In 1931 the International Congress of Urbanism in the colonies was held in Paris France in conjunction with the Colonial Exhibition held in the city. Published notes from the Congress included a recommendation by a French Colonial agent influential in the urbanisation of Morocco, Hubert Lyautey. Lyautey proposed a minimum of 500 meters be placed between native and European areas. This came to be know as the Lyautey doctrine.
Kapwani Kiwanga has hand drawn this geographical measurement using 500 meters of coloured chalk applied in 122cm lengths with a Chalk Line, a tool typically used in surveying to mark out distances.
The 122cm measurement is also significant. In Proxemics (the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction), this measurement is considered an ideal personal distance for interactions among good friends or family.
Kapwani Kiwanga is a Franco-Canadian (b. Hamilton, Canada) artist based in Paris. She lives and works in Paris.
Kiwanga’s work traces the pervasive impact of power asymmetries by placing historic narratives in dialogue with contemporary realities, the archive, and tomorrow’s possibilities.Her work is research-driven, instigated by marginalised or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of materials and mediums including sculpture, drawing installation, photography, video, and performance.
Kiwanga co-opts the canon; she turns systems of power back on themselves, in art and in parsing broader histories. In this manner Kiwanga has developed an aesthetic vocabulary that she described as « exit strategies » works that invite one to see things from multiple perspectives so as to look differently at existing structures and find ways to navigate the future differently.
In 2018, Kiwanga received the Frieze Artist Award (USA) and was also the winner of the annual Sobey Art Award (CA). In 2020 she was awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize (FR).
Solo exhibitions include MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (USA); Albertinum museum, Dresden (DE); Artpace, San Antonio (USA); Esker Foundation, Calgary (CA); Tramway, Glasgow International (UK); Fondazione Sandretto Rebaudengo, Turin (IT); Power Plant, Toronto (CA), Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago (USA); South London Gallery, London (UK); and Jeu de Paume, Paris (FR).
Selected group exhibitions include Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK); Serpentine Galleries, London (UK); Yuz Museum, Shanghai (CHN); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (CA); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (USA); CCA – Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry (UK); Centre Pompidou (FR); The Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (CA); and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (USA)