Wednesday, 31 October 2012


€4m in Irish Aid goes missing in Uganda

By Sarah Stack
Thursday October 25 2012

Ugandan Prime Minister Yoweri Museveni
The Face of Disgrace | prime minister Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
FOUR million euro of Irish Aid funding to Uganda has gone missing in a suspected fraud, the Government has revealed.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has suspended all financial assistance channelled through the office of prime minister Yoweri Museveni after the money was transferred to unauthorised accounts.
Auditors from the Department of Foreign Affairs flew to the capital Kampala this morning to investigate the alleged misappropriation of funds, which was earmarked for education, policing and tackling HIV and Aids in the poorest regions.
Mr Gilmore said he is deeply concerned over the alleged fraud, which was identified by Uganda's own auditor general and reported to Irish officials yesterday.
“I regard it as intolerable that any development assistance should be misappropriated or diverted,” said Mr Gilmore, Foreign Affairs Minister.
“The Government will not provide financial support under our development cooperation programme unless it is clear that Irish money is being spent for the purpose for which is was allocated.
“I have also asked the Irish ambassador (Anne Webster) in Kampala to convey to the Ugandan government how serious we take this issue and make absolutely clear that while we are very proud of our aid programme, while we see it as very important, we will not tolerate any disapprobation or any misuse of Irish taxpayers' money,” he added.
The alleged fraud involves €12m in aid last year from four countries - Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark - for the peace recovery and development programme for northern Uganda. It was established to rebuild the region after decades of conflict and devastation.
A team of officials, led by the evaluation and audit unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs, will try to establish exactly where the money is and if it can be recovered.
Mr Gilmore said the Government, through Irish Aid, was due to pledge 17 million euro to the east African state but will withhold the 16 million still due pending the probe.
The payment of another €15m of taxpayers money to NGOs in the country, such as Goal, Trocaire, World Vision Ireland and Self Help Africa, will continue.
The Tanaiste said Ireland has a strong programme in the region, which suffered dreadfully from internal conflict and ravages of Joseph Kony and his co-called Lord's Resistance Army.
“It's money that's provided to provide schools, to address the huge problem that country has with HIV and Aids, to work in supporting police and Government institutions in Uganda to rebuild them after the history we have seen in Uganda,” he said.
“These are very important programmes and I don't take the decision likely to stop all payments.”
He also hit back at critics who have raised concerns over financial aid going directly to African governments, adding that Irish Aid also supports programmes like the independent auditor general who uncovered the alleged fraud.
“I take some comfort in the fact this was identified by the auditor general in Uganda, but having being identified I felt I had to take immediate action,” he added.
Irish aid agency Goal said it fully supports the decision by Mr Gilmore to suspend this year's payment of direct aid to the Ugandan government until the results of the investigation are known.
Jonathan Edgar, acting chief operations officer, said Goal has been advocating for many years the strict policing of aid, to ensure that it gets to those people most in need.
"We believe that total transparency and accountability in the handling and distribution of overseas aid to be of vital importance in the fight against abject poverty and deprivation in the developing world," he added.
Elsewhere, Pat Breen, chair of the Dail's committee on foreign affairs and trade, said the allegations are serious and disturbing.
"The committee is deeply concerned that Irish aid money may have been misappropriated and not used for the purpose it was intended," he said.
"Misappropriation of aid funding cannot be tolerated.
"Not only does it divert aid from those who really need help and assistance, it also undermines public confidence in our aid programmes which are held in high regard internationally."
- Sarah Stack

Monday, 15 October 2012

Addressing Hunger

The Myth of Hunger And Starvation

There will always be hunger and starvation.

Each and every day, 20,000 people die as a consequence of chronic, persistent hunger. Approximately 800 million people live in conditions of poverty so severe that they are unable to obtain enough food to meet their daily requirements. This is not the kind of hunger that makes headlines, as in a famine, but a silent holocaust that continues day after day, month after month.
This waste of human lives is all the more tragic in that it can be ended. Ending hunger is a highly complex challenge. It is increasingly clear that charitable responses and traditional bureaucratic programs, as useful as they may be, are insufficient to carry the day. More importantly, people increasingly recognize that conventional approaches are based on a framework of thinking that is inconsistent with what actually must be done to achieve the end of hunger on a sustainable basis. 
Creating a New Future

Ending hunger requires a true break with the status quo. It will not happen in the course of "business as usual." To resolve humanity's oldest and most pernicious problem requires four essential ingredients:

Given who we are as human beings, what is critical to our progress is vision - seeing a future that can be achieved and is worth achieving. A vision that calls forth a sustainable future for humanity, a future in which all people have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives in harmony with nature is what we call "the end of hunger."

Commitment is what allows individuals to encounter obstacles, frustrations and failures on the pathway to achievement and still keep going. It is increasingly clear that achieving the future we envision will not just happen. It must be made to happen, and this will require extraordinary commitment. Calling forth that commitment, and keeping it focused and sustained to fulfill the vision, is a vital responsibility of The Hunger Project.

Leadership is critical to every great human achievement. Ending hunger requires committed leadership at all levels of society - from the village to the district, state, nation and the international community - that can call forth vision and commitment, and mobilize people to take effective action.

Strategy And Action
Meeting a challenge as complex and daunting as hunger in a world of finite resources requires brilliant strategy and high-leverage action. It requires inquiry, analysis and allocation of resources consistent with achieving the goal. Every action must be designed to take a quantum leap forward towards the goal. There must also be extraordinary flexibility of action. One must move down a pathway with sufficient intentionality to make progress, yet be willing at every moment to let go of one approach to take a better pathway.

The Campaign to End Hunger

Not a program, but a phenomenon

 The work of ending hunger cannot be accomplished by any one organization, or even any conceivable network of organizations. The end of hunger will not be a series of well-managed projects. It will be achieved through millions of actions, most of which will never be recognized, and will certainly not be monitored and measured.

The end of hunger will be a phenomenon
It will be an unleashing of the creativity and productivity of hundreds of millions of hungry people, and hundreds of thousands of effective strategies and actions that create the enabling environment for them to succeed.

 Catalyzing that phenomenon
The phenomenon of strategy and action will not happen on its own. Individuals must take responsibility for making it happen.

A movement, not an organization
For this reason, The Hunger Project can never be accurately thought of as merely an organization. It must be thought of as a movement, a campaign of individuals and organizations committed to taking strategic action to mobilize self-reliant development and transform the policy environment at every level so that people can succeed.

Galvanizing the campaign at every level of society
The campaign for ending hunger starts with the creativity of hungry people - respecting them as the primary authors and actors of the work to end hunger, awakening them to a possibility for a better life, and working to clear away the obstacles to the success of their self-reliant action. Building upon the self-reliant efforts of hungry people, the campaign to end hunger must take action at every level of society - from the local level up to the national government, and to the level of the international community.

Strategic Planning-in-Action - a Methodology for Accomplishment, Focus and Breakthrough

To meet the challenge of ending hunger requires a methodology that will break up old patterns of action, that will foster new ways of thinking and empower people to achieve concrete break-throughs in health, education, nutrition, food production, incomes and the empowerment of women.  The methodology to achieve this is called strategic planning-in-action.

Mobilize and empower committed indigenous leadership
The first step in our work is always to enlist the leadership of individuals of great commitment, complete integrity and the stature to access anyone in society necessary to ending hunger. Leadership for action in a village must come from that village; leadership for action in a nation must come from that nation. These individuals must become completely clear about and committed to utilizing the principles and methodology of The Hunger Project.

Bring together all sectors of society
Ending hunger cannot be accomplished by government alone. We bring together leadership from all key sectors - business, academia, NGOs and government agencies - forming councils to create and lead our strategies in co-equal partnership.

Build a shared understanding
For people to work together effectively, they must achieve a comprehensive shared understanding of the prevailing conditions, the effectiveness of existing programs and the priority areas where action is required. Bringing all the information together, and making it clear, finite and confrontable, has been one of the most empowering contributions of The Hunger Project since its inception.

Commit to achieving a strategic intent
Individuals working with The Hunger Project must develop a powerfully articulated, unifying and achievable vision - a strategic intent - and clear strategic objectives appropriate to solving the problem, society-wide. We must never be content with helping a few, but rather commit ourselves to transforming conditions throughout society so that all people can build lives free from hunger.

Commit to playing a strategic, catalytic role
Once people are committed to actually achieving the goal, they must then recognize the possibility of taking catalytic, high-leverage action that can affect the "big picture" - breaking bottlenecks to progress, improving existing programs, mobilizing and making better use of resources, effecting structural changes in society that can unleash the creativity and productivity of hungry people.

 Identify what's missing
Our work is always guided by the question, What's missing? What, if provided, would allow for a breakthrough? This is very different, and far more powerful, than the more common questions, What's wrong? Why isn't it working? These latter questions tend to call forth blame and paralysis, not action and cooperation. The Hunger Project respects the work of other organizations - by focusing on what's missing, we avoid duplicating work being done by others.

 Take immediate action
Take immediate action to catalyze "what's missing" being provided. Take action first where it can succeed and produce near-term results.

 Create a momentum of accomplishment
One must constantly assess and sharpen the strategy. Each accomplishment gives a new landscape: new leadership, new obstacles, new openings for catalytic action. Each failure can lead to a deeper understanding of the nature of the challenge. Creating and sustaining this campaign mentality and style of working is crucial to breaking the mind-set of resignation and unleashing the human spirit.


Dolls Never Die

Gérard Quenum, Je suis le messager (I’m the Messenger), 2012. Wood, metal, shells and plastic doll,
178 x 37 x13 cm. Photo: C Laurent

October Gallery is pleased to announce Dolls Never Die, the second solo exhibition of new works by sculptor Gérard Quenum.

Dolls Never Die will present a series of new sculptures and an installation composed of recycled objects whose diverse histories contribute much to the overall significance of the pieces themselves. Like many of his contemporaries coming out of Africa, Quenum’s work is composed of an eclectic mix of recycled objets trouvés – that elevates the pieces into poignant, mysterious and whimsical ‘portraits’ of individuals or types observed in his local environment. These ‘portraits’ serve as a lens through which we view Africa.

The dolls that Quenum employs as models and part-time actors on his stages are doubly-recycled, in that they have already served as hand-me down props, expressing the imaginative outpourings of generations of European children before having been repackaged and sent off to Africa in overseas aid parcels. The transformations imposed by that harsher environment – the loss, over time and with constant use, of eyes, of limbs and hair – are still incapable of entirely exhausting these puppets of their capacities for speech. In Quenum’s artful assemblages the disparate parts come together to assume a narrative gift of tongues.

The sculptor’s magical ability is in knowing how to conjure up their tales. To engage the faculties of the imagination by transporting the viewer into an alternate reality that transcends space and time. So too, with the types of wooden objects he uses: mortars, ritual drums or pilings that once supported entire houses in the marshy lagoons surrounding Porto-Novo. They contain whole hidden histories of inherited stories – impregnated in the wood – whose roughened surfaces bespeak the lives of other peoples, other worlds and other experiences.

Gérard Quenum was born in the coastal town of Porto Novo, Benin in 1971. Quenum stands out as one of the more original creators of a distinct sculptural style using urban detritus. His works can be found in major public collections including the British Museum, National Museums of Scotland and the Cantor Arts Center atStanford University, California. In July 2012, Quenum’s work will also be exhibited at the National Football Museum in Manchester as part of its inaugural exhibition entitled Moving Into Space.


This exhibition has woken me up. Africans killing africans. Babies being burnt in their homes. Along the coastline of Benin is prime property and it's where the fishermen live and work but as development comes to Benin so these fishermen, women and children are being smoked out, burnt in their beds...I remember seeing such a sight near the Piscine in Cotonou. The smell of burning homes and seeing the shapes of beds black with smoke and even the odd image of a skeleton, burnt to a crisp stuck to a bed frame, as they were unable to escape the fires. This work is more than your elephant dung gimmick or African textile cloth...this is far more. These works are being bought up by those that know nothing about Africa and thinking how exotic.....but fuck if only they knew...what the Africans is the very Institutions that are buying up these works who are hand in glove with those still murdering Africa..burning them whilst they sleep...taking all they can whilst still being allowed to bully the innocent. This work reflects South Africa as much as West Africa..the torture of Africa continues..

This work is made to be exotic. For the morons that know nothing about the evil men can do. These works are aesthetically pleasing and humorous but the last laugh will certainly bethat of the Africans...this is more than just art...these works are becoming the centre points in Cultural Establishments throughout Britain and moving over to Chicago and elsewhere to fools that know no better...I see the Voodou is being embraced and those that have these works are in for a fun ride...The Africans should never be underestimated and taken for fools..this work hits so hard at the establishment is it wonderful to see it making such headway inside the world of art...A world that knows nothing of Africa, humanity, horror, art, killing, evil, misery and pain....yet is propped up by these elements of humankind. This is art with a real African kick. Fuck be with you...for you will feel and smell Africa in the rooms of the establishment that chooses to turn blind eyes to such ugliness. The establishment are stepping on a landmine. This is very powerful work indeed. Have this artist's work in your Orangery if you fucking fools!

This work doesn't quite go far enough. We need to dig up the dead babies of West Africa and display their charcoaled skeletons in National Museums across the world..This is real..this is not a gimmick...these plastic baby heads were found in homes burnt to the ground by greedy property developers. This work is powerful.....bring out your dead!

South Africa...put your miners skulls on poles as the British & American Establishments are buying up African Art Today! I make no apologizes for my Anti-Social Networking. Innocent lives are being lost in the name of greed. Throughout Africa the working classes are unprotected - the vulnerable are invisible. The World Media is out of focus. BRING US THE HEAD OF JOHN THE BAPTIST AND PUT IT IN THE MoMA in NYC.

Visionary Africa

Visionary Africa: Art at Work Exhibition

2010 and 2011 mark the 50th anniversary of the independence of 22 African countries.To commemorate this anniversary and to mark the occasion of the third EU-Africa Summit, the European Commission and the Palais des Beaux Arts (Centre for Fine Arts),in collaboration with the African Union, is launching a multi-disciplinary and itinerant cultural project: “Visionary Africa: Art at Work”. This initiative is the extension and the development in Africa of the “Visionary Africa” festival held in Brussels (Summer 2000).

African Installations

African Installations - 3D View
This project focuses on the importance of culture and creativity as development tools and is directly in line with the Brussels Declaration by Artists and Cultural Professionals. It includes an itinerant urban exhibition of contemporary African artistic practices, artists’ residencies and workshops. The exhibition will be previewed in conjunction with the European Union-Africa Summit in Syrte/Tripoli (Libya, November 29, 2010).

It will then begin to travel to different African capitals at the start of 2011, beginning with Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), followed by Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). It will feature some 30 reproductions of works of art created by contemporary African artists, taken from the works presented in the exhibitions of the “Visionary Africa” festival in the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, which ran until September 26, 2010. The idea for this project was put forward during the international colloquium “Culture and Creativity as Vectors for Development”, organised by the European Commission in April 2009.

Culture at the heart of African-European dialogue
Since the end of the 1990s, the European Union has been progressively more committed to strengthening dialogue and building more specific and special relations with Africa.
The first EU-Africa Summit was held in Cairo in April 2000. It defined a framework of political and global dialogue and laid down an action plan in the areas of African integration in the global economy, democratisation, health development, education, the environment and security.
The second Summit took place in Lisbon in 2007. This Summit further strengthened the partnership and brought the EU-Africa dialogue to a higher political level. The Treaty of Lisbon signed at that Summit emphasised culture and creativity for the first time by according it a central role in all European policy fields ranging from regional policy to foreign affairs and development. Culture must therefore find a place “at the heart” of development policies. At Lisbon, the frequency of the Summits was also determined.

From now on, they will take place every three years. The next one will be held in Syrte/Tripoli, Libya, on November 29 2010. The theory was quickly put into practice. The European Commission has increased its efforts to show that culture is a factor of human development, social cohesion and employment.

It was thus thanks to the impetus provided by Louis Michel, the then European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, that in April 2009, the seminar on “Culture and Creativity as Vectors for Development” was organised. 

This brought together around 800 participants: politicians (of whom 46 were ministers of African countries), artists and civil society representatives from the different countries of the EU, but also from the 65 ACP countries (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific). On that occasion, Louis Michel insisted on the importance of addressing a broad public, on culture is not “a plaything for the pretentious elite” but an integral part of development, “a sphere in which society explains its relationship with the world and plans its future …in a certain way, a mental cement of social cohesion.” In the conclusions to the seminar, stress was placed on the importance of launching an exhibition on African artistic heritage on the occasion of the third EU-Africa summit to be held in Syrte/Tripoli..

Commissioner Andris Piebalgs co-chaired a High-Level Round Table on Culture and Development during the United Nations Summit on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Culture is increasingly recognised as a fundamental dimension in building development and in constructive relations between people.

The European Union-Africa partnership has also identified cultural cooperation as one of the priority actions to consolidate this important dialogue between the two continents. The campaign, “African Cultural Renaissance”, launched by the African Union for the period 2010-2012 and supported by the European Commission, is one of these actions, and the itinerant exhibition of African artistic practices “Visionary Africa: Art at Work” forms part of this.

“Visionary Africa: Art at Work”, urban and itinerant project in Africa
The exhibition will be presented in three African cities in conjunction with important institutional and cultural events. It starts off in Syrte (Libya) in the form of preview on November 29 at the same time as the Europe-Africa Summit. It will then be staged, in a wooden pavilion designed by the architect David Adjaye, in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), headquarters of the African Union, from January 10-30, 2011, dates which coincide with the festival of Timkat.

The exhibition can be seen from February 19 to March 13, 2011, in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso and one of the focal points of celebration of African culture, with, notably, the pan-African cinema and television festival FESPACO (which for a number of years has been part-financed by the EU). The exhibition will spend three weeks in each city. A broad attendance is therefore expected. 

The aim of this new exhibition is to provide, through the work of African artists, a snapshot of the transformations that have occurred on the African continent during the last half century, as well as put its future development into perspective. The exhibition will be staged in a pavilion designed by David Adjaye and divided into three sections: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
It will feature some thirty reproductions of works by contemporary African artists from different regions of the continent. Each section will retain its autonomy. At the same time, there will be a continuous interface and dialogue between the three “space/time” modules. Seen from this perspective, the exhibition dovetails perfectly with the philosophy of the “Visionary Africa” festival and represents its natural extension.

The fourth space in the pavilion will be dedicated to video projections of the living arts. Every evening, the public will be invited to share the performances of African artists (musicians, choreographers, film-makers, and actors) committed to and involved in African cultural development. These videos were filmed for the most part during the event “48 hours in Brussels”, which was also a part of the “Visionary Africa” festival.

It is from this perspective that in 2009 the European Commission launched this partnership with the Palais des Beaux Arts (Centre for Fine Arts) in Brussels, which consisted of emphasising and strengthening relations between the cultural centres and museums of Europe and Africa. This ambitious project began with the foundation of a “Visionary Africa” festival. Inaugurated on May 30, 2010, it ran until September 26. The festival will continue in itinerant form in major African capitals in the form of the exhibition of African art practices “Art at Work".

The festival was a vast platform for African culture, bringing together an eclectic programme adapted to all types of audience, uniting exhibitions, debates, concerts, film screenings, performances and shows. Two exhibitions dedicated to the African culture of yesterday and today constituted the high point of the “Visionary Africa” festival.

The ambition of “GEO-Graphics”, which was developed and designed by architect, David Adjaye, with the assistance of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, was to redraw the cultural map of Africa and instigate a visual and narrative dialogue with contemporary art. For its part, the exhibition “A Useful Dream. African Photography 1960-2010”, put together by Simon Njami, celebrated 50 years of African photography and presented some 200 photos taken by contemporary African artists (living or deceased). It also signalled the point of departure for drawing up a long-term vision of the relationship between African art and culture, and its development.

The reflections initiated in Brussels by “Visionary Africa” will thus be extended to the African continent thanks to the itinerant exhibition “Art at Work”. The third EU-Africa summit in Syrte/Tripoli will be the starting point for an essential extension of “Visionary Africa” in Africa. The moment chosen is opportune, for in 2010-2011, 22 African countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their independence, an independence which has been closely linked to profound changes in political, economic, social and cultural life. In addition, this it is also the moment when the African Union is rediscovering the importance of culture as a factor for development by launching the campaign “African Cultural Renaissance”.

The commissioners of the “Art at Work” project
1) David Adjaye Artistic Director of the “GEO-Graphics” exhibition
 Joint Commissioner of the “Art at Work” project and designer of the itinerant pavilion
Of Ghanaian origin, David Adjaye was born in 1966 in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, where his father was Ambassador of Ghana. At the age of 14, he moved to London, where he still lives. In 1993, he completed a degree in architecture at the Royal College of Art. After work placements in the offices of architects David Chipperfield and Eduardo Souto de Moura, he founded his own offices, Adjaye Architects, in 1994. His rise was rapid. Professionals and specialists welcomed his vision and artistic sensitivity, his ingenious use of materials, and his talent for sculpting and emphasising light.

Versatile and the winner of several prestigious competitions, David Adjaye excelled in architectural projects, design exhibitions, temporary pavilions and private homes in Great Britain and the United States. Artists of global renown called on his talent. He worked with Dane Olafur Eliasson for the light installation “Your Black Horizon” at the Venice Bienniale in 2005.

In 2002, he designed the staging and lighting for Chris Ofili’s exhibition of paintings “The Upper Room”, now on display at the Tate Britain. According to David Adjaye, “architecture must make the world a better place.” The way it influences and shapes daily life is at the centre of his thinking and his work. He also attaches great importance to the public and cultural character of architecture. His design of arts centres and large public buildings, built recently in London, Oslo and Denver, bear witness to the interest he shows in the needs of the community as well as the integration of architecture in the existing local environment. Practising his profession extends into major broadcasting and communication work. David Adjaye regularly develops his theories on the BBC, in the “Dreamspaces” programmes. In June 2005, he presented the television programme 
“Building Africa: Architecture of a Continent”.

Aware that he is a role model for future generations of architects, he is involved in teaching, giving classes at the University of Princeton and at the Royal College of Art. Currently, David Adjaye leads an Anglo-American team in charge of the building of the Museum of Afro-American History and Culture in Washington, whose objective is to celebrate the contribution of Afro-Americans to American culture. It is scheduled to open in 2015. 

In parallel to his work as an architect, David Adjaye has for some years been researching urban mutation on the African continent. At the end of his travels in all the countries of the continent, some 53, he has gathered together an impressive collection of photographs reflecting the great diversity of the African continent and the dramatic speed of urban growth.
The display of these photographs was a high point of the “GEOGraphics” exhibition.

2) Simon Njami Commissioner of the exhibition “A Useful Dream”Joint Commissioner of the “Art at Work” exhibition
Born in 1962 in Lausanne (Switzerland) to Cameroonian parents, Simon Njami is an author, critic and exhibitions commissioner. After studying law and the arts, he began his professional career in Paris as a journalist, a writer, and then as a visual arts consultant at the Association française d’action artistique (AFAA - French Association of Artistic Initiatives). In 1991, with Jean-Loup Pivin and Pascal Martin Saint Léon he co-founded the excellent cultural journal Revue Noire (of which he is also editor-in-chief). This rapidly asserted itself as a reference work for contemporary African art.

In 1997, the three colleagues organised the “Suites africaines” (African Suites) exhibition in Paris. An enthusiastic public discovered the installations, photographs and sculptures of totally unknown artists. Its success was considerable.

The Revue Noire disappeared in 1999, but Simon Njami carried on his activities as an commissioner of exhibitions and has 20 to his name. In 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007, he was the general commissioner and artistic director of the African Festivals of Photography in Bamakp, the only international event dedicated to contemporary African photography and its diaspora.

In 2007, he designed the African “Check List Luanda Pop” pavilion at the 52nd International Art Bienniale in Venice. A prolific writer, Simon Njami’s works include, among others, Cercueil et Cie (Coffin and Co., Lieu Commun, 1985), Les enfants de la Cité (The Children of the City, Gallimard Jeunesse, 1987), Les Clandestins (The Stowaways, Gallimard Jeunesse, 1989), African Gigolo (Seghers, 1989), La Peur (Fear, Serpent à Plumes, 1990) and James Baldwin ou le devoir de la violence (James Baldwin or the Duty of Violence, Seghers, 1991).

He has also co-edited a number of works, including Anthologie de la photographie africaine (An Anthology of African Photography, 1999) and Anthologie de l’art africain au XXème siècle (An Anthology of 20th Century African Art, 2002). 

One of his principal struggles is to make contemporary African artists visible throughout the world and above all, on the African continent – a struggle that is slowly beginning to bear fruit. One example? Between 2005 and 2007, it proved possible to present his ambitious “Africa Remix” project, of which he was the exhibition curator, in Düsseldorf, London, Paris, Tokyo and also in Johannesburg. Plastic responses of African artists to the questions they have in common were at the heart of the exhibition and were articulated around three themes: history/identity, body/soul and town/earth. 

Given his impressive background, the choice of Simon Njami as the curator of the exhibition “A Useful Dream". African Photography 1960- 2010” was an obvious one. Simon Njami gives voice exclusively to artists of the African continent, living or deceased, some of whom have managed to make a name for themselves, and have become known worldwide.

It is enough to mention Mohammed Dib (who died in 2003), Cornélius Yao Augustt Azaglo (who died in 2000), Malick Sidibé, Sammy Baloji, Dorris Haron Kasco or Aïda Mulunech. In 200 superb images, most of them in black and white, these great photographers provided a panorama of the development of the African continent over the last 50 years.

David Adjaye’s Pavilion structure
The showcase for the “Art at Work” exhibition designed by David Adjaye is a pavilion which is at one and the same time elegant, spacious and ergonomic. The concept is in line with “low technology” and is characterised by its ability to be easily assembled and dismantled. It is a lightweight structure created from panels of wood and surmounted by a roof inspired by a pergola and broken up at regular intervals by wide openings which allow the light to flood in.
The pavilion will integrate perfectly with the African landscape and will function with natural light. A detachable canvas cover is, however, provided for in case of rain. To facilitate movement around the pavilion and fluidity, the pavilion has several entrances. Superbly proportioned, the volume is organised into four spaces.

Three of these will house the new “Art at Work” exhibition, bringing together 30 photographic reproductions from the “GEO-Graphics” exhibition (David Adjaye’s works), and the exhibition “A Useful Dream” (the photographs, selected by the co-organisers, David Adjaye and Simon Njami, will be unveiled at the press conference). 

The display will be organised around three spaces/moments in time (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow), which are separate, but yet linked by permanent dialogue. The decision to present reproductions of the photographs instead of the originals is a choice on the part of the organisers.

This formula fits better with the light structure of the pavilion and its ephemeral character. As there is no power supply, the exhibition will only be available to view during the day. In the evening, video projections created during the “48 Hours in Brussels” event will take over. This event, which took place at the time of the “Visionary Africa” festival, gave a voice to a whole range of African artists engaged in strengthening African civil society through the medium of art. Invited by the Palais des Beaux Arts in the summer of 2010, they were able to visit the Festival’s exhibitions.

In their performances, they provided living testimony of the plural identity of African culture in both the plastic and living arts. Among the artists were, for example, musicians, Pitcho Womba Konga, Rokia Traoré, Angélique Kidjo, Didier Awadi, Papa Wemba and Venancio Mbande, the film-makers Hawa Essuman and Raoul Peck, the choreographer Germaine Acogny, the actor Dieudonné Kabongo and the dancer Serge Aimé Coulibaly.

It will be excerpts of their concerts or shows in Brussels that the public of Tripoli/Syrte, Addis Ababa and Ouagadougou will be able to admire. The part of the programme bringing together the living arts is thus an extra opportunity for the “Visionary Africa” festival to be able to travel. So, the debate continues.

The aim of holding the workshops is to provide yet another occasion to pursue the debate initiated in Brussels. What are the main issues for contemporary art in Africa? How can art influence the development of African countries? During the “Visionary Africa” festival, this aspect of the debate was touched on in the Atlas Room. Images, texts and graphics provided a concrete illustration of the artistic practices and the cultural institutions of Africa before and during the colonial period, as well as after independence. On one wall, a timeline showed the principal documents of African cultural policy at a national and international level (UNESCO, African Union). On the opposite wall was displayed the richness of African culture throughout the centuries. In the two African cities hosting the “Art at Work” exhibition, visitors will be presented with a booklet containing the documents displayed in the Atlas Room.

The challenge will be to continue the reflection on the ground. The moderators of the workshops, Simon Njami and David Adjaye, will reach out to people and will have the chance to talk to and debate with the stakeholders – people involved in culture – and to take stock of how the proposals and promises of the different institutions are being followed up and implemented. Each workshop will be an opportunity to gather new knowledge, which will be indispensable for subsequent reflection. It is intended that this project be developed in several African countries in such a way that it covers all areas of the continent. The climax will be the publication of a final and exhaustive document, which will be a precious tool for future work.

Artists’ residencies 
The goal of these is to support a vision of African artists connecting with others on their continent, and to support the creation of works of contemporary African art. A famous contemporary artist coming from another African country will be hosted in each of the participating African cities for a period of three weeks. They will leave behind the fruits of their labour and of their interpretation of the city during this period to enrich the artistic heritage of the city.

The concept:

1) Visionary Africa: a work in progress – by Simon Njami
The goal of this travelling exhibition is to convey, through the work of Africa’s artists, the transformations the Continent has undergone in the past fifty years, and show some of the perspectives which it has been imagined could apply for the next fifty years. In lockstep with the structure designed especially for this travelling project, the show is divided into three conceptual spaces: then, now and tomorrow. Although these are treated as autonomous entities, the exhibition will be constructed in such a way as to allow for constant dialogue between these three space/time capsules. The structure’s open and innovative design, and the contemporary artworks on view, represent the vision of tomorrow, where photography and video play a key role.

The then that planted the seeds for the emergence of this new era is for the most part illustrated by photography, a medium that was crucial in the formation of an independent African identity. Now is represented by David Adjaye’s photographic panorama of Africa’s capitals. The public enter the exhibition space through the now section, which gives onto the two separate but conceptually interconnected spaces. The opening now has a documentary character, and intentionally so: it provides the audience with the interpretive keys to the interplay of points reference, or arguments and counter-arguments, that flow through the show, and which weave Africa’s past, present, and future into an imaginary world.

However, these spaces will not be explicitly characterised as such; these titles exist only conceptually, like the backbones of internal circulation. 

2) Presentation of the structure – by David Adjaye
The structure is organised as a labyrinth with three gallery spaces and has been designed to house reproduced images of contemporary work and photography. It is conceived as a neglected structure in line with the public spaces in African capitals. Structurally it is a portal made of a standard timber frame, with the lower parts (which vary in height from space to space) covered in 18mm WPB plywood on both sides to mount/display the reproductions. The reproductions will be printed onto paper and mounted directly onto the walls. 

The upper part of the pavilion exposes the structure to provide light into the spaces. The pavilion is open to the sky; vertical timbers support the timber ceiling joists which span the width of each section – the direction of the joists vary from section to section. A 7.1m high tower rises in the centre of the structure. It can be used to promote the exhibition either by means of projections or posters. The floor will be raised 200mm from the ground by a series of concealed joists and battens; the finish will also be 18mm WPB plywood. 

Bozar Raka Singh, coordinator Visionary Africa: Art at
Nicola Setari, project director Visionary
Leen Daems, press officer Bozar European Commission
Giorgio Ficcarelli, DG DEV:
Christoph Pelzer, DG EuropeAid:
Press contact
Hélène van den Wildenberg – Cecoforma

Monday, 8 October 2012

Wangechi Mutu @ Her Best

YOU ALL SHOULD HAVE ASKED FOR A NOTHING ZERO TO THIS WORK...$60,000 come on people..this is art with heart.

Homeward Bound image

Homeward Bound

Edition of 45 plus 20 artist's proofs
Wangechi Mutu
All proceeds from the sale of this specially created print will benefit the Mrs. Sarah's House Project to assist Mrs. Sarah Lastie in rebuilding her family home in the Lower 9th Ward district of New OrleansInvited by curator Dan Cameron to develop a work for the inaugural exhibition Prospect.1 in New Orleans last year, Wangechi Mutu was inspired by the experience of Mrs. Sarah Lastie, whose home in the Lower 9th Ward was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levy breach. 

A retired former government employee, Mrs. Sarah worked for two and a half years following the disaster locked in a struggle with the City and State bureaucracy in her efforts to return to her community. Eventually she began rebuilding her house on her empty lot but  encountered numerous obstacles, including being swindled by non-licensed contractors who constructed a foundation that would not pass building codes. 

Wangechi Muti's project for Prospect.1, entitled Mrs. Sarah's House, evolved from this story as a simple frame of a typical New Orleans 'railroad' style house  that stands on the footprint of the house that Mrs. Sarah has not yet been able to build. Described in small lights, at night the structure becomes a kind of ghostly presence - a mirage of sorts - as a representation of Mrs. Sarah's and others' dreams of returning home.

$ 6000.00

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Jose Lopez in Lille October 13th 2012

Wallace & the Art of Time

Wallace, aka Jose Lopez, is now in his 46th year and only started painting seriously five short years ago, at age of 41. The change came with the arrival of his daughter and she enabled him to work from home and given him the freedom and the opportunity to be a full-time father and artist. As a late starter to the world of art, he is certainly making up for lost time. He works prolifically, producing works almost every day. His enthusiasm for painting is wonderful to observe and his sense of flare and a desperation rarely witnessed in this disposible society. Unlike other Artists, who have been generously chosen to represent the larger galleries, have been given their projects and a set of instructions and are gleefully working as successful artists, Wallace is struggling to express what it means to be a great artist. 

The work being produced by the privilege, lucky few from some of the best galleries in Europe and America are far from earth shattering and more often than not these artists are less than impressive. To find an artists working full-time outside the clutches of a galleries is exciting to find, especially if the work is at a high standard and message so consistent. 

Artist: Wallace
No Worries Map
Material: Mixed Media 
Size: A5

Artist: Wallace
Summer Solstice
Material: Mixed Media 
Size: A5

Artist: Wallace
No Way
Material: Mixed Media 
Size: A5

Artist: Wallace
Summer Spirit
Material: Mixed Media 
Size: 64cm x 24cm

Artist: Wallace
Between Colours
Material: Mixed Media 
Size: 20cm x 50cm

Artist: Wallace
World Words Building
Material: Mixed Media 
Size: 20cm x 50cm