The most beautiful journeys are those that permeate our childhood. Sounds, smells, colours – everything is a step into the new. This is the journey of my mind’s eye. I imagine myself setting off at full sail from Lille to the Cape of Good Hope. Yet the destination is of little importance, to tell the truth. All that matters to me is the hope contained in the name of this South African city at the far edge of the continent.
This project invites the audience to set sail… Dropping everything and leaving is probably the purest form of travel. As a child, each book I read took me away to new worlds that I had to fashion to my own idea. Names fascinated me: Zanzibar, Macao, Timbuktu, Cipangu… Even today, these names bring me back to the age when I first discovered them and their fascinating mystery has remained intact in my memory.
But the most beautiful journeys are those still to be made. We close our eyes and imagine the criss-crossing of the rails, the switches, the heavy sound of the locomotive setting off from a city, Lille, at the crossroads of Europe. A city that is traversed, a crossroads-city in which there is no need to leave to already escape from the everyday. So why not set out from Lille to cross France and part of southern Europe, continuing down through the length of Africa to reach the Cape of Good Hope?
Simon Njami, Curator
Mirroring the AFRIQUES CAPITALES exhibition presented at the Parc de la Villette, Paris from 29 March to 21 May as part of the 100% AFRIQUES Festival.
Artists : Kwame Akoto, LeIla Alaoui, Heba Amin, El Anatsui, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Nicola lo Calzo, Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, theo eshetu, Gopal Dagnogo, Modupeola Fadugba, Meschac Gaba, Jellel Casteli, Pélagie gbaguidi, Kendell Geers, Hassan Hajjaj, Nicholas Hlobo, DÉlio Jasse, Katia Kameli, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Abdoulaye Konaté, Moshekwa Langa, Michèle Magema, Fatima Mazmouz, Emo de Medeiros, Hassan Musa, Paul Alden Mvoutoukoulou, Mwangi hutter, Moataz Nasr, Cheikh Ndiaye, Aimé Ntakiyica, Pumé Bylex, Émilie Régnier, Andrew Tshabangu, Freddy Tsimba and Amina Zoubir.