“Africa is not striving to be modern anymore, that has already happened. It is modernity that is striving to be African.” – Alun Be (artist)
Africa in the Picture (AITP) presents an evening about the use of modern technology, such as virtual reality, as a medium for the imagination and creation of the future. In dialogue with great futurist pioneers of the cultural scene, Alun Be (France/Senegal), Bouba Dola (DR Congo/NL), Selly Raby Kane (Senegal), Makan Fofana (Mali/FR), Alun Be (France/Senegal) and Samira Hmouda (Maroc/Brussels), we explore Contemporary Identity versus The Future. Through the eyes of our guests, we analyse their work consisting of Avant Gardist suggestions for the creation of a future place in contemporary urban life and the formation of an identity through the use of technological equipment.
AITP aims to respond to the growing demand for educational tools and cultural programming that represent not only the local diversity but also the complex intercultural and transnational realities in which citizens have to live and function today. With an increasing African and African diaspora population in Europe, it is essential to provide in the representation of diversity and offer multilayered narratives. With this in mind, AITP set up Document Yourself, a shortcut academy where creatives, makers, thinkers and the likes are being invited into reflection about and re-creation of the image of oneself. By drawing attention to urgent personal issues and questions, compassing self-criticism and learning to speak an interactive language with others, each participant is being challenged to give expression to the redefinition of his or her role in society.
“La situation de crise, de par ses incertitudes et aléas, de par la mobilité des forces et des formes en présence, de par la multiplication des alternatives, créé des conditions favorables au déploiement de stratégies audadieuses et inventives.” – Makan Fofana
Eng: “The crisis situation, by its uncertainties and hazards, by the mobility of the forces and forms involved, by the multiplication of alternatives, creates favorable conditions for the deployment of audacious and inventive strategies.” – Makan Fofana
AITP plays an important role in the imaging of groups in society, as well as in the identity formation and sense of belonging of citizens. The African diaspora represents a bridge between two worlds and facilitates the connection between the two.
About the speakers & moderator
Bouba Dola – Future between two Places / Proximity – travail
Bouba Dola, multi-disciplinary visual artist, creator of futuristic sceneries and music videos, born in Kinshasa, DR Congo, currently based in Rotterdam. He worked for Dutch artists such as Typhoon, Brainpower, The Partysquad, Giovanca Ostiana, The New Cool Collective, Ntjam Rosie and Pink Oculus and well-known hiphop label Topnotch. In search of artistic depth in his work, he started collaborating in theatres and the world of contemporary art, musea such as Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Luxor Theater, het Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, Theater Zuidplein, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, CBK Zuidoost which led to several multi media installations. Bouba currently works on a cinematographic Virtual Reality production, which invites the audience to travel in time and space, provoking them to reflect and define their personal identity in relation to shared colonial history and a common future.
Makan Fofona – TURFU
Makan Fofana is a narrative world designer of speculative fiction. He develops worlds of Turfu between mindfuck, mystique and wonders that defines his trans-suburban, Afro-Asian universe. He is a creative futurist, researcher and author. His first book Banlieu du Turfu was published in February 2021.
Selly Raby Kane
Selly Raby Kane is a Senegalese fashion designer and entrepreneur with unbridled creativity who gradually build a surreal universe that disrupts the codes and trends of Senegalese fashion around her brand. SRK has deep fantasy and cinematographic influences; over the years she has developed an avant-garde line that has earned the brand international media attention on platforms such as VOGUE magazine, ARTE, BET, CNN, Time Magazine, Okay Africa, AFROPUNK, WAD magazine, etc.
“New technologies must open up spaces for original voices and underrepresented narratives”, with this motive Kane starts exploring science fiction and VR with reflections on the future of the urban life in an imaginary African city. The 7-minute VR film ‘THE OTHER DAKAR’ accompanies a little girl in the discovery of the mystical Dakar. The Other Dakar is an oneiric ballad through the urban Dakar and Senegalese mythology. This film fuels a thirst to create worlds that tangle with reality and through magical realism, create an archive of Dakar’s urban life and the life of its margins. Selly Raby Kane’s latest creation is a short film imbued with magic called Tang Jër. The 13mn long film happens inside a typical street restaurant in which an eclectic community shares its perspectives on life. Tang Jër calls for us to rethink our definition of community.
Alun Be is an artist who strives to portray African modernity. Born Alioune Ba in 1981 in Dakar, Senegal, Be credits the development of his oeuvre largely to his French, American, and West African upbringing. Be’s parents did not believe art was a stable career, pushing him to pursue an M.A. in Architecture. After two years as an architect in Senegal, a move to Denmark sparked his love for photography. Since then, Be has exhibited at the Milan Universal Exposition (2015), the Dakar Biennale (2018), the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Chicago (2018), and others, and spoken at TEDxNapoli and TEDxWanChai Salon. His photography series deal largely with intergenerationality, female empowerment, and technology.
Born in 1988 in Brussels, Samira Hmouda is a curator and cultural manager and fouder of the NGO Dafa Yow. In 2012, she founded System_D, which is both a film festival and a platform that allows young self-taught directors to create, reflect and disseminate their work. The originality of the festival is twofold: it is aimed at a hungry public that has no place in the classic circuits and offers a perspective of decolonial creation. A creation that questions the dominant narratives and encourages artists to create new visual and artistic forms from their environment. System_D transcends the borders of Brussels with editions in Dakar, Antwerp and Tangier. In 2014, she worked for Citylab in Brussels, a creative incubator for art and activism. As a specialist in audiovisual arts, Samira produces audiovisual creations and is currently working on her first feature film, a dreamlike documentary entitled ‘Le Royaume’ (The Kingdom).
Oumar Mbengue Atakosso
Oumar Mbengue Atakosso is an established artist from Dakar, Senegal, based in the Netherlands, who has realized exhibitions and multiple art projects and lectures around the world. With controversial exhibitions such as Lost & Found and Museum of Im/migration, he explores the position of the ‘post-modern immigrant’, and what an individual, traveling through space and time has to lose or gain in his/her encounter with the destination, in this case, an encounter with the ‘West’. In 2019 he became executive director of Africa in the Picture (AITP).
Brieuc-Yves (Mellouki) Cadat-Lampe
Mellouki is of Haratin (Algerian Sahara) and Breton (France) descent. He grew up in the Algerian Sahara and studied law and political science at the universities of Montpellier, Paris and Amsterdam. He is currently working at Movisie, the national knowledge institute and consultancy firm for the social domain, on issues relating to citizen involvement. His main focus is on intersectional issues in the multicultural local society. His passion lies in the optimal positioning of local residents in the professional field. As a researcher, project leader, advisor and trainer, he supports residents, social professionals and civil servants at neighbourhood and community level.