Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Rosalie van Deursen

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Thierry Oussou


“Suffering feels like coals that burn on your skin. That’s what I do with paper. I paste multiple layers of different types of paper onto each other and then I burn holes in it with coals.” Oussou stresses: “Remember, without suffering there is no happiness.”

Rosalie van Deursen on the work of Thierry Oussou, one of the artists in ‘What about Africa?’ at Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam.
Trace XI, 2015.

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1: 54 Contemporary African Art Fair London

1 54 Contemporary African Art Fair Somerset House London 2

“Art is a fluent matter so let’s go beyond localization of ideas, because thoughts are global. Besides, Africa is not blackness and blackness is also not Africa, but global. Let’s look at the different narratives that exist in history.”

A quote of Koyo Kouoh, curator of the Contemporary African Art Fair 1: 54 in London.

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Patricia Kaersenhout: Uncovering and Healing Wounds


“I want to create awareness about the fact that there is also a black perspective of history. That’s why I fight against stereotypes in order for black people to regain dignity. To understand yourself is to understand your history. It is very important to know where you come from and what happened to your ancestors. ”

Rosalie van Deursen portraits Patricia Kaersenhout.
Mantle of Love (detail), 2014.

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Rehema Chachage. The intimacy and harshness of African women’s rituals

AfricanahRehema Chachage Mizizi Nasaba

“(…) I fight hard to create a space for people who are interested in exploring more contemporary and experimental styles of working. My dream is to create a platform for people who are interested in contemporary ways of making art, in dialogue, in exploring new ways to create and in going out there and performing all these interesting interventions and especially targeting Tanzanians!”

Says Tanzanian artist Rehema Chachage to Rosalie van Deursen.

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John Kamicha & Shabu Mwangi: Against the Stream


For both John Kamicha and Shabu Mwangi art is their way of reaching out to their fellow Kenyans and challenging them to reflect on the contradictions and opportunities of modern life in Nairobi. John Kamicha: “That’s what art is about for me: questioning things, not about adopting a style and selling beautiful images of wild animals to tourists, hotels and expats. I want to wake people up. Why keep quiet and pretend and act ignorantly? ”

Rosalie van Deursen on Kenyan artists John Kamicha and Shabu Mwangi.
Shuba Mwangi, My Dream.

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