Le rêve du Paquebot (The Ocean Liner Dream) by Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin: learning between Nantes and Dakar2 min
With Le Rêve du Paquebot, Olive Martin and Patrick Bernier follow the route of a ship built in Saint-Nazaire in the 1960s to understand the geopolitical and cultural ties linking France, Senegal and China. For this project, they collaborated with master weaver Ousmane Kà's workshop in Dakar, starting in February 2019.
Their joint productions were to be presented in June 2020 at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa as part of the DAK'art 2020 Biennial, at the invitation of its curator El Hadji Malick Ndiaye and art historian Emmanuelle Cherel for the exhibition « TEG BËT GËSTU GI / Ateliers de troubles épistémologiques » (« TEG BËT GËSTU GI / Workshops for Epistemological Disorders »). The event is currently postponed.
This portfolio, with commentary by the artists, traces their learning and collaboration.
« Paquebot » woven loincloth, February 2020
« We met Ousmane Kà in 2016 when we were preparingour planned « Wilwildu»exhibitionat the Grand Café – Saint-Nazaire Art Centre. With his workshop in Guédiawaye on the outskirts of Dakar, he created the canvas for our « North/South loungers».In February 2019, he is hosting us as an for a week’s learning and together we are planning new woven collaborations, in particular this woven « ocean liner».
Le paquebot Ancerville (The Ancerville Liner), February 2019
« We told Ousmane the story of the Ancerville liner, which left the Saint-Nazaire shipyards in 1961 to connect Marseille and Dakar. It will be repainted and renamed Minghua after it was taken over by the People's Republic of China in 1973 to serve its cooperation projects in Tanzania. »
Different strands of research
« We have used the medium of weaving to understand and share this network bearing witness to the history of globalisation. The issues of interdependence, the movement of people, forms and techniques, goods and raw materials, and the inequity of our economies are our strands of research. »
Nœud de tisserand (Weaver's Knot), February 2019
« With weaving as the only common language, Sébastiao Yé, assistant to Ousmane Kà, teaches us the weaver’s knot and the threading of the comb, patiently guiding our gestures. »
In our workshop in Nantes, May 2019
We programme the ocean liner pattern with the method learned from Ousmane Kà. The anamorphosis created by the preparatory rods reminds us of a drawing spotted in a militant anti-colonial magazine in the 1970s.
Production of the « Le rêve du Paquebot » loincloth using the « pick and pick » technique
This skilful artisanal technique is common to other weaver cultures such as those in China and Lyon silk weavers, and it prepared the advent of the Jacquard mechanisms. In West Africa, it is used by weavers from Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.
The Ancerville liner pattern
« The Ancerville liner appeared for the first time on our weave in Nantes. We sent a photo to Ousmane Kà via WhatsApp. »
Interpretation by Ousmane Kà
« The Ancerville liner appeared for the first time on Ousmane Kà’s loom in Dakar. He made an image for us first of all, followed by a few alterations of the pattern and its series. »
« Les apprentis » (« The Apprentices ») pattern
« This new pattern, resulting from our collaboration with Ousmane Kà, represents the master weaver handing down his knowledge. It combines with a recognised Mandjaque pattern which, we were told, protects against theft and impersonation. We put our three names in the cloth to commemorate this moment, as is often done on traditional loincloths. »
« Corona » pattern
« With the Coronavirus Covid-19 health crisis, the idea of a Corona pattern was born because the Mandjaque loincloth patterns protect the wearers against evil. The collaboration continues. The pattern was designed by Patrick Bernier for the Tëss weaver’s workshop in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal, directed by Maï Diop. The weaving was carried out by Assane Diop and her assistant Antoine Mendy in April 2020. »
The Institut français and the project
In the context of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Institut Français wishes to continue offeringyou portraits, meetings with creators fromall walks of life, works and portfolios. We hope these few pages will bring some breathing space back into an everyday shaped by lockdown.
« Le rêve du Paquebot » by Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin was supported by the Institut français as part of its partnership with the Pays de la Loire Region and the City of Nantes.