Close up
Visual arts
Mary Sibande Wish you were here, 2010. Techniques mixtes, dimensions variables. Courtesy de la collection Gervanne et Matthias Leridon, Paris.  They don't make them like they used to, 2019. Tirage numérique d’archives, 104,5 x 69,5 cm. Courtesy de la coll
© G.Deleflie

Revealing the Potentialities of the World – Nadine Hounkpatin & Céline Seror

When words and memories are forgotten, destroyed, erased or cut short, there is an urgent need to unveil a counter narrative, to bring multiple histories into coexistence and reveal what has been left unsaid — a need responded to by the 14 artists featured in the Memoria: Accounts of Another History exhibition. The defining feature of these works is their desire to transcend the boundaries of art, to “embody the elsewhere” and to illustrate the diversity of our shared individual and, ultimately, collective histories.

Updated on 24/09/2021

2 min

The common thread running through the shared narratives of “Memoria: Accounts of Another History” is memory: the audience is invited to approach the contemporary art of Africa and its diasporas through three different themes, three different spaces in which to (re)discover both individual and collective histories: De l’intime à l’universel [From the Personal to the Universal], Quand la mémoire fait œuvre politique [Memory As Political Work] and Fabulations, fictions et autres imaginaires [Confabulations, Fictions and Other Imaginings].

The multiplicity of readings offered by these artists is an opportunity to discuss the persistent stereotypes and fictions that commonly arise in relation to the African continent. Official history, cultural heritage, mythologies and religions are all prisms of subjective truth through which we create links between the individual and the collective, from stories to History, the local to the global.

Based on the understanding that various forms of imaginary history are still at play in the world of economics, particularly when it comes to the redistribution of resources—natural, human and financial—the artists question the weight of History on both the present and the future, drawing on memory as a political, critical and occasionally even poetic methodology. In this long process of reconstruction—and transmission—the role of memory is essential in light of our desperate need to create harmonious shared spaces where our memories can finally be calmed and soothed.

Georgina Maxim - Ane mweya wemadzinza (She has a family curse), 2020. Textile et technique mixte, 195 x 150cm. © Bag Factory Art / Georgina Maxim © Studio Shapiro
Enam Gbewonyo - The Oculus/ The Third Eye, 2019. / Enam Gbewonyo - In the Wake of Barely Black, 2019. Collants en nylon neufs et usagés tricotés à la main, 208 x 271 cm. © Enam Gbewonyo - Collants en nylon recyclés, broderie de coton et peinture acrylique écologique à l’eau sur miroir chevalet vintage, 192 x 78 x 40 cm. © Enam Gbewonyo © G.Deleflie
Myriam Mihindou - La robe envolée, 2009. Performance vidéo. © Myriam Mihindou / galerie Maïa Muller, Paris. © G.Deleflie
Dalila Dalléas Bouzar - Princesse #6, 2015-2016 huile sur toile, 50 x 40 cm. © Dalila Dalléas Bouzar / Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Dakar, Paris) © Grégory Copitet
Tuli Mekondjo - Oihanangolo (White things), 2020. / Afrotekismo, 2017. 4’. Vidéo performance réalisée par Vilho Nuumbala. Millet Mahangu, encres de résine acrylique, peinture acrylique, transfert d’image, marqueurs peinture, fils de coton sur toile, 204 x 99 cm. © Tuli Mekondjo et Guns & Rain, Johannesbourg. © DR
Ndidi Dike - Archival Cartographic Realities, 2016 et Bureaucracy, Barriers and Exclusion, 2017. Transparents sur feuille, 340 x 123 cm chaque - Filet de pêche, formulaire d’obtention de visa européen, bouées, timbre de visa officiel, et technique mixte. Dimensions variables. © Ndidi Dike © G.Deleflie
Josèfa Ntjam - Mélas de Saturne, 2020 (photogramme) Film, 11’49 ”. © Josèfa Ntjam & Sean Hart © G.Deleflie

The voice of the artists is therefore at the heart of “Memoria: Accounts of Another History”, but so too is that of the writers (historians, philosophers, poets, scientists, curators) whose words fill the publication that accompanies the exhibition. The multiplicity of these voices and the narratives they tell are a disruptive force, challenging our ways of thinking and our ability to renew our understandings, to listen to different stories and (re)call into question stereotypes and received ideas.

The project is a kind of collective intelligence in the service of art, its aim being to create a fragmented experience in which narratives and counter-narratives, History with a capital “H” and fantastical stories, historical truths and operant fictions are patched together to form a shared universal narrative.

Our aim as the curators for this project is to invite everyone who visits the exhibition to feel more confident, more able to open themselves up to the Other, to welcome the Other. Through the concept of humanism, which underpins our practice as curators, the idea is also to no longer tie oneself to a geographical location, but to feel connected to each other through memory—memoria—and to contribute, in our own way, to revealing the potentialities of the world.

Josèfa Ntjam - Fishtank Family's memories, 2019. et Hybrid Family, 2019. Collage numérique, impression sur soie, 400 x 300cm. / Série de onze céramiques de taille variable. © Josèfa Ntjam © G.Deleflie
Bouchra Khalili - The Speeches Series (3 films numériques, 2012-2013). Chapter 1: Mother Tongue. 2012. 25'. Vidéo à canal unique / Chapter 2: Words on Streets, 2013. 18’. Vidéo à canal unique / Chapter 3: Living Labour, 2012. 25'. Vidéo à canal unique - © Bouchra Khalili et Mor Charpentier Gallery, Paris.
 © G.Deleflie
Gosette Lubondo Série Imaginary Trip II, réalisée dans le cadre des Résidences photographiques du musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac en 2017. © RMN-Grand Palais - Gestion droit d'auteur. © musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac
Otobong Nkanga - There’s Only So Much a Neck Can Carry, 2011-2012. / Currency Affair: Okpoho and King Manilla, 2011-2016. / Currency Affair: Kusu , 2011-2016. / War and Love Booty: Ndo the Striker, 2011-2016. © Otobong Nkanga, FRAC Nouvelle Aquitaine, Galerie In Situ-fabienne leclerc, Grand Paris, Crédit photo : G.Deleflie
Na Chainkua Reindorf - Bomi: Second Life, 2020. Divers matériaux sur masque en plâtre. Œuvre réalisée durant la résidence de l’artiste au Frac Nouvelle-Acquitaine en septembre 2020. © Na Chainkua Reindorf Crédit photo : G.Deleflie
Selly Raby Kane The Other Dakar, 2017. Film 360 VR, 7’35”. © Selly Raby Kane et Electric South (South Africa). Crédit photo : Selly Raby Kane


Dalila Dalléas Bouzar, Ndidi Dike, Enam Gbewonyo, Bouchra Khalili, Gosette Lubondo, Georgina Maxim, Tuli Mekondjo, Myriram Mihindou, Wangechi Mutu, Otobong Nkanga, Josèfa Ntjam, Selly Raby Kane, Na Chainkua Reindorf, Mary Sibande.


Valerie Behiery, Chris Cyrille, Dominique Fontaine, Oulimata Gueye, Nadine Hounkpatin, Claire Jacquet, Ashraf Jamal, Ladi’Sasha Jones, Martha Kazungu, Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Anne Lafont, Rafael Lucas, Bernard de Montferrand, Sonia Recasens, Céline Seror.

Interview with Tuli Mekondjo

Entretien avec Tuli Mekondjo
Entretien avec Tuli Mekondjo
The Institut français and the exhibition

The exhibition "Memoria: Accounts of Another History" is presented as part of the women focus of the Africa2020 Season. 

Find out more about the Africa2020 Season


L'institut français, LAB