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