30.05.2016 - Africa Department

UNESCO opens it's doors to the beauty of the African continent

Every year, UNESCO celebrates the Africa through a series of events aimed at promoting the artistic and cultural richness of the continent.

The works highlight the theme of this year’s Africa Week: “Women facing climate challenges”. All regions of the continent were represented during this exhibition. In every aspect, women play a pivotal role towards the cultural and social dynamics; they represent a thriving Africa that reflects a desire for revival and integration.

Many of the artists that have turned to recycling: fabric, glass, wood, aluminum and paper, which have become bearers of a universal message; the conservation of the planet. The creation by Hélène Devouge (France), Women walking under an increasingly hot sun gives tribute to Guinean women for their tenacity and their undying courage. Like the latter, Amel Daoudi (Algeria) and Alice Gahunga Durand (Rwanda) prefer using recycling materials and salvaging in the spirit of respect for sustainable development.

This exhibition is also an opportunity to pay tribute to nature in its purest essence, particularly in North Africa. Mrs Nezha Alaoui, Moroccan artist, talks of a living nature expressed poetically and tells the story of a country that considers the boundaries imposed by colonization a sham. Slimani Merouane (Algeria) and Shiraz (Tunisia) use plants as the base for their work. The latter, in particular, evokes the image of a female designer who grows and develops harmoniously through three branches representing the four seasons of the year.

In East Africa, Ms. Nicola Risley, a Kenyan painter and artist, pays homage to the dignity and beauty of the Samburu people, distant cousins of the Massaï, as well as to the animals. Her style is typically African: she reflects the colors and spirit of a hugely diverse continent. Several details reveal the force and pride of her art, which range from pearl necklaces of unmarried young girls to hair tinted in red ochre of tribal warriors, once a man reaches maturity. Similarly, the tones and nuances employed perfectly illustrate the Tanzanian origins of Emma Mnaya-Buzy. The paintings, sculptures and mosaics are creations inspired by the poetic compositions of Mother Nature. Synthetic pigments, as well as the acrylic associated with linocut techniques, figure a lot in her work. The sculptures are created in a continuous process of discovery, a strong, dynamic activity that allows her to recycle as well as transform high quality, synthetic materials.

On visiting the exhibition, you get to meet with the Penseuse by Rose-Marie Courant, a French woman, who is an African at heart, with strong links to Liberia. You will also see the work of Central African painter Dolphino Mfundu who, through his digital paintings, offers us an image of a strong woman, the cornerstone of the African society. The canvas of the tent of the Baye Fall brotherhood, placed between her camera lens and the streets of Dakar, allows Mabeye Deme to capture eternity. One of her photos captures the image of a moving woman, turning her back to the camera. It symbolizes the African matriarchal society.

These artists’ works give us hope for the eradication of all forms of violence and discrimination towards women so that they can freely participate in the emergence of the African continent.


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