The weekend of the 1st-2nd April revolved around a major Paris fair, ART PARIS. The whole artistic community in France, Europe and Africa indulged its passion for Contemporary African Art and as a result fell in love with Africa.
At ART PARIS invited 139 galleries from 29 different countries at the Grand Palais and across the Champs Elysees in front of the residence of the French President. Mary-Ann Yemsi was the curator of the African side of the Fair. Art from Africa and its diaspora was spread all over the exhibition hall giving it a backbone and a great meaning showing 70 artists in some 20 galleries. From North Africa Lekleti and Binebine of Morrocco
Ben Bella and El Kamel from Tunisia. Romuald Hazoume, Solly Cisse representing Benin and Senegal. A pure delight. October Gallery showing Alexis Peskine AND Noami Gakunga. It Is enchanting to be there strolling along the magnificent pathways of the Palais “dedicated by the French Republic in 1900 to the glory of French Art”. The video, photography were available and at the corner of two alleys you could meet and discuss with collectors and curators. A superb ambience.
The Fair has now closed but 2 wonderful exhibitions remain opened which I strongly advise visiting. One called Les “Mutants” by Soly Cisse at Musee Dapper, one of the smallest museum in the world and dedicated to African art where the curator mixes with talent contemporary and classical African art. It is enchanting. The first room hosts Soly Cisse paintings but also some of his unique sculptures and totems rarely exhibited
Museums pieces indeed. The second and last room is showing some classical Congolese masks participating in the dialogue of classical and contemporary African Art. www.dapper.fr
The strongest memory of “an African week in Paris” will be AFRIQUE CAPITALES opened till 28 May, inspired by African nights dark and poetic filled with echoes of voices, calls, and traffic demonstrating that living in cities is a challenge and promises in Europe but also in modern Africa. The exhibition is opened till 14 June 2017 in La Grande Halle de La Villette Metro Station is Porte de Pantin
Simon Njami (Below) is the curator, a talent identifier, and a great communicator. He helps to understand Africa and art in general. At the entrance, you go through a Moroccan café by Hassan Hajjaj (Top Photo). Among Simon Njami’s selection, I liked Godfried Donkor from Ghana
Alexis Peskine is extremely talented and William Kentridge’s video is a mix of special effects and animation by the great South African master. It will leave you bemused by the immensity and diversity of African talent.
Words/photos Christian Sulger-Buel for “African Art Chronicles”