After their independence, African cities shook the dust blankets of colonization and neocolonialism, which had tarnished their luster. With incredible dynamism and vitality, jazz, rock, funk, rumba, soul, opened the domain of the marvelous. The mental landscape, the topography of cities gradually integrated this “second world”: the world of the night.
To live “connected” is to live with one’s time …
The artists of the exhibition “Afro Funk” are part of a new temporality.
They recycle and embody a surprising vocabulary and aesthetics. Today as before, this “art de vivre” feverishly reflects the social history of Kinshasa, Bamako, Nairobi or Lagos.
The famous Malian photographer Malick Sidibé (1936-2016) was, after the independence of Mali, in the years 1960-1970, the photographer of the nights of the youth of Bamako. Being able to do one festival after another before returning to print his photographs until dawn, he also realized many portraits in his studio, where there was always a crowd. We pay homage to the one nicknamed “The Eye of Bamako” by exposing his portraits and unpublished photographs of the 70’s.
The young Kenyan artist Evans Mbugua draws his inspiration from the sources of graphic design and in particular the African scripts and alphabets. As a true “graphic recycler”, he creates a new “vocabulary”, drawn from both product packaging and street signs. The artist wishes to give a second life, more colorful and more lively, to motifs present in his culture, especially in African fabrics (wax, khangas, batik, …). The reversed painting on glass under Evans work like stained glass, with the power of light to reveal the colors of the background, their rhythmic repetition. His modern writing and his pointillist style is condensed in portraits and snapshots taken in this turbulence of eddies and images of which Africa is the center.
Francklin Mbungu is a surprising artist of the Congolese contemporary scene. The son of an antique dealer, he began a career as an artist agent and then turned to contemporary art by digging a personal path, far from the traces of the great masters of Congolese folk painting. Francklin plays with scissors, and glue … He creates special cuts in sheets of paper of all colors, and makes collages on rigid cardboard. Characters emerge, here a street musician, there a couple of dancers. Stories are told …
Autodidact unclassifiable, “King” Massassy is never where he is expected. In the early 1990s, he was one of the pioneers of Malian rap. His mordant lyrics against Arabo-Muslim and European slavery, the patriarchal system or the de-pigmentation propelled him with his Sofa group on the international scene. 10 years later, we find him comedian. Today, he stands out as a photographer. Renamed “Fotolala King Massassy”, he was the only Malian to exhibit at the 11th meeting of Bamako, the African biennial of photography. He captures life, what he sees today, what his parents were living at the time of Malick, dancing twist and jerk during Bamako nights. His portraits of musicians or sappers carry with them a soul that reveals a vibrant Africa, full of joy and hope.
April 25 – May 26
27 Keller Street