Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Joana Choumali



Joana Choumali

Always is like tomorrow, 2019







Alba’hian in Agni language ( fron Akan group in Côte d’Ivoire), means the first light of the day, the dawn.

Since more than a year now, every morning Joana wakes up at 5 and walks for long stretch of times. She begins each new day by getting in contact with the land around her, observing the landscapes, the shapes of buildings or the objects slowly revealing themselves, the streets and its people awakening, starting a new day at the sound of joyful and noisy birds.

What started as a physical training for a trekking in Asia, gradually became a daily routine, a ritual of introspection, that accompanies her ever since, even when she travels in other countries, especially in Africa.

As the morning light at the beginning of each new day, slowly makes every detail of the material world visible, so this practice of observation has made Joana become aware of the shift in her thoughts and her perception of realities.

She witnesses the energy of the continent which keeps its people going and shape their lives, and the changes in herself.


Every day is enough, 2019

She has taken the habit of taking pictures of the landscapes that amaze her every morning, rigorously between 5 and 7 a.m. Afterward, using a mixed technique of collage, embroidery, quilting and photomontage, she superimposes on them several layers of ethereal fabrics intertwined with other images she takes during those walks, like silhouettes of passers-by’s, street photographs or stills.

The result is the delicate and dreamy toiles which evoke the invisible meanings and revelations of the artist’s morning experiences. The separation and at the same time the relationship between the real world and the world of imagination.

We could say that Joana’s work is made of the same substance memories and dreams are made of: impalpable and barely perceptible images that overlap one another, mixed with ancient suggestions and recent sensations.


From the Crop Series, 2019

It is now the heritage of cognitive science that the mechanisms of our memory operate through a stratified system of different levels of awareness and consciousness: the subconscious draws on the reality of our daily experience and uses “fragments of perceptions” to make sense of all the memories and feelings accumulated at the various levels of consciousness.

With the intuitive power typical of the artist, Joana creates reproductions of memories and sensations.

The long hours Joana spends sewing together the different layers, and embroidering onto the fabrics her motifs and drawings, have become a moment of meditation; another ritual by which she is able to observe herself changing through the process, examine her emotions and reactions and reshaping them in a different, better way.

The morning light has a symbolic value of rediscovery and illumination in almost every culture.

It’s the vital energy that is born again, renovated any new day, it is the hope of a new beginning.

This is a journey into the artist’s own inner life, into the core of her being, an act of courage of total acceptance of the woman she has discovered.


Zebras must be free, 2019

It is her fears, her desires, her joys and sorrows that she has been transforming into golden lines, enriched patterns, beautifully colored and poetic objects which express the joy of being alive.

What she creates is not immediately visible in its entirety. As in her morning walks, the beauty and the complexity of all parts of the artworks are visible to the viewer only after a process of discovery of all the details layered through the different levels. The exploration of each piece recalls the unveiling of a precious hidden treasure.

A similitude with the relationship with her own land: the place where she always feels the most alive and surrounded everywhere by poetry, constantly regenerating energy, beauty.

Gradually she has understood that what she was hoping to find in a journey abroad, she finally discovered in her own “home

Courtesy: Galerie 1957