Artist statement

The state of the world is not as fancy as the media show it to us. Our societies are not as slick and tidy as our smartphones. And the effects of our recent History are still really strong.

One aspect of that is shown in the way we treat people who are different. The people some consider as foreigners or even “invaders” in “their” country.

This population, who sees the otherness or the enemy in another human being, doesn’t have a clue about History and the role of their own ancestors in the actual state of the world.

Not so long ago, some European scientists and philosophers, who are still hailed and taught in schools, were classifying peoples of the world based on their “advancement“ and physical features by comparing them to themselves without any acknowledgement of the fact that different people have different paradigms, particularly regarding their connection to Nature. Of course, they were at the top of the classification because, to their eyes, there was only one relevant view of the world and it was theirs.

It may sound awkward for many but I fear that for a big part the population in the West, it is still relevant to a certain extent. Why? Because it is still recent and not much has been effectively done to dismiss this idea of classification of the people. Hence the way migrants and refugees are treated.

As a dark skinned African born man who grew up and lives in Europe, I often felt and still experience some strange behaviors from people who consider themselves “white”.

Everyone of us can also see, as a rightful response to how they are overlooked, movements from black folks wishing to celebrate their “blackness”.

As an artist, I ask myself what do we have to celebrate as dark skinned people (not to say people from African decent)? Is it the color of our skin and the curls of our hair? Some artists take that route to reproduce major Renaissance masterpieces and replace white figures by black figures as a response to the lack of black figures in museums and art history books.

I came to think that we have to go beyond that, position ourselves more universally and celebrate our Cultures. African Cultures and beliefs have been dismissed as “primitive” and overlooked for centuries even if they were present for millennias before Europeans decided to destroy them for their own benefit.

It’s time we dive in to show how rich and inspiring they are. And this can be applied not only to African Cultures but to all Cultures in the world. Because in an era where it seems to be acceptable that a few individuals tend to claim all the riches, Arts and Culture are the only things that keeps a people alive.

We are One and we have many different Cultures that we have to sustain despite the will of the few individuals to normalize everything and everyone to their taste and for their own profit.