September 6, 2011 - RAW MATERIAL COMPANY - United States of Africa
September 6, 2011

United States of Africa

Mansour Ciss Kanakassy, “Lumumba,” 2010.
Aluminium print, 125x80cm.
Courtesy the artist.

United States of Africa
21 September–31 December 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011, 7–9pmRaw Material Company, center for art, knowledge and society
4074 bis Sicap Amitié 2
BP 22710 Dakar, Senegal
+221 33 864 0248

Gallery hours:
Tuesday–Saturday from 10am–8pm

In reference to the notorious Congo Conference that took place in Berlin from November 1884 to February 1885 under the spearhead of the first German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, Berlin-based Senegalese artist Mansour Ciss Kanakassy created an art laboratory in 2002 called Laboratoire de Déberlinisation (laboratory of deberlinization). The laboratory is a conceptual framework for artistic action to unpack the exploitation and mercantile ideologies applied on Africa in the late nineteenth century known as the Scramble for Africa. It works collaboratively by reaching out to diverse professional backgrounds and artistic practices.

The Congo Conference was convened to discuss economic dominance and partition of the African territories among European powers. It is widely recognized that the partitions and borders drawn then, followed by a ruthless colonial rule, are—among other things—at the root of contemporary crisis and disruptions that undermine economical and political progress in Africa.

Aware of the insurmountable obstacles that would indefinitely postpone the advent of a single currency and a unified space for mobility and exchange, Mansour Ciss Kanakassy and other contemporary African artists such as Pascale Marthine Tayou have substituted themselves to the states to achieve the seemingly impossible. They do not need endless committees, high level meetings, majority votes and they like to create a symbolic land to assert their political stand.

The Afro, an imaginary single currency for Africa, is the artistic response to bankrupt policies of the post independence era. It is a conceptual work using multiple practices such as installation, print, performance and public lecture. The exhibition is accompanied by a newspaper with texts by Simon Njami and Koyo Kouoh as well as an interview of the artist by David Cadasse.

Mansour Ciss Kanakassy
Born in Dakar in 1957, Ciss studied sculpture at Institut National des Arts in Dakar from 1973 to 1977. He has exhibited widely in Africa and Europe in group and solo shows at the Dakar Biennale, Musée National du Mali, Bamako, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, and Museum der Weltkulturen, Frankfurt am Main among other venues. His works are in the collections of Museum der Weltkulturen in Frankfurt am Main, the National Collection of Senegal and the Central Bank of West African States. He is the recipient of the Léopold Sedar Senghor award for artistic excellence. He lives and works in Berlin.

In collaboration with University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD) and Institut Supérieur des Arts et des Cultures (ISAC) the lecture program “United States of Africa”: utopia or reality, will take place from October to December 2011. Lecturers are Mamadou Lamine Diallo, economist and former project leader of United States of Africa at the African Union, historians Prof. Abdoulaye Bathily and Dr Ibrahima Wone, author and social critic Safietou Ly Sow and rapper Didier Awadi.

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, commissioning, 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 and is equally informed by urbanity, literature, film, architecture, politics, fashion, cuisine, and diasporas.

Raw Material Company is supported by its income generating activities, private donors and Arts Collaboratory.

For further information please contact

United States of Africa
Share - United States of Africa
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York