Thiaroye (Dakar), Senegal 12 Nov 2016 - 10 Dec 2016
Claude Gomis, I Do Not See You at Mbao, 2016, courtesy of apexart
“GUIS SOU ME LE MBAO” (I DO NOT SEE YOU AT MBAO) will create a site specific exhibition on the premises of “Camp Thiaroye” on the outskirts of Dakar (Senegal), the site of a brutal massacre of Tirailleurs Sénégalais (African soldiers conscripted for the French army) at the hands of the French army in 1944.
The commemoration of both the massacre and the institution of the Tirailleurs, which remains a controversial and largely silenced chapter in colonial history, will function as a starting point for reflections on (postcolonial) politics of memory, modes of resistance, and the persistence of economic and racial injustices that continue to frame the asymmetric relations between the West and the non-West.
The title of the exhibition – “GUIS SOU ME LE MBAO” – literally issues a warning of the danger of non-remembrance of the colonial past and the invisibility but severeness of it’s repercussions in our present through the persistence of colonial epistemologies, social and economic structures. The project will invite 6 artists to engage with the community of Thiaroye and the surviving veterans, in order to create site specific works at the Camp Thiaroye that will reflect on modes of resistance and means of challenging (post)colonial politics of memory, in order to imagine a self-determined future.
Claude Gomis is a Dakar-born artist and musician living and working in Brooklyn. He grew up traveling and performing as a dancer and percussionist with his father, Rudy Gomis, from Orchestra Baobab. In his teens, Gomis started creating videos and stadium-sized concert backdrops for musicians like Youssou N’dour, Peter Gabriel, and Positive Black Soul. After completing his studies at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Dakar, Gomis moved to New York to pursue his career, recording and touring with bands like Midnite and Sadao Watanabe. He released two solo albums that blend Senegalese musical traditions with jazz, reggae, Afrobeat, and blues. His paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Dakar, New York, and Berlin.
Saskia Köbschall is a Berlin-born cultural manager, curator, and anthropologist. She completed her graduate studies at the New School for Social Research in New York with a Fulbright scholarship and is a grantee of the Alvin Johnson University in Exile Memorial Fellowship. She is the manager of the non-profit art space SAVVY Contemporary Berlin. She has been project coordinator for numerous exhibitions, art and educational projects, curated exhibitions (The Myth of Proportional Response,WAHALA – On Representation, Authenticity, Expectations and Other Inflated Concepts, etc.), and discursive programs (Wir Sind Alle Berliner: 1884-2014) alongside Bonaventure Ndikung and Elena Agudio.