Bulawayo Conversations: Dear Dakar – Reunion Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

July 2020

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo is inviting you to a scheduled Bulawayo Conversations Zoom meeting. Topic: Dear Dakar: Reunion Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Tuesday 7 July 2020 staring 14:30 Harare, Pretoria time. To Participate in the meeting click on the link below

https://maxwellmutanda.zoom.us/j/4990639072?pwd=aXRicDVLL0dDNm1xSyt4a0tVd2N0Zz09

or http://www.zoom.us click Join a meeting enter meeting ID: 499 063 9072 and when prompted enter the meeting password: 9AQPqv

Cliford Zulu the Gallery Curator and co Curator of the Dear Dakar project in 2014 will be in conversation with Komla Eza from Togo, Taiye Idahor from Nigeria, Lassana Igo Diarra from Mali, Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh from Ghana and Kitso Lin Lelliott, South Africa.

 

Background to the Project

‘DEAR DAKAR,’ the Finnisage project by the Àsìkò 2014 participants held at the Piscine Olympique Nationale, Dakar, Saturday 7 June 2014

This project emerged from the 4th edition of the CCA, Lagos Àsìkò art school programme that ran from 5th May to 8th June 2014. The participating artists are Nduwhite Ndubuisi Ahanonu (Nigeria), Eza Komla (Togo), Taiye Idahor (Nigeria), Kitso Lynn Lelliott (South Africa), Vasco Manhiça (Mozambique), Rafiy Smith Okefolahan (Benin), Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh (Ghana), Moses Serubiri (Uganda), Tito Valery (Cameroon), and curators are Dana Whabira (Zimbabwe), Lassana Igo Diarra (Mali), Moses Serubiri (Uganda) and Cliford Zulu (Zimbabwe).

The director of CCA, Lagos, late Bisi Silva (Nigeria) and programme facilitators, Stephanie Cardon (United States), Kianga Ford (United Stated), and Eddie Chambers (United Kingdom) worked with the workshop participants in the development of this project.

The artists and curators of Àsìkò conceived a project that was concerned with the culture of letters and letter writing. Each artist wrote a ‘letter’ to Dakar, as a city personified, and in turn has made a digital recording of themselves speaking their letter, thereby translating it from an experience of writing and reading to a work of sound art. It was the sound art piece that formed the central component of the work, which was installed in a room at the Piscine Olympique Nationale, Dakar, on Saturday 7 June 2014. In the five weeks, the room in question was used by the CCA, Lagos Àsìkò art school programme.

The spoken letters (which were been joined together to form an extraordinary collage of different voices) reflected something of the wide range of experiences that workshop participants had in the five weeks. Visitors to the installation heard fragments of personal stories, elements of autobiography, and recounting some of the many individual experiences they have had in Dakar during the five weeks of the workshop. For many decades the writing, sending, and receiving of letters was a very important aspect of 20th-century life in Africa. Within this fascinating project, the artists have again returned to the central importance of the ‘letter’ and presented it in a decidedly modern form. Each participant’s letter was unique and was written entirely in the language, grammar, and sentence structure of one’s choice.
In the words of one of the participants, “This sound piece project raises the importance of memory as a relic of experience, one shared by the participants (curators and artists) on the program. The symbolism of the letter is strong when considered as a medium for the telling of stories or the remembrance of encounters.”

There is a pronounced aspect of oral tradition being sampled within this project, in which great importance was attached to those stories, histories, and experiences, which were spoken and passed from one listener to another, in the manner of the griot and other tellers of stories across Africa. The bringing together of many different stories and voices formed a compelling montage that represented a challenging, collective contribution of the group.
The artists and curators were present the and some will be present in the Bulawayo Reunion. Please join us for this fascinating event online.

For more details about Àsìkò 2014 please visit http://www.ccalagos.org/asiko-art-school and more about the Dear Dakar project https://www.facebook.com/Dear-Dakar-754834307872511/

email c.zulu@nationalgallery.co.zw.