Decolonization of contemporary art

May 2006 -

More than one hundred professionals gathered on 31 March and 1 April for the symposium Art comtemporain et sociétés post-coloniales in the renovated Petit Palais. The topic of discussion originated in the period in which this Parisian art temple was being constructed: what is the position of contemporary art in the post-colonial era?


Expédition no. 3 by Christine Quoiraud in 2002

Discussions regarding the definition of sensitive phrases like "métissage" and "hybridity" marked the search for a common vocabulary. Despite the numerous quotation marks flying through the air with dubious terms like "primitive" and "naive", and with contributions from Edouard Glissant, Micel Leiris and Jacques Derrida, the differences between the 25 exposition makers, art critics and anthropologists from both the old and the new world crystallized.

A few program elements: Thierry Dufrêne of Paris X used the term "aire culturelle" to explore a new art historical method. Researcher Patricia de Bollivier allowed the participants a glimpse of her thesis on the art world of the multicultural Île de la Réunion. Curator Abedellah Karooum sketched his Expéditions , nomadic art projects in Morocco. Alexandra Loupet-Galitzine, researcher with the university of Yaoundé, fiercely criticized Africa Remix , the large 2005 summary exposition.

Despite self-censure and general pleas not to revert to the victim role, the discussions were heated. One of the conclusions that could be drawn: France has not caught up with England in terms of the infrastructure of organizations and media. A comment from the audience that hit the nail on the head: "Multiculturalism is the study of monoculturalism, just like feminism studies masculinity and black art is a study of being white".
To personally experience this spirit, visit the 7th Biennial in Dakar, being held from 5 May through 5 June.