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Raw Material Company 2014 programme

Personal Liberties
In 2014, Raw Material Company is looking at personal liberties within the context of freedom of speech, sexuality and homophobia. The program will unfold in multiple acts and through a various range of activities including exhibitions, seminars, screenings, residencies and a publication.

Design: Rasmus Koch. Courtesy Raw Material Company.
Design: Rasmus Koch. Courtesy Raw Material Company.

Who Said It Was Simple
29 January–29 March
Opening: Tuesday 28 January, 6:30–8:30pm
Curated by curator-in-residence Eva Barois De Caevel

This exhibition marks the beginning of the year-long program titled Personal Liberties. Who Said It Was Simple, the first act in a series of activities, is inspired by news media as a basis to question how sexual minorities and expressions in the margins are treated in Senegal and Africa today. It is an open critical platform. A vast documentation including news clips, audio and video material as well as maps, texts and documents from various sources builds the content of the exhibition. In presenting this large research we want to discuss difference, minority and margins with an emphasis on sexuality and homophobia in news media and how this affects public opinion. The exhibition also raises a more crucial question: how to promote human rights and provide the ground for respect and dignity when concepts of personal liberties are determined by a complex legacy as well as by contemporary forms of conditioning?

The title is borrowed from a poem by the African-American writer and activist Audre Lorde (1934–1992). The work of this important figure addresses discrimination, marginalization and sexuality through theoretical essays and poetry.

Precarious Imaging: Visibility surrounding African Queerness
7 May–18 July
Opening: Tuesday 6 May, 6:30–8:30pm
Curated by Ato Malinda and Koyo Kouoh

This act is set within the Dakar Biennale OFF program. In 38 out of 54 African countries homosexuality is illegal. The exhibition will explore this reality in the work of artists from Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya respectively: Kader Attia, Andrew Esiebo, Zanele Muholi, Amanda Kerdahi M. and Jim Chuchu. Except for South Africa all countries have stringent laws against homosexuality, in which same-sex intercourse leads to incarceration. It is the history of activism that with visibility come human rights. But what is to be done when visibility incites violence against the minority? The shared condition of precariousness implies that there will be casualties. There has been evidence of pre-colonial homosexuality, although this is not the primary focus of this exhibition, it is no doubt of interest to many. The exhibition includes photography, video, installation and performance.

Causality Dilemmas: A Chronology of Human Feelings and Desires
Curated by Gabi Ngcobo

This act will function as a metaphysical studio and creative research lab in which the outcome becomes a mind-map of human feelings and desires in Africa with Senegal as a focal point. Participants in the research will be sourced from the creative/intellectual community of Dakar, from fashion designers to historians—architects to human rights activists, scientists to artists. A carefully selected group of international participants will contribute through mail art, social media and other online channels including Skype and Google hangouts.

The outcome of this creative research will be presented as research material with key points of continuity that may or may not be taken forward. The project will include interviews, images, texts, sounds, books, music and objects. This research and studio is interested in the creative aspects of exploring what happens when we forcefully delve into the futility of identifying the first case of a circular cause and consequence. Participants will explore gifts and thefts given to Africa throughout history with a gaze that is pointed to alternative sexualities through time immemorial.


“Reporting on Difference. Different Report?
Media, Difference, and Marginality”
7–9 March

“Reporting on Difference. Different Report?” is a three-day seminar that addresses the generally discriminating radical tone with regards to sexual difference in African news media. The seminar will bring together social scientists, historians, religious leaders, lawyers, editors-in-chief and journalists to discuss the current situation in multiple working sessions.

“Our Bodies: Loving Self, Identity & Personal Liberties”
12–14 May

“Today I believe in the possibility of love; that is why I endeavour to trace its imperfections, its perversions.”
–Frantz Fanon

Fanon, the father of what is considered postcolonial studies, traces the affects of colonialism not just on the mere physical geography of land and territory but rather, what is considered more damaging, the scares, traces and imprints of colonialism on the geographies of the physical body. Fanon’s statement about love is an invitation to embark on a journey of true liberation from the chains of colonialism to attain personal liberties. True liberation is embracing and loving our bodies and ourselves. “Our Bodies: Loving Self, Identity & Personal Liberties” is a three-day seminar of personal development and enrichment. Building on the primary subject of the exhibition Precarious Imaging through communal dialogue, personal narrative, and interpersonal exercises, we will engage with Fanon’s possibility of love.


“Condition Report on Artistic Education in Africa”
26–28 June

The second biennial program of the Condition Report series will take place over three days in Dakar, Senegal. This follows on the first program in 2012, which focused on emergent independent art spaces in Africa. The main objective of this second international symposium is to provide a platform and opportunity for examining artistic pedagogies and practices, institutional policies and traditions, and how these contribute to the production, transmission and perpetuation of artistic and visual knowledge in African academies. Participating thinkers, faculty, artists, and cultural practitioners working in the educational and academic field will reflect on crucial and urgent matters relating to systematic revitalization of artistic education in African countries. Invited participants will provide analyses of the current situation as well as articulate possible futures for academic art teaching in Africa given the changing contours of national imaginaries and the shifting global economic-political landscape.

Out now

Condition Report on Building Art Institutions in Africa
Edited by Koyo Kouoh, texts by Abdellah Karroum, Juan Gaitan, Elvira Dyangani Ose, Gabi Ngcobo, Sarah Rifky, Oumar Sall, Françoise Vergès, Anton Vidokle among others.
296 pages, 26 illustrations, soft cover

The reader is a collection of essays resulting from the eponymous symposium held in Dakar in 2012. It addresses the changing role of art institutions and initiatives in Africa, and looks at the structural and programmatic issues at play within those institutions. Models and profiles of art institutions developed in other regions are also examined. The publication further discusses how former colonial powers define and implement their strategies of cultural representation and exchange in post-colonial areas, and how this in turn influences local dynamics of cultural action. The publication is bilingual in French and English, and is available at Hatje Cantz Publishers and Raw Material Company.

Word!Wor?Word! Issa Samb and the undecipherable form
Edited by Koyo Kouoh, texts by Simon Njami, Sylvette Maurin and an interview by Koyo Kouoh, 300 pages, color illustrations, soft cover

This comprehensive monograph contains a selection of emblematic works by seminal Senegalese-born artist Issa Samb, aka Joe Ouakam. The publication follows Samb’s first solo exhibition in Europe held at the Office of Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) from May to June 2013. The publication focuses on Samb’s multifaceted practice spanning a period of twenty-five years. It brings together for the first time works including paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, assemblages, poems, plays, essays and notes. The publication is bilingual in French and English, and is available at Sternberg Press and Raw Material Company.

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About Raw Material Company
Raw Material Company is a center for art, knowledge and society established in Dakar since 2008. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, commissioning, knowledge production, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa.

Raw Material Company is supported by self-generated funds. Additional generous support is provided by Arts Collaboratory; OCA, Office of Contemporary Art Norway; Foundation for Arts Initiatives; Johann Jacobs Museum; Goethe Institut and The Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dakar.

Raw Material Company
Center for art, knowledge and society
4074 bis Sicap Amitié 2
BP 22710 Dakar
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–7pm
Free admission
T +221 33 864 0248