Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Rosalie van Deursen

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Contemporary art in Bamako, Mali.


“People do not come to me, because I come to them. I exhibit in their environment, just on the street. That’s taboo breaking. They often do not understand what art is all about but they are curious and ask questions. When I have not exhibited for four months they ask when the next exhibition will be. Some even send their children to me so they can learn to draw. So there is a radical change going on in terms of the appreciation of contemporary art in Bamako. Fortunately it’s not limited to the international art scene!”

Rosalie van Deursen travelled to Bamako to talk with local artists about contemporary art in Mali.
Amadou Sanogo, Headless, 2016.

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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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