December 21, 2012 - RAW MATERIAL COMPANY - Boulevard du Centenaire Made in China: Photographs by Kan Si
December 21, 2012

Boulevard du Centenaire Made in China: Photographs by Kan Si

Kan Si, Untitled, 2011. Digital print, 60 x 90 cm. Courtesy the artist.

Boulevard du Centenaire Made in China: Photographs by Kan Si
14 December 2012–9 February 2013

Raw Material Company
Centre pour l’art, le savoir et la société
center for art, knowledge and society
4074 bis Sicap Amitié 2
BP 22710 Dakar, Senegal
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10–7pm

RSVP: 221 863 0248 

Raw Material Company announces the exhibition Boulevard du Centenaire Made in China, a series of photographs by Senegalese artist Kan Si on Dakar’s China Town. 

In the last two decades, the Chinese population in Africa has grown rapidly. Recent estimates account for a presence of over one million Chinese traders and workers—excluding the diplomatic corps and corporate executives—living and working across Africa. Every year thousands of Chinese immigrants make the long journey from mainland China to cities and villages throughout Africa. Various African Chambers of Commerce such as the ones in Chad, Namibia, Nigeria and Senegal expect a yearly influx of more than 15,000 Chinese migrants. This is not expected to slow as Africa’s economies continue to grow, and business continues to be profitable for those who can seize the opportunities that the African market offers. 

This development is having a transformative impact on culture, business and politics on the African continent. According to the China-Africa Project—a multimedia internet-based resource dedicated to researching every aspect of China’s growing engagement in Africa—there are more Chinese immigrants living in Africa today than French colonizers in the middle of the 20th century. The Chinese population is now a permanent fixture in Africa’s demography.

For two years the Senegalese artist Kan Si has been documenting the life and business activity of Chinese traders in Dakar’s historical middle-class neighborhood of Centenaire. He is developing a portfolio of great importance for the study of urban transformation. His works also show the distance that the Chinese community keep from the local society. Human interaction is reduced to commercial exchange and unregimented social and cultural interaction is almost nonexistent. 

The exhibition comes with an illustrated newspaper with writings by Koyo Kouoh and Kan Si. A one-day symposium on the growing Chinese interest in Africa will take place during the exhibition on 22 January 2013 and will bring together artists and curators as well as professionals from civil society, trade unions, academy, business and diplomatic corps. The symposium is followed by the screening of American documentary The Colony, by Brent E Huffman, on Chinese traders in Dakar. 

For more information, please contact Program Manager Marie Cissé at mariecisse [​at​]

About Kan Si
Born in Senegal in 1961, Amadou Kane Sy alias Kan Si graduated from Ecole Nationale des Arts in 1991. A multifaceted artist who works in painting, printmaking, installation, photography, video and poetry, he was on the steering committee of several organizations and is the former president and founding member of Man Keneen-Ki, an artists’ association working to safeguard street children in Dakar. He is a founding member and coordinator of the artists collective Huit Facettes Interaction, which participated in Documenta 11 in 2002. Kan Si has organized as well as participated in numerous artist residencies, exhibitions, and symposia internationally. In collaboration with the African-American artist Muhsana Ali, he founded and coordinates with her the activities of Portes et Passages, an art initiative that aims at opening a Holistic Art Center in the rural area in Senegal. He lives and works between Dakar, Goree and Joal.

About Raw Material Company
Raw Material Company is a not for profit center for art, knowledge and society. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, creative residencies, knowledge sharing, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa. The underlying rationale of its program is a firm belief in visual arts as a potent tool capable of shifting perspectives, and to ignite engagement for art practice as a viable path for social and political transformation. The program is transdisciplinary with a focus on photography and video, and is equally informed by urbanity, literature, film, architecture, politics, fashion, cuisine, and diasporas.

We acknowledge support from the American Embassy in Dakar for the screening of The Colony

Boulevard du Centenaire Made in China: Photographs by Kan Si
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