Carreau du Temple Marais, 3rd arrondissement, Paris
This weekend is the second edition of AKAA contemporary art fair in Paris. The name is a resonating note; as so often art from Africa is lobbed into one mythical blob. From the range of artists and activity the fair seems to be putting in the work to avoid this roving anthropological eye.
An art fair is a lot like a compilation album, along with favourites, organisers push to bring artists from outside the established "box". Some of my favourites from last years program are Hassan Hajjaj, Nobukho Nqaba, Thania Peterson and Hamza Bounoua to name a few.
Each closely linked to performance, which as a medium conducts and transcends spatial dynamics into a state of change . Where meaning and intentions are free to roam, "Art from Africa" today opposes the ethnographic consumption of art work. Defying labels but acknowledging likeness in origin, the fair brings together artists who accept the work that comes with representation internationally.
"The 2017 edition of the RENCONTRES AKAA, curated by Salimata Diop, cultural program director, celebrates artists whose creative process relates to healing.
When we are blind, artists heal us and warn us of a threatening future: visionary by essence, they offer an unexpected perspective.
When we are displaced, artists heal us and revive our inherited memories, giving us back our history. They comfort and sooth us.
When we turn our gaze away, artists heal us and, pointing at the mirror, make us face both our denial and responsibility.
Artists heal us, embrace our voids and fill them with hope for a new day. Thus, as true catalysts for change, contemporary artists unveil our traumas and eliminate them one by one."[2017, website http://akaafair.com/en/rencontres-akaa-2017]
Thursday Opening Day Schedule highlights: