"I, Myself, Am the sun"
Hakeem Adam, M'barka Amor, Valerie Asiimwe Amani,
Nú Barreto, Leonard Pongo
2 April - 14 May 2022
« Europe is not my center […] Why should I be a sunflower and revolve around the sun? I, Myself, Am the sun» *
The group exhibition "Je suis moi-même le soIeil" ("I, Myself, Am the sun") brings together five visual artists from Africa and its diaspora.
The works of Leonard Pongo, Nú Barreto M’Barka Amor, Hakeem Adam, Valerie Asiimwe Amani reflect upon the meaning of Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène’s famous words.
Where and what is our center when we exist at the intersection of different time spaces and realities? How to rethink geographies and overlay cosmogonies to create a new diasporic reality?
When Ousmane Sembène boasts himself about being the sun, he radiates with his words and gives a license to be free to a whole generation of artists from the Souths. This group exhibition exposes those gazes that claim to prevail to the inexorable transformation of our contemporary societies. This exhibition allows everyone to redefine their place and therefore their center.
Liz Gomis – 2022, February
Born in 1995 in Ghana, he lives and works in Bremen (Germany).
Hakeem Adam is a Ghanaian multimedia artist and writer. He explores the power of narrative, conveyed through various creative mediums including poetry, creative writing, photography, video art and sound design. He is the founder and creative director of DANDANO - a pan-African cultural platform for the critique and documentation of African film and music - and has contributed to the African culture archive for Africa Is a Country, OkayAfrica and others.
Hakeem’s multidisciplinary practice explores digital and physical behaviours through installations using sound as a predominant narrative tool. He confronts his ideas and emotions about identity, politics and freedom.
Hakeem participated in the British Council’s ColabNowNow residency in Maputo in 2018. In the same year he won the Ghana Portraits Photo Award. In 2019 he is invited to the Cryptic International artist residency organised in partnership with Cove Park in Scotland. He studied psychology and English at the University of Ghana and is currently pursuing an MA in Digital Media at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen.
His work has been exhibited internationally at Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra, Ghana (2018); Many Studios in Glasgow, Scotland (2018); Okay Space in New York, USA (2018); SPACE10 in Copenhagen, Denmark (2019 ); Abandon Normal Device (2021); York Mediale (2021) and IDFA (2021).
Born in 1972 in Lyon, lives and works in Lyon, France.
Trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyon and in alternative artistic circles and performing arts, the visual artist takes pleasure in experimenting with performance, a practice she has kept from her years as an actress in Ariane Mnouchkine’s troupe.
As a performer, video artist and visual artist, M’barka Amor places her body at the centre of her artistic research. She constantly questions contemporary society, preconceptions, traditions and the standardization of thought. The artist is interested in her Tunisian roots and does not hesitate to stage her family, particularly in her video work.
M’barka Amor also draws. She fills in notebooks with shapes from her imagination and images from magazines that she collects. Exquisite cadavers that mix and overlap without any predefined narrative. M’barka’s compositions question the notion of space and offer a gentle reflection on our times.
In the series Now I’m White, the artist questions the place of the black body by drawing inspiration from the practice of “blackface” and the minstrel shows, the racist spectacles of the 19th century. The images she draws from them take us to another imagination, another history.
M’barka’s work has been shown mainly in galleries and fairs in Paris and Lyon. In 2021, she has been invited by the Fondation H in Paris for a retrospective exhibition of her work.
Valerie Asiimwe Amani
Born in 1991 in Tanzania, lives and works in London, UK.
Valerie Asiimwe Amani is a visual artist and writer whose multidisciplinary explorations through video, text, textiles and installation question perceptions and interpretations of the body, its eroticism and language in relation to the spaces in which it unfolds.
Valerie Asiimwe Amani has a degree in economics and fashion and completed her MFA at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University. She is the winner of the Vivien Leigh Award 2021 and her work is in the collections of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. She has been shortlisted for the Henrike Grohs Prize 2022 and has also been shortlisted for the Dentons Art Prize 2022.
Amani’s work has been included in the exhibition The Main Complaint, at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town, Terrains of Possibility at Rele Gallery in Lagos and Boda Boda Lounge at City SALTS in Basel. She is a regular speaker at numerous conferences on art and activism, including SOAS, the University of London and the Royal African Society.
Born in 1966 in Guinea-Bissau, lives and works in Paris, France.
A graduate of the École Nationale des Métiers de l’Image des Gobelins (Paris), Nú Barreto has developed his own language and a multidisciplinary and political practice. His work has received international recognition and Nú Barreto has established himself as one of the most prominent artists in contemporary African art.
This is reflected in the numerous solo and group exhibitions devoted to his work, including: AFRO, Rencontres avec l’art de l’Afrique contemporaine at the Centre culturel de l’Escale in Levallois-Perret (France) in 2019; 0. 10 RELOADED Avant-Garde at the Sabine Knust Gallery in 2018, in Munich (Germany), where he exhibited alongside William Kentridge, El Anatsui and Isaac Julien; and the major exhibition entitled Lumières d’Afrique, which, between 2015 and 2018, travelled between Europe and Africa. In 2006 he participated in the Dakar Biennial and in 2013 in the Sao Paulo Biennial.
In 2015, the artist did his first solo exhibition in China entitled Ressonância at the Taipa House Museum in Macau (China), and participated in Rastros at the Museum Capixaba do Negro (MUCANE) in Vitória (Brazil).
Nú Barreto’s works can be found in important public collections such as the Museo Capixaba do Negro (MUCANE) in Vitória, Brazil; the Fundação Pro-Justitiae in Porto, and the Fundação Arpád Szenes y Viera da Silva (PLMJ), in Lisbon, Portugal; the Union Economica e Monetária Ouest Africana (UEMOA) in Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso; as well as in the Taipa House Museum of Macao, China.
Born in 1988 in Belgium, he lives and works between Belgium & Congo DR.
Leonard Pongo is a visual artist and photographer. He sees photography as a tool to reappropriate his Congolese culture and documents with a project like Uncanny the daily life of the big cities in Congo. This project has won him several international awards.
He now focuses on exploring the diversity of the DRC’s landscapes and offers allegorical imagery of the country, imbued with a sense of magical beauty and mystical power.
Leonard Pongo’s work has been published worldwide and presented in numerous exhibitions, including IncarNations at the Bozar Center for Fine Arts (2019), curated by Kendell Geers and Sindika Dokolo, and the 3rd Beijing Photography Biennale at the CAFA Art Museum. He was chosen as one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2016, is a recipient of the 2017 Visura Fellowship, the 2018 Getty Reportage Fellowship and participated in the 2018 Joop Swart Masterclass.
Primordial Earth, his latest project, was presented at the Lubumbashi Biennale and the Rencontres de Bamako where it was awarded the “Prix de l’OIF”. In 2021, he will have a solo exhibition at Bozar Brussels.