AFRIK’ART FESTIVAL 2021
9 - 31st July 2021
Art & Patrimoine Foundation, Le Réservoir.
Afrik’Art Festival 2021 is part of the 28th annual Africa-France Summit, held in Montpellier. Afrik’Art is a significant, uplifting artistic and cultural exchange featuring art exhibitions, residencies, screenings, live performance and more.
The international festival is organised by the Africa-France Artistic Federation, bringing together contemporary artists from various backgrounds. This festival aims to develop cultural links between the African continent and France in order to promote diversity and equal opportunities and innovation, all in a spirit of solidarity and exchange.
The birth of the Africa-France Federation
The “Federation Artistique Afrique-France” was created in January of 2021, by two friends, Valère Hounhanou and Joël Réjant, with the objective of helping young Africans and diaspora artists to increase their visibility on the artistic scene.
The Fédération is presenting a series of exhibitions dedicated to African art in the Fondation Art & Patrimoine's Montpellier space, the La Serre gallery.
This exhibition began on 9 July and will be continue until the 31st July 2021. It presents the work of young artists hosted in residence from 15 June to 15 July in the Sétois space of the Art & Patrimoine Foundation, Le Réservoir. These artists come from a variety of countries on the African continent, including the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, Benin and Guinea.
The Chairman of Federation Artistique Afrique-France, Valère Hounhanou, was born and spent his much of his childhood in Togo, where he lived until he was 13. He remembers as a child, the lack of access to materials led to children creating their own toys. Valère attributes his interest in African Art to immersion in the creative environment from an early age.
Joël Réjant, the Communications director, is originally from the West Indies, his parents are from Martinique and Guadeloupe, he is also the co-founder of the Observascope agency, a communications agency specialising in the arts and new technologies.
Valère Hounhanou and Joël Réjant had wanted to meet with Spike Lee, who is the president of the jurists at the Cannes Film Festival this year, in order to offer him a piece of work by an Ivorian artist, Well Rimo, who has been based in Montpellier for the past five years. Thanks to their friend, the actor Ériq Ebouaney, this meeting was arranged. Interested by their commitment, Spike Lee met with Valère and Joël at the Martinez hotel. Lee, who himself is trying to put things in place for Africa, proposed to bringing the Afrik'Art Festival to New York.
Valère Hounhanou, Spike Lee and Joël Réjant "See you in New York" said Spike Lee"
The 28th France-Africa summit will take place later in the year in Montpellier from 7 to 9 October 2021.
FEATURED ARTISTS 2021:
Born in 1979 in Porto-Novo in Benin, Rafiy Okefolahan first trained with Beninese artists, then he trained at the National School of Arts in Dakar. A multidisciplinary and self-taught artist, he creates paintings, drawings, and installations. Color, for him, is a means of expression. Rafiy’s paintings are populated with faces, symbols, and signs expressing "the noise of the world". He tries through them to fight oblivion and to heal wounds. A committed artist, he tackles socio-economic and identity issues such as the issue of population displacement, inequality, and corruption through art. His works mix various materials such as coffee grounds or rust, borrowed from the voodoo tradition, raw pigments, Indian ink, and oil paint. The power of the color and the relief of the fabrics create an intense aesthetic in order to restore a central place to the human.
Rafiy attaches particular importance to the dialogue of disciplines, he has collaborated with contemporary dancers in the context of various events including the Dakar Biennale, the Vaudou Festival in Strasbourg and at the Cité Internationale des Arts. In recent years his work has been moving towards installation, in order to work with color in 3 dimensions. This reflection has inhabited him for many years, he notably produced installations at the Center (Benin) in 2015 and in Dakar, during the Off of the Biennale in 2008. Installation or painting, his artistic research remains that of a humanist colorist.
Obou Gbais, was born in 1992 in Guiglo in western Ivory Coast. Passionate about drawing and painting since his early childhood, he joined the Lycée d’Enseignement Artistique in Abidjan. He obtained his Bachelor in 2012 and entered the National School of Fine Arts in Abidjan where he specialized in painting. Victim of trauma following the 2002 post election crisis, Obou dedicates his artistic creation to the theme of the human condition and life in the slums. Obou testifies about his experiences in the precarious neighborhood that opened his arms when he was fleeing the war. His work shows the human warmth and the living together that manifests itself in these low districts of Abidjan. His characters are all inspired by the masks of his region, the Dan masks For Obou, the slum is the story of a city, the story of many lives written not in torment but in the hope of a winning ending.
Bellus is a Guinean artist who has been fascinated by the graphics of animated films since he was a young boy. What guides his creation is the desire to illustrate what he imagines with his own hands, and he compares the movements of his medium to the beautiful gestures they make on the football field. He compares the movements of his medium to the beautiful gestures they make on a football field. Drawing and painting has become his game and an escape. In his palette, it is his emotions, his history and his experiences that define the colours. Evolving in an artistic microcosm, he is inspired by his peers to develop his own style. Colourful and exotic, bella bah's universe takes you on a journey to another continent.
WELL RIMO (Ivorian painter)
After training at INSAAC, Well set up a painting workshop with friends in San Pedro where he lives. At the time, he painted on the theme of African tradition, mainly that of the north of the Ivory Coast where he is originally from. In 2015, the artist was forced to flee his studio because of the civil war. During his journey, he never stopped painting. He tried painting with a mixture of collage and pigments for a more evocative result than throughout his artistic career, he became a convinced Colorist.
Well expresses his feelings in his work, as a testimony of his experience, that questions us on the mysteries of an African culture. He impresses us with his modernity.
Well has exhibited many Ivorian cities, in Burkina Faso, in Spain and in the South of France. He is currently based in Montpellier.