RESIDENCY - AIR @Nafasi Art Space - Dar es Salaam

Art talk - introduction

One year ago, I have started a research on the adaptation of migrants to the global culture of fast growing cities and megalopolis and specifically the question of home in the globalization of migration. This universal topic whose main current concern is where and what is home, had probably a personal echo has I knew one day I would have to leave what I considered as home and deal myself with the feeling of exil again.Then, or the first time in my artistic life, I was walking blind because my inspiration was not anymore depending on me but the others. I had always had very precise ideas and pictures in my mind of what I wanted to produce but this time, I had to  listen to first. So I started to listen to the infinity of singular migrants stories and choose the specific pictures in their stories that capture my attention. I have been interviewing and filming people who are settled in the city of Dar es Salaam since one or several generations to try to understand how they integrate parts of the new environnement while preserving their own cultural particularisms and singularities from an assimilation by a new global culture. What do they give and receive or how moves of people and migratory flux can influence culture.

I realized quickly that this very simple question of HOME was much more emotional that what I would thought. Indeed, with the globalization of migrations, the concept  of home is being redefined everywhere in the world bringing out other strong meanings as belonging, attachement and roots.On parallel, my research about time is still ongoing, now with the added questions of rooting and uprooting with a philosophical and psychological point of view. These questions are especially important in the way we all deal with the call of somewhere else and the need to feel our own roots, in the Third Culture Kids phenomenon to understand the way migrants keep on transmitting their culture to their children in a new host country. What is our heritage ? Can roots and traditions vanish with memories ? What is the effect of time in belonging and attachement ? Is the nostalgia innate or learnt? Is our soul destined to be divide.

« There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in »

The Bridge of culture - Daraja la utamaduni (installation)

The aim of an art residency is to take time out of the time to create but also to exchange with local artists. That is how I decided to do this installation as a tunnel to dig and question my personnal link to the subject. Roots and belonging had already been part of my work. The very basic question of home is much more complex that what we want to trust and we are not as simple as we would like to seem but made of complex branches and connections, places where we have lived, people we have met, as a spider web. For this project, I worked with the amazing Wachata Graffiti Crew who embarked my foggy idea and who understand it as a bridge or the best way to link two cultures or artistic worlds. It is a collaborative work and every artist at Nafasi has been welcomed to add (weave, tight, draw) his own piece to the puzzle.

Workshop for Nafasi artists - artistic statement

Activité communautaire de nettoyage du Parc avec les danseurs de Muda Africa

Floor refection - path and floor painting With Watch Taa

Personal work - engravings

Many horizons, many destinies

Pattern of a shelve found on a Zanzibar beach

I arrived in the city of Dar es Salaam eleven years ago. This megalopolis, between tradition and modernity, nature and anachronic urbanism, has immediately started to fascinate me as a pure symbol of hybrid cultures. As I have always loved to observe maps, I started to be attracted by the urbanistic changes (flows of migration) induced by historic changes of Dar es Salaam and their social impact.

Borders (engraving on glass) Borders tend to distend, borders tend to dissolve. Symplifying a problem by finding scapegoats is a delusion. It is like refusing to observe reality with the eyes of humanity. Despite growing demonstrations of protectionism, nationalism and racism, there will always be only one world. We are all interested parties and it is time to redefine what is common between us. By essence, we are not born to live enclosed in one identity or culture. And to live with others supposes shared origins in vulnerability. This vulnerability has to be lived and understood as a way to weave links and create solidarity not to destroy. The history we have been given and the one we are building everyday lies on ignorance, omissions and failures. Now we can begin to be conscious of the complexity of our modernity. We have to stitch all those discontinuities and breaches to create a common world, however fragile and precarious it may be – that depends on the will, choice, imagination and creativity of humanity. In reality, what we call identity is not essential ; we are all passers-by while an emerging universal conscience is coming out, the reality of a new community with the same destiny should take it over the cult of difference.

Circulation (engraving on glass)

The more we close the borders, the more people will settle as they are not able to move on or to go back anymore, being irrugelar. The more we open the borders, the more we free the circulation or migration. It is common sense but what is happening in the world now seems to go in the opposite direction which is nonsense. For me, the idea of borders itself is difficult to accept (and even more the idea of material possession of land) as it is where most of the conflicts start. With the demographic current changes in the world (aging of the developed nothern countries and the very young average age of countries in developement) the situation might change quicker than we think. It will be a nice potential return of the situation to see those countries which use to select the entrances finally compete and beg for migrants.