What have we not heard and what haven’t we ourselves said about us, our customs and values?
What don’t we say about our next-door and farther neighbours who, besides, feel the same about us?
As far as the society is concerned, what do we mean when we, for example say: Men and women, Adults and children, The eldest and the youngest, Black and white, and what do we make of the coloured and of the Diaspora? Is Africa unique or plural?
When we say somebody is a citizen, a patriot, a rebel, what do we imply? Can a patriot be a rebel? Can a rebel be a patriot? What may be implied from the proliferation of new churches and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Africa? What future for the so-called traditional African religions?
In the economic field, what do we mean by development and underdevelopment? Don’t we imply, for example that the so-called underdeveloped countries are underdeveloped in all aspects, including in the fields of arts and culture? Is it fair to believe that the richer people are, the happier they are? Is it a misapprehension, an error or simply, as we, for right or for wrong, prefer, the haves’ sorrow at the poor’s joy? What relevancy do such notions as “the informal sector” or “working children” have for the Africans?
Don’t we confuse independence and liberation, and aren’t we mixing democracy and the multiparty system, democracy and elections, power and wealth, dictatorship and political stability?
Don’t, wars and conflicts - so frequent in Africa - stem from the fact that the protagonists are too familiar with one another, or are they born from misapprehensions which only need to be removed? Does the explanation of wars and conflicts through ethnic and religious antagonism result from a misappropriation?
In the field of art, of the art world, what do we mean by “traditional and modern”, by “modern and contemporary” and what is implied? What should be understood from some artists’ refusal to be called “African artists” when they don’t deny their African origin?
The artists are not expected to illustrate these themes. It shall be sufficient if, either directly or indirectly, the suggested work discusses one of these issues.
Yacouba Konaté, General curator of Dak’art 2006.
Photo : Axel Reuter