Highlighting the importance that has gained African photography in the art market, the festival intends not only to shed light on the primary figures of the discipline such as Malick Sidibé, Omar Victor Diop or Seydou Keïta – well known figures – but to bring center stage lesser known photographers like Jean Depara, photographer who recorded the Congolese youth, or James Barnor, Ghanaian photographer, the first to switch from black and white to colour film. Photography has a particular position in African history for it testified the continent’s revolutions and independence movements contributing to the creation of identities. Photography didn’t freed this countries from the colonial yoke, nevertheless it helped them to establish their own history as well as to take control of their image.
Linked directly to the first part of the festival, Man and Beast explores human’s relation to endangered species. Africa, the continent per excellence where animal wildlife hasn’t completely disappeared, illustrates the conflictive relation between us and our surroundings. Have we failed to relate to the rest of the world? Has our thirst of power annihilated the future of other species? Such are the questions posed by the festival who, despite the of the subject’s negativity focuses as well on the shifting mores of the general public showing more compassion towards the animal kingdom.
Aside from the explicit photos poached rhinoceros, the festival exhibits rare photos taken by the great French poet Arthur Rimbaud who upon quitting to write travelled to Africa and photographed what he saw. The festival revisits once more Africa’s history and rewrites it showing a restored image of this mythical place.
The repatriation of the two looted Chokwe masks to the Dundo Museum in Angola has made international news. Behind this important acquisition is Sindika Dokolo, a highbrow African art collector who resides in Angola.
L’Institut du monde Arabe is currently exhibiting The Islamic Treasures of Africa, a show gathering both contemporary and ancient creations from African creators, influenced by islam.