Her work
examines the status of women and its projection within the worldwide urban space, and more
specifically within the Arab world. She has curated numerous video art exhibitions in Algeria and
Franck Lundangi
Franck Lundangi was born in Angola in 1958 and lives and works in France. A multi-faceted
man, he began his career as a professional soccer player in Africa, before becoming impassioned
by art soon after he moved to France in 1990. His style is simple and elegant and employs
various techniques, including painting, printmaking, sculpture and watercolor. He most notably
participated in the 2004 Africa Remix.
BeninBorn in Benin in 1964, Aston (Serge Mikpon) began his career as a musician. Self-taught,
he first became interested in painting, then devoted himself to sculpture and art installations.
Concerned about ecology, he resuscitates garbage, transforming it from its original function and
recycling it into powerful, accusatory works of art. In particular, he makes allusion to the 18th
century slave trade and WWII massacres, in the name of memory and denouncing collective
Neo Matome
Neo Matome was born in Johannesburg in 1967 and lives and works in Botswana. As an engaged
artist working primarily in digital photography, she addresses femininity and issues of gender,
sexuality and power in Southern African societies. She currently works as a graphic designer
at the University of Botswana and has contributed to advancing the visual arts, as a founding
committee member of the Thapong Visual Arts Centre, a networking, workshop and exhibition
space, in 1989.
Burkina Faso
Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo
Nyaba L. Ouedraogo was born in Burkina Faso in 1978. Forced to give up sports following an
accident and, shaped by his curiosity of the world, he taught himself photography. His work, a
kind of artistic and documentary exploration, subverts the vision of Africa handed down from
the colonial era and scrutinizes the continent through a social magnifying glass. Ever aware of
the stronghold of mystical beliefs, he addresses marginalization, financial insecurity and the
environmental consequences of waste.
Teddy Mazina
An engaged photographer and journalist born in Bujumbura in 1972, Teddy Mazina illustrates the
turbulent and bloody history of his country. Beyond his struggle for peace and democracy, he
militantly advocates freedom of expression and cofounded the Piga Picha image bank in 2010.
Defining himself as a “memory activist,” he hopes that his emotionally charged photographs will
combat indifference in the face of death and encourage civic consciousness.
Hervé Youmbi
Hervé Youmbi was born in 1973 and lives and works in Cameroon. Passionate about drawing
and painting since childhood, he turned to mixed-media installation and works investing the
urban public space. Inspired by history, he denounces Cameroon’s colonial past and its recent
dictatorships. Given his interest in introspection and a search for identity, his work revolves around
portraiture. As a teacher, he champions the work of many young artists and his K Factory serves
as a space of cultural exchange.
Cape Verde
Tchalé Figueira
Tchalé Figueira was born in São Vicente in 1953, moved to Switzerland in 1974, then moved back
to Mindelo in 1985. A multidisciplinary artist, he expresses himself through painting and drawing,
music, writing and poetry. His visual artwork, injected with bright colors and distorted forms, is
a skillful combination of the real and dreamlike, observation and imagination. Inspired by comical
scenes of daily life and aberrations of the human condition, he condemns political and social
Central African Republic
Dieudonné Sana Wambeti
Dieudonné Sana Wambeti was born in Begoua in 1977 and lives and works in Bangui. At the age
of 14, he studied easel painting in Michel Ouabanga’s studio. After doing commissioned portraits
from photographs, he moved toward a more personal form of expression, with the goal of raising
environmental consciousness among his compatriots. Inspired by daily life and his country’s
lush vegetation, his somewhat naïve and surrealist paintings come out of his reflections on his
country’s future.
Napalo Mroivili
Ali Mroivili, a.k.a. Napalo, was born in 1961 in Moroni, Comoros, where he continues to live and
work. His paintings are a game of illusion, camouflage and, more generally, of cleverly executed
tableaux that are both paradoxical and comical. Employing irony and humor, he presents the
viewer with the absurd contradictions within certain universal situations and thoughts, subverting
preconceived ideas. An ambassador of Comorian culture, he addresses issues of identity and
globalization in his own way.
Gastineau Massamba
Gastineau Massamba was born in Poto-Poto Brazzaville in 1973 and lives and works in Paris. He
was introduced to art by his father, then a professor at the Brazzaville National School of Fine
Arts. He then studied at the Tsiémé art school, in Talangaï, under the tutelage of Remy Mongo
Etzion. A sculptor, painter and poet, his work vacillates between paintings, performance art and
installations. He works in various media, especially textiles. An investigation into the human body
is at the heart of his work.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Steve Bandoma
Steve Bandoma was born in Kinshasa in 1981 and began his career in South Africa, before returning
to his native country in 2012. Employing mixed media, his works are realized through a controlled
combination of splashing paint and ink, building chromatic textures in watercolor, picture
collages, and drawn or written background motifs. He creates novel portraits of mutant beings
that embody the hustle and bustle of modern urban society in constant transformation.
Ivory Coast
Paul Sika
Paul Sika was born in Abidjan in 1985, holds a degree in computer science from Westminster,
became acquainted with cinema and photography in London, then returned to his homeland.
He came up with his own photographic style — “photo-making” — a very original confluence
of photography and filmmaking. He simultaneously draws upon computer science, which he
studied, comic books, manga and video games. His vibrant, vividly colored photographs have
attracted the attention of the media and numerous collectors.
Maan Youssouf Ahmed
Maan Youssouf Ahmed was born in Djibouti in 1985. A videographer and photographer, she’s
worked with the film directors of Sky Fighters, Sounds of Sand and Desert Flower. Her photographs
and documentaries create a bridge between the audience and her own vision of her country. After
working as a camerawoman for Somali television, she founded her own production company,
Somali Worldwide Broadcasting, in 2013, and hosts a web TV platform.
Nabil Boutros
Nabil Boutros was born in Cairo in 1954 and lives and works between Cairo and Paris. He works
in painting, set design, interactive light installations and especially through his photography,
which has long focused on Egypt and the Middle East. Bordering on the documentary, his
photographic series depict the links between Alexandria and Marseille, the rituals and daily lives
of Egyptian Copts, or more universal themes, such as man’s place in a mechanized production
Ermias Ekube
Ermias Ekube was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and is a painter, sculptor, engraver and Eritrean
poet who currently lives and works in Västervik, Sweden. Specializing in the art of realistic
portraiture, he seeks to represent the suffering and endurance that can be read on African faces.
In 1994, he co-founded the Fine Arts school of Asmara in Eritrea, where he taught for several
years, then held numerous workshops and courses, particularly in engraving, for young artists.
Aïda Muluneh
Aïda Muluneh was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1974. She is a photographer and filmmaker,
with a degree in communications from Howard University, in Washington, DC. She currently lives
and works in Addis Ababa, where she founded Desta For Africa PLC, to provide opportunities
for African artists. Her work focuses on African diaspora, in particular regarding women, and the
image of Africa. In 2010, she founded the Addis Foto Fest, the first international festival dedicated
to photography in East Africa.
Nathalie Mba Bikoro
Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro was born in 1985 and is a multidisciplinary French-Gabonese
artist. She studied fine arts and political philosophy in Gabon, England and Berlin. Her multifaceted
work includes performance art, body art, sound art, film, literature and museum archives,
and installations. Her work is a synthesis of collaborative engagements on dialogue within the
international community, the body politic and continental development.
Njogu Touray
Njogu Touray was born in Gambia in 1960 and is a self-taught visual artist. He is founder of the
Tahalart gallery, which he opened in 2005. He began his career experimenting with numerous
found materials, then gradually gravitated toward painting. A fierce defender of the environment,
he creates his own paints from natural resins, barks and plants. In 2006, he was commissioned to
create artworks for the African Union.
Paa Joe
Paa Joe was born in Ghana in 1947. A pioneer in the Ghanaian art of fantasy coffins, he was one
of the first to exhibit in the West, at the Centre Pompidou in 1989. He opened his own workshop
and has trained numerous apprentices. His colorful, playful sculptures are subtle contemporary
reinterpretations of traditional funerary rituals, blurring the lines between art and craft. Designed
to reflect the personality of the deceased, they are often buried and only seen by a very limited
Namsa Leuba
Namsa Leuba was born in 1982 of a Guinean mother and a Swiss father. A photographer, she holds
a degree from the University of Art and Design in Lausanne. For many years, her photographs
have explored the Western vision of Africa and have been published in numerous magazines. Her
work has been featured in numerous contemporary art and photography exhibits in Switzerland
and abroad, notably at the Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea in 2014.
Nu Barreto
Born in San Domingo, Guinea-Bissau, in 1978, Nu Barreto lives and works in Paris. A multidisciplinary
artist working with found objects and collage, he seeks to challenge the viewer through his
paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos. He has denounced oppression in Africa, misery
and suffering. His language is made up of shapes, symbolic colors and motifs fraught with strong
symbolism, and reminds us that, even when a spell is unrelenting, the hope of a better future
Equatorial Guinea
Arturo Bibang
Arturo Bibang was born in Bata, Equatorial Guinea in 1971 and is a photographer. He studied at
the Luis Buñuel Photography Institute in Madrid, then in London in the ‘90s. He began his career
as a photojournalist, driven by the urge to travel, and has worked for numerous photo agencies in
Spain, in particular for El Mundo. He has participated in numerous exhibitions in Equatorial Guinea,
where he returned in 2009, and abroad, notably at Paris Photo and the Rencontres de Bamako in
Mali, in 2011.
Cyrus Kabiru
Born in 1984 in Nairobi, where he lives and works, Cyrus Kabiru is a self-taught multidisciplinary
artist. His work vacillates between painting and sculpture, which he primarily makes from trash
and objects found in the streets of Nairobi. His C-Stunners series of sculptural glasses attracted
the attention of the art and design world in 2011. He never stops pushing the boundaries of
sculpture, design, painting and photography. He is part of the Kuona Trust.
Thakane Lerotholi
Thakane Lerotholi was born in Thaba Tseka, Lesotho in 1978 and is one of the few women artists in
her country. After studying fine arts in South Africa, she primarily works in clay, but also paints.
With a touch of surrealism, faces and characters emerge from her terracotta sculptures, as if
out of the artist’s own dreamlike, idiosyncratic universe. She is also very socially committed and
teaches crafts courses as a volunteer.
Leslie Lumeh
Leslie Lumeh was born in 1970 in Dambala, western Liberia. He subsequently moved to Monrovia,
the capital, where he currently lives and works. A self-taught artist, he began as an illustrator and
cartoonist for the Daily Observer. When he returned from exile, he launched the first art gallery
in Monrovia to open since the end of the civil war, as well as LiVArts, the first school of fine arts.
While he works in charcoal, watercolor and gouache, his preferred technique is artists’ oil
paint. His figurative works offer a realistic review of the landscape and the urban environment in
which he lives.
Naziha Arebi
Naziha Arebi was born in 1984 of a Libyan father and English mother. Coming from the theater
world, she specializes in video art. After studies in the UK, she moved to Libya. Current events,
daily life and cultural rituals have become the source of her work, in an approach that is as much
esthetic as it is documentary. A witness to Libya’s socioeconomic and political turmoil, she is also
interested in stereotypes, gender issues and the place of women in society.
Malala Andrialavidrazana
Born in Antananarivo, Madagascar in 1971, Malala Andrialavidrazana is a photographer who
lives and works in Paris. Trained as an architect, she is a 1996 graduate of the Paris School of
Architecture and eventually gravitated toward photography. Her work explores the city and its
social structures and captures the sociocultural challenges in the spatial organization of cities.
Her work has been extensively exhibited and she is the recipient of the 2004 HSBC Photography
Samson Kambalu
Samson Kambalu was born in Malawi in 1975. He studied fine arts and ethnomusicology, first
in Malawi, then in the UK. He works in painting, drawing, installation art, video, performance
art and literature. He approaches art as an arena for critical thinking and his work reflects his
personal experiences. He is particularly inspired by the Nyau secret society in Malawi. His book,
The Jive Talker or How to Get a British Passport, delves into the artist’s memory and his upbringing
in Africa.
Abdoulaye Konaté
Abdoulaye Konaté was born in Diré, Mali in 1953 and fabric is his preferred medium. His textile
sculptures and installations explore worldwide economic, political and social issues and realities.
Addressing the themes of globalization, the many evils impacting our societies, war, religion,
climate change and deadly diseases, he investigates the future of humanity. He directs the
Conservatory of Arts and Multimedia Crafts in Bamako.
Jamila Lamrani
Jamila Lamrani was born in Al Hoceima in 1972 and is a 1998 graduate of the National Institute
of Fine Arts in Tetouan. She lives and works in Rabat, and is a founding member of the Collectif
212. Her work depicts the contrast between opposing forces and her installations reveal the
tensions and ambiguities in the society in which she lives. In 2010, she created an installation for
the opening of the Villa Matisse Art Gallery in Marrakech.
Doung Anwar Jahangeer
Born in Mauritius in 1976, Doung A. Jahangeer lives and works in South Africa. A conceptual and
multidisciplinary artist, his work includes performance art, film and video, sculpture, painting
and installation. His experience as an architect led him to redefine his conception of art, focusing
on the notion of space, and the urban public space in particular. His work is often socially engaged,
in support of marginalized and working class populations.
Amy Sow
Amy Sow was born in Nouakchott, in 1977, and is a self-taught visual artist whose work vacillates
between the figurative and the abstract. Employing calligraphy and photography, she is
particularly fond of acrylic paint, a medium of “unconditional release.” An advocate of Mauritania’s
artistic community and the first delegate to the Association of Women Artists from the Maghreb,
she is very committed to the feminist cause. Her preferred themes revolve around the experiences
of African women.
Gonçalo Mabunda
Gonçalo Mabunda was born in Maputo in 1975. A first-hand witness to the civil war as a child, he
participated in the social reconstruction of his country and chose to become an artist of memory.
At 17, he landed a job as a messenger for the Nucleo studio, an art collective where he met Andries
Botha. He followed the artist to Durban and studied metal and bronze working. A self-taught
artist denouncing the absurdity of war, he creates thrones, masks and totems out of weapons.
Herman Mbamba
Herman Mbamba was born in Namibia in 1980 and studied in Namibia and Norway, where he
now lives and works. He saw the end of apartheid in South Africa and grew up during Namibia’s
post-independence era. The political changes he’s witnessed, and issues like immigration, politics
and intercultural shifts are his points of departure as an artist. His prolific paintings reflect the
manifold junctures between personal stories and collective memory.
Ibrahim Chahamata
Ibrahim Chahamata was born in Agadez in 1967 and is a Tuareg painter. As a child, he worked in
the embroidery industry and made shop signs. Self-taught and extremely resourceful, he works in
oil-based house paint and fabrics. Yet his work, which is a personal reinterpretation of Tuareg and
Islamic ancestral arts, attests to his contemporaneity. Symbols, signs and geometric forms come
together to create a kind of encoded writing fraught with his own spirituality and mysticism.
Emeka Okereke
Emeka Okereke was born in Nigeria in 1980 and studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. He is a
photographer-videographer who lives and works between Africa and Europe. His work is an
outgrowth of his subtle reflections on the sociopolitical problems of our time, especially on the
themes of exchange, coexistence, otherness and self-discovery. In 2003, he was honored with
the AFAA “Africa in Creation” Best Young Photographer prize, at the 5th International Festival of
Photography in Bamako.
Helen Nabukenya
Helen Nabukenya was born in Jinja in 1983 and is a versatile visual artist with a degree in textile
and fashion design. Her work — monumental installations or colorful patchwork paintings filled
with chaotic geometry — is born out of textiles, recycled found objects, acrylic paint and
collage. Striving for interactive exchange, she encourages the viewer to communicate on political,
economic and social themes, like the fragile female identity, and to participate in the creative
Epaphrodite Binamungu
Epaphrodite Binamungu was born in Butare in 1954 and lives and works in Kigali. In 2002, he
created the Inganzo Art Gallery, which became an art center in 2014. As a painter and sculptor,
he vacillates between realism and abstraction. His work is characterized by a colorful palette
and tactile surfaces, and he often incorporates minerals and plants that he finds in the natural
environment around him. He primarily takes his inspiration from scenes of local life and human
São Tomé and Principe
René Tavares
René Tavares was born in São Tomé and Principe in 1983 and graduated from the National School
of Fine Arts in Dakar. In 2008, he received a scholarship to the School of Fine Arts in Rennes
and simultaneously took a photography course at the ARC/Rennes project. He lives and works
between São Tomé and Lisbon. He is a multidisciplinary artist and his work reflects his own
experiences of displacement and relocation in a contemporary postcolonial context.
Soly Cissé
Soly Cissé was born in Dakar in 1969 and is a multidisciplinary visual artist, working primarily in
painting and sculpture. If his enormous iron sculptures, looking like mythological beasts, seem to
emerge from a fantastic, mystic universe straight out of the Middle Ages, his paintings rise up out
of a dream world. Hybrid beings, landscapes from his own imagination, and codified writing and
numerals allow him to address multiple themes relating to humanity and the world.
Christine Chetty
Christine Chetty-Payet was born in 1969 and is an active advocate of the arts in her country.
Committed to the feminist cause, she has taken up the materials, tools and techniques of crafts
typically associated with women. Her textile works are symbolic and metaphorical images of the
female condition, expressing the difficulties faced by women — gender inequality, the violation of
women’s rights, marginalization and genital mutilation.
Sierra Leone
John Goba
John Goba was born in Mattru Jong in 1944 and raised in the Bondo secret society of women. He
now lives in Freetown, Sierra Leone. His colorful sculptures, recognized worldwide, are made of
wood covered with industrial paint and porcupine quills, which are attributed with protective and
mystical virtues. He is inspired by traditional craftsmanship, secrets and ethnic tales, especially
those of the Mende people, his ancestors.
Mustafa Saeed
Mustafa Saeed is a young self-taught photographer from Somalia. He resides in Hargeisa,
Somaliland, where he also works as a graphic artist and photo retoucher. He began by creating
posters for his family and friends, and gradually began to play with his photographs and the
images he transforms, modifies and overlays. He’s been working on photographic and digital
experiments for the past seven years, and recently added film research to his process.
Hassan Musa
Hassan Musa, who was born in El-Nuhud, Sudan in 1951, began his career as a set designer for
television, then as an illustrator of children’s books. Aware of how inescapable images are in all
societies, and of the violence they convey, he attempts to twist them, turning their violence into
a means of defense. In his paintings and ink drawings on printed and assembled textiles, he
simultaneously reappropriates the iconography of Western art history and borrows from Arabic
calligraphy and Chinese watercolor traditions.
South Sudan
Deng Majid Chol
Deng Majid Chol was born in Abyei in 1982 and lives and works in Juba. A self-taught painter and
draftsman, he illustrated Michelle D’Arcy’s 2011 children’s book, What Will You Do for Our New
Nation? His artistic, colorful, figurative investigations revolve around human activities as shaped
by our cultural and traditional heritage. He primarily draws inspiration from the traditions, beliefs
and customs of the Dinka people, the farmer-breeders of South Sudan.
Noah Mdluli
Noah Mdluli was born in Shiselweni in 1965 and is a stone, soapstone and wood sculptor. A selftaught artist and craftsman, he launched his career after meeting artist Jiggs Thorne. Genuine
sham objects, his works mimic everyday objects from modern times — Legos, robots, mixing
consoles, etc. — in stark contrast to the traditional, ancestral heritage of stone carving. He is one
of several artists, along with Jiggs Thorne and Shadrack Masuku, who make up the House on Fire
Rehema Chachage
Rehema Chachage was born in Dar es Salaam in 1987. She and her father moved to South Africa
in 2009, so she could study fine arts in Cape Town. A mixed-media and multidisciplinary artist,
she draws inspiration from her history, intimacy and experiences as an African woman. Fascinated
by the traditional rituals revolving around women, and an observer of contemporary society, she
explores the universal themes of identity, heritage and the place of women in patriarchal societies.
Abdoulaye Barry
Abdoulaye Barry was born in N’Djaména in 1980 and began his career as a commercial photographer,
shooting weddings, baby pictures and funerals. He is very interested in the changes his native
town is experiencing and the marginalization of certain social groups. Through his portraits and
scenes of daily life, at times shot in the dark, he strives to illustrate the difficulties and dangers
faced by street kids, young people or fishermen on the increasingly polluted Lake Chad.
Tété Camille Azankpo
Tété Camille Azankpo was born in Lome in 1968 and was trained as a welder before becoming a
visual artist. A self-taught artist fond of assemblage and collage, he advocates respect for the
environment and works primarily with found materials, which he deconstructs and reconstructs.
Using wood, paper, advertising signage and enamel bowls, he creates 2D and 3D compositions —
at times figurative portraits, at others abstract works.
Mouna Jemal Siala
Mouna J. Siala was born in Paris in 1973 and lives and works in Tunis, where she teaches art at
the Higher Institute of Fine Arts. She holds a degree in printmaking, a doctorate in the Arts and
Sciences of Art, and places the photograph at the heart of her work. A multidisciplinary artist
devoted to preserving the memory of personal experience, she takes inspiration from her own
history to address the question of identity, especially that of Tunisian women within the historical
and political context of her country.
Nolan Oswald Dennis
Nolan Oswald Dennis was born in Lusaka in 1988 and lives and works in Johannesburg. A mixedmedia visual artist with a special talent for monochrome pieces, he primarily experiments in
painting, drawing and installations. His work evokes a collective memory, time and space, and
the future, particularly within the South African context. He strives to illustrate the stabilizing
role that social fictions play in turbulent times — discrediting the myth of the “rainbow nation,” in
Berry Bickle
Berry Bickle was born in Bulawayo in 1959 and lives and works in Mozambique. A sculptor, painter,
videographer and photographer, she is interested in memory and shared or personal histories.
She particularly rages against the suffering of some, the political madness of others, and the exile
she has been forced to endure under Robert Mugabe’s rule. Retrieving archives, photographs and
diverse writings that testify to history, she assembles them within the same work, as if reuniting
the pieces of a crumbling Africa.
Available Images
Aïda Muluneh - Ethiopia
Abdoulaye Konaté - Mali
Darkness Give Way to Light
L’Homme Nature
(Chelema le berhane botawen seelek)
Textiles 120 x 120 cm
Photograph and body painting
Image courtesy: Abdoulaye Konaé
120 x 120 cm
and the Primo Marella Gallery
© Aïda Muluneh
Gonçalo Mabunda - Mozambique
Emeka Okereke – Nigeria
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Light Switch
Metal sculpture with recycled weapons
Digital photograph 120 x 80 cm
120 x 120 cm
© Emeka Okereke
© Mathieu Lombard
Available Images
Athi-Patra Ruga - South Africa
Franck Ludangi - Angola
Miss Azania
Le droit d’accès
Photograph 120 x 80 cm
à l’énergie équitable, 2015.
Image Courtesy: Athi-Patra Ruga
Acrylic pigments, collage and gouache
and WhatiftheworldGallery
on handmade paper, 80 x 54.5 cm
John Goba – Sierra Leone
The Missellinius Mask Head
Sculpture of wood,
textiles porcupine quills, 186 x 150 cm
© Mathieu Lombard