By Emmanuelle Outtier
Intellectual and militant, the 14th edition of the Dakar Biennale forges new narratives: the 59 artists in the in and the plethoric program of the off question the wounds of the past and the stakes of the present, drawing a future where the status of the work itself is questioned.
Faced with the disembodied history written by the victors, the Vietnamese filmmaker Tuan Andrew Nguyen opposes, at the Raw Material Company, the emotion of intimacy, the sensitive and partly invisibilized story of the Senegalese-Vietnamese community, stemming from the Senegalese infantrymen who returned from Indochina with their wives and children. A painful story of miscegenation from which is born all the beauty of creolization. Because, in contrast to the hint of identity created by the migratory drama in the West, this edition proposes to show fertile circulations, carriers of cultural connections.
By Marième Soumaré
After returning from Indochina, many of the riflemen brought back women and children, giving birth to the Senegalese-Vietnamese community. At the Raw Material Company center, an exhibition pays tribute to this little-known history.
Macodou Ndiaye is 66 years old, but when he thinks back to the first time he saw his birth mother's face, he still gets goose bumps. "In her eyes, I read suffering, desolation. I had the impression that she was asking me a question. That touched me a lot, even if I didn't understand what I was seeing. The young man was not yet 20 years old in 1975, when he saw this photo of his mother, found by chance at the family home. In a second photo, the same woman is holding a newborn baby in her arms. On the back of the picture, the words "Macodou and I". In a love letter to his father, the student learns that the woman he thought was his mother is not the one who gave birth to him. He also understands that he was not born in Thiès, as he thought, but in Saigon in 1955, in what is no longer called Indochina, where his father, a rifleman, fought alongside the French army.
In Conversation with Koyo Kouoh How Artists Participate in World-Making
By Theresa Sigmund | October 22nd, 2018
In October The New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics in New York held a panel to discuss "If Art Is Politics". Some of the panelists included art practitioners such as Maya Wiley, Nontobeko Ntombela, Uzma Rizvi, Koyo Kouoh, Richard Hill and Carin Kuoni, all of whom are renowned for their engagement with the intersection of those two topics. Shortly afterwards Contemporary And spoke to the founding artistic director of RAW Material Company in Dakar, Senegal, Koyo Kouoh about political pursuits in exhibition making, political limits within a globally creative art scene, and the current needs of young artists in Dakar.
ContemporaryAnd América Latina
Transatlantic Connections Recollecting Scattered Seeds in Africa and Colombia
By Molemo Moiloa and Marie Hélène Pereira | March 10, 2018
“While doing a residency in lugar a dudas in Cali, Colombia, in September 2015, I was from the first day intrigued by the ‘Senegalese looking people’ I met at La Catorce, a mall in which most of the waitresses at the food court looked just like me. I was aware of the history of slavery and how it contributed to the construction of the transnational African diaspora in places like Colombia, Brazil, the United States and the Caribbean, but experiencing this feeling of belonging after traveling for almost 24 hours to the other side of the Atlantic made it weird and interesting at the same time. My residency gradually focused on exploring shared realities between Africa and the Afro Colombian community, the relationship between migration and migration of cultures, as well as a strong interest in spirituality and traditional practices. A new question started to rise in my mind: How do we relate to a place taking into account the ambiguous notion of identity?” Marie Hélène Pereira, curator at RAW Material Company.
Happy in Africa
Koyo Kouoh, au cœur de l’effervescence culturelle africaine
Par Khady Cissé | 29 Novembre 2017
Avec un regard cuivré et imposant, Koyo Kouoh est animée d’une aura irrésistible. Née en 1967, au Cameroun, où elle a vécu jusqu’à l’âge de 13 ans avant de déménager en Suisse avec sa famille, elle représente une des figures incontournables de la scène culturelle africaine. Diplômée en sciences économiques, son parcours, qui la prédestinait logiquement à une longue carrière dans le secteur des finances, est pourtant aussi linéaire qu’un zigzag.
New York Times
Curator Puts Contemporary African Art on the Map
By Ginanne Brownell Mitic | October 1, 2015
Watching Koyo Kouoh make a last quality check on an exhibition she has curated is a lesson in focus, attention to detail and zen.
Though the press opening for “Body Talk,” a show of six female African artists at the Lund Konsthall in Sweden, was just a few hours away, Ms. Kouoh, 47, was the essence of calm as she walked around with the gallery’s director, Asa Nacking, inspecting every installation and work of art.
Dix femmes qui pensent l’Afrique et le monde
Par Séverine Kodjo-Grandvaux | 27 Novembre 2018
L’objectif est clair : « penser un commissariat [d’exposition] décolonial » et « de manière plus poussée, [évoquer] le refus même de le penser dans un espace théorique qui a, avant tout été défini par l’Occident, ou réfléchir sur les conséquences de la dominance masculine et des transgressions misogynes existant dans un champ professionnel marqué, entre autres paradigmes, par les hiérarchies de genre et de race ». Pour la 6e session de la RAW Académie, intitulée « Cura » et qui aura lieu de mars à mai 2019, Koyo Kouoh propose d’envisager de nouvelles manières de donner à voir et à penser avec les artistes africains. Dans un contexte postcolonial où perdurent les tentations hégémoniques, il importe plus que jamais de ne pas oublier que concevoir une exposition est « une manière d’écrire et de ré-écrire des histoires, de lire le présent et d’imaginer tous les futurs possibles ».
Session 5 de Raw academy: Otobong Nkanga tente une germination à Dakar
6 Novembre 2018
"Germination" est le thème de la 5e session de Raw academy qui a été lancée le mardi 30 octobre à Raw material company. Directrice de la session, l'artiste nigériane Otobong Nkanga a présenté ce programme et son travail qui, en partie repose sur cette notion de germination.
De la nécessité pour les Africains de se réapproprier leur imaginaire
Par Bigue Bob | 20 Septembre 2018
‘’Il est important, pour chaque société, aussi diverse et multiple qu’elle soit, de se saisir de son imaginaire. C’est à partir de notre imaginaire qu’on se propulse dans le futur, qu’on crée le présent et qu’on analyse le passé. Savoir lire, décrire, interpréter, archiver, préserver, critiquer, se confronter à son imaginaire, participe à la construction de la société’’, pense la directrice artistique du RawMaterial Company Sénégal, Koyo Kouoh. Connaître l’histoire de l’art pourrait permettre de se réapproprier cet imaginaire. Et qui de mieux que les principaux concernés pour parler de leur histoire ?
Le Raw material organise un symposium au musée des Civilisations Noires
19 Septembre 2018
État des Lieux: symposium sur l’Histoire de l’art en Afrique est le titre de la rencontre organisée par Raw Material au Musée des Civilisations Noires. Elle se tiendra du 20 au 22 septembre 2018 annonce un communiqué parvenu à la rédaction. Le symposium est organisé en collaboration avec le critique, commissaire d’exposition et historien de l’art Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi.
Arts Plastiques: "Still the Barbarians" de Koyo Kouoh à la Biennale d'Irlande
De Nicolas Michel | 19 Mai 2016
À l'occasion de la Biennale d'Irlande, la curatrice camerounaise Koyo Kouoh a rassemblé des œuvres qui explorent les rapports de domination. Une exposition forte qui bouscule nos préjugés.
Cette année-là, les Pâques furent sanglantes en Irlande. Le lundi 24 avril 1916, un groupe d’indépendantistes défile dans O’Connell Street, à Dublin. Il s’agit de protester contre la Home Rule League de 1914, qui garantit une autonomie interne à l’Irlande, mais la maintient sous la tutelle britannique. Très vite, la manifestation devient insurrection, prenant un temps l’occupant de court. Parmi les bâtiments investis, la Poste centrale va servir de quartier général aux rebelles emmenés par Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, Tom Clarke, Sean MacDiarmada, Eamon de Valera, Joseph Plunkett…
EVA International 2016,
BY GEMMA TIPTON | May 3rd, 2016
With more than fifty participating artists, this year’s EVA International nominally responded to the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising – the failed revolution that nevertheless set the pattern for the politics and ideologies of the future Irish Republic. Titled ‘Still (The) Barbarians’, it is one of a vast number of commemorative events and exhibitions around the country that are at their best when they ignore knee-jerk romanticization of past martyrs and instead explore how we deal with our histories, the imperatives for contemporary revolution and what the future might hold.
EVA International Biennale No More Waiting for the Barbarians
By Liese van der Watt | April 29th, 2016
On the morning of the opening of Still (the) Barbarians, the third EVA International Biennale in Limerick, curated by Koyo Kouoh, we hear that Journal Rappé, a rapping duo from Senegal due to perform at the opening, was refused passage by Royal Air Maroc because officials assumed the artists’ visas were fake. Since it has taken the curatorial team and staff of EVA enormous effort to obtain visiting visas for all the artists in the first place, it is especially frustrating that protracted bureaucratic processes can so easily be thwarted by a nameless employee. But it is by no means surprising: in a world beset by migration control and an anxious guarding of entrances and exits, the censoring of movement has become a powerful tool in the hands of the privileged.
'Still (the) Barbarians': Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art goes global
By DAVID PAW | April 26th, 2016
As far as the cyclical nature of invasion, subjugation and colonisation goes, it’s a familiar tale in our species’ short history. When the Anglo-Normans invaded western Ireland in 1172, such was the direness of the natives’ situation that whole settlements were burned to the ground to prevent the invasion’s progress. When the area was finally captured, the invaders constructed a grand castle named for their ruler, King John, that presided dauntingly over the area on the banks of the River Shannon in what was to become the city of Limerick.
Artists Explore Postcolonialism In Britain’s First Colony At Ireland’s Biennial
By Alice McCool | April 20th, 2016
“Of all the territories that have been dominated by British colonialism, Ireland has been the one longest occupied and yet, at the same time, doesn’t want to really consider itself a postcolonial territory,” says Koyo Kouoh, founder of the Dakar-based RAW Material Company and curator of Ireland’s 37th biennial of contemporary art, EVA International.
Entitled Still (the) Barbarians, Kouoh has drawn upon her own experiences of postcolonialism in Senegal and Cameroon in order to shape the theme of the biennial. Finding this discourse lacking in Ireland has motivated Kouoh to take forward a conversation about lasting colonial effects, in Limerick and beyond. “There are many works that deal with language, particularly in the context of Ireland losing Irish and trying to regain it. There are works dealing with trauma, with memory and with identity politics – key postcolonial concerns” says Kouoh.
Koyo Kouoh’s Ambitious EVA International Bridges the Gap between Europe and Africa
By BEN EASTHAM | April 18th, 2016
The latest edition of Ireland’s contemporary art biennial, EVA International—pointedly titled “Still (the) Barbarians”—takes as its central premise that Ireland is a postcolonial country. The statement by Cameroonian curator Koyo Kouoh that “the entire British colonial enterprise began here,” and thus that Ireland can be read as a “laboratory” for the conduct and consequences of imperialism, might at first seem uncontroversial. It will have escaped the notice of no one with an interest in Irish history or culture that this year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, the Irish rebellion against British rule that paved the way for independence. Nationwide commemorations of the uprising in March—parades, re-enactments, marches—sparked a prolonged period of reflection upon themes of Irish identity and the legacy of 600 years of British rule.
Migrant crisis in focus at major Limerick based art biennial
By Anne Sheridan | April 14th, 2016
A LARGE collage of individual silhouettes – depicting refugees making a long journey in search of a better life – is among the installations as part of the eminent Eva international art exhibition, which opens in Limerick city this weekend.
Art works from as far afield as Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam, Los Angeles, and Johannesburg have been flown in to Limerick for this week’s launch of Eva 2016, the 37th edition of Ireland's pre-eminent visual art exhibition, which runs for three months.
Regarded as Ireland’s largest and most diverse art exhibition, the biennial this year includes a vast array of works interpreting curator Koyo Kouoh's post-colonial theme entitled Still (the) Barbarians, from a project incorporating Limerick lace by an artist from Ghana, and a large silhouette montage by an artist from Nigeria which aims to focus attention on the current refugee crisis.
The Irish Times
Visual art: EVA curator ‘has always dreamt of Ireland’
By Aidan Dunne | November 3rd, 2015
Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things clearly. For Koyo Kouoh, the curator of next year’s EVA International in Limerick, it seems obvious that EVA is the Irish biennial of contemporary art. Yet it was long denied that status, even though it has a consistent track record since 1977 and an unrivalled international profile.
Kouoh has just left Ireland following the latest of several preparatory visits here. She will return in December and plans to base herself in Limerick from February until the opening in April. Her EVA marks the centenary of the Easter Rising and will be called Still (the) Barbarians.
NAFAS Art Magazine
By Daniela Roth | February 2012
Condition Report, a symposium "On building art institutions in Africa", was held in Dakar’s Maison de la Culture Douta Seck from January 18 to 20, 2012. Organizer Koyo Kouoh, the Director of the Raw Material Company, announced, "All the continent’s colleagues are present." But there were also some from the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The Kulturstiftung des Bundes (Federal Cultural Foundation), the Goethe Institute, and the IfA (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) were the sponsors...