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Art Moves Africa – Retracing Roots and Tracing New Routes: Mobility and Touring in North Africa

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

A study by Lara Bourdin for Art Moves Africa, October 2019

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17<br />

Introduction<br />

In order of volume of exchange with <strong>North</strong> <strong>Africa</strong>, the<br />

follow<strong>in</strong>g countries are most active:<br />

1.<br />

2.<br />

3.<br />

4.<br />

5.<br />

6.<br />

7.<br />

8.<br />

9.<br />

Senegal<br />

Cameroon <strong>and</strong> South <strong>Africa</strong><br />

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)<br />

Ethiopia<br />

Burk<strong>in</strong>a Faso<br />

Kenya <strong>and</strong> Tanzania<br />

Côte d’Ivoire<br />

Mali<br />

Nigeria<br />

Most exchanges happen with West <strong>Africa</strong>, with Senegal,<br />

Burk<strong>in</strong>a Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali <strong>and</strong> Nigeria be<strong>in</strong>g the<br />

most active countries. Egypt has relatively strong l<strong>in</strong>ks<br />

with Nigeria. The Dakar Biennale is repeatedly cited as<br />

a reference for visual artists across <strong>North</strong> <strong>Africa</strong>; other<br />

events that are often noted <strong>in</strong>clude the Marché<br />

des <strong>Art</strong>s et du Spectacle (MASA <strong>–</strong> Market for<br />

Perform<strong>in</strong>g <strong>Art</strong>s) <strong>in</strong> Abidjan <strong>and</strong> the Bamako<br />

<strong>and</strong> Lagos biennales.<br />

Exchange is roughly the same with South, Central<br />

<strong>and</strong> East <strong>Africa</strong> (14 <strong>–</strong> 16%). Cameroon is by<br />

far the country <strong>in</strong> Central <strong>Africa</strong> that generates<br />

the most exchange, with strong ties to Morocco<br />

<strong>and</strong> Egypt <strong>in</strong> particular; it is followed by<br />

DRC. In East <strong>Africa</strong>, Ethiopia is the country that<br />

generates the most exchange, largely thanks to<br />

strong ties with Egypt; Kenya <strong>and</strong> Tanzania are<br />

the other two major hubs for mobility. In Southern<br />

<strong>Africa</strong>, South <strong>Africa</strong> is by far the country<br />

that generates the most exchange, presumably<br />

due to its strong cultural sector <strong>and</strong> capacity to<br />

host <strong>in</strong>ternational events.<br />

—<br />

QUOTE:<br />

« I’m work<strong>in</strong>g on <strong>Africa</strong>n identity.<br />

Culturally, we have many po<strong>in</strong>ts<br />

<strong>in</strong> common. There are trends<br />

l<strong>in</strong>k<strong>in</strong>g all <strong>North</strong> <strong>Africa</strong>n countries,<br />

whether they be <strong>in</strong> dance, music…<br />

there’s a history that l<strong>in</strong>ks us,<br />

sometimes a pa<strong>in</strong>ful one, because<br />

all the trade routes were between<br />

<strong>North</strong> <strong>and</strong> South. There’s a large<br />

community of black <strong>Africa</strong>ns<br />

from South of the Sahara that has<br />

become <strong>North</strong> <strong>Africa</strong>n. We need to<br />

recognize this entity. […]<br />

I th<strong>in</strong>k <strong>Africa</strong> has a great future.<br />

It’s a future we have to build<br />

ourselves; no one outside should<br />

decide what we should be. »<br />

Bahri Ben Yahmed<br />

Dancer <strong>and</strong> choreographer,<br />

Danseurs Citoyens & Lang’art,<br />

Tunis*<br />

Quote translated from French<br />

by the author.<br />

Other translated quotes will be marked<br />

(*) throughout the document.<br />

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