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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

“Contemporary Looks”, an exhibition to renew the vision of African women

Three West African artists, Laetitia Ky, Wanger Ayu and Marius Dansou, gathered for the collective exhibition Regards Contemporains at the LouiSimone Guirandou gallery in Abidjan, work with ordinary materials – iron, fabrics, hair – to renew the artistic representation of women African.

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With our correspondent in Abdijan, Marine Jeannin

It is an assemblage of sculptures, paintings and photos. All question the representation of black women in their diversity, with a common point : the focus is on the hair.

Beninese sculptor Marius Dansou creates whimsical hairstyles from concrete iron, while Nigerian painter Wanger Ayu depicts black women: sketched bodies, faces and hair. It’s about elevating yourself, owning yourself, your story, and even your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Whenever we talk about African hair, we talk about it in terms of liberation, freedom, power, expression… We often fail to talk about hair from the angle of vulnerability. »she explains.

The hair, strength and vulnerability of the African woman

A vulnerability that Laetitia Ky also seized on. The versatile Ivorian artist, very followed on Instagram, stages herself in a photo series by sculpting her own hair with whom she maintains a complex relationship.I went back to natural in 2012. I was 17, and it was the first time I encountered this texture. It was hard to learn to like it, it was hard to get used to it. I know how vulnerable I felt in those moments. When it comes to our hair, as black women, there’s a lot of vulnerability, but there’s also a lot of strength, because today, me, that’s my tool to claim A lot of things »she explains.

The exhibition was already sold out at the time of the opening. It will continue at the Guirandou gallery until June 24.

Another narrative on the place of women

The exhibition ” Regards contemporaries responds to the need to create another narrative about women in Ivorian art, another look. Explanations by Ghislain Coulibaly, sociologist specializing in gender, president of the Network of Men Committed to Gender Equality in Côte d’Ivoire.In general, anything that refers to creativity, to art, and that puts the accent on the woman, is really the woman consigned to her reproductive role. The woman who is a wife, the woman who is a mother, the woman who transmits values. A woman’s place is in the family unit, with a social division of labor that sends her back to household chores. That too is another section that has been painted a lot. »

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