Africa Acts

5-12 July 2015

Alongside the ECAS colloquium, IMAF and LAM are organizing AFRICA ACTS, a weeklong event dedicated to the arts of performance in Africa and the Diaspora. Developed with a large, local and international audience in mind, AFRICA ACTS takes place in locations across the city of Paris and its nearby suburbs. The very first event of its kind in France, AFRICA ACTS proposes ambitious and innovative programming focused on the work of artists at once highly original and deeply engaged. Choreographers, playwrights and actors, poets, composers, filmmakers, street artists, DJs and VJs hailing from cities across the globe meet and collaborate.

The artists taking part in AFRICA ACTS work resolutely outside the box. They share a refusal of easy choices and a dedication to forms of expression that push the boundaries of their respective disciplines. Their practices speak truth to power, rejecting in manifold ways the social, political and economic violence of our contemporary world and seeking, simultaneously, to transcend it. Theirs is art that re-enchants the social order, thinking it through the prism of imaginaries that stand on their heads clichés and ready-made ideas.

AFRICA ACTS is not a survey, an all-encompassing take on performance art(s) in Africa and the Diaspora. It does not seek to be exhaustive, but to offer to a diverse group of artists a carte blanche:  a space of interaction to enter upon as they wish, in dialogue with a wide range of audiences. With this in mind, the event will take place in and around many types of venues:  contemporary art spaces, museums, galleries, theatres large and small, streets and plazas, gardens and marketplaces. In these various arenas, at a time when Paris welcomes visitors from around the globe, the city will be abuzz with the work of artists who are among the international art scene’s most thoughtful and challenging practitioners.

From Lagos to New York, Tokyo and Paris, art from Africa and her diasporas is booming. AFRICA ACTS reflects this state of affairs and builds upon it, focusing on forms of performance that stand at the very cusp of contemporary practice.

Artists invited to take part in AFRICA ACTS include: Jelili Atiku, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Alioune Diagne, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Anne Historical, Serge Kakudji, Kapwani Kiwanga, Neo Muyanga, Ntone Edjabe, Qudus Onikeku, Brice Wassy and Breeze Yoko.

A detailed schedule is available separately.

AFRICA ACTS is made possible thanks to the kind support of Total, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, lnstitut français d’Afrique du Sud, ACASA, Maison Rouge, Fondation Kadist, Bétonsalon, Musée Dapper, Collège des Bernardins, Le M.U.R. and Fondation Lucien Paye.

Africa Acts performances at the Sorbonne

Wednesday, July 8th – S_Richelieu Amphitheatre
Neo Muyanga
A composer, librettist and musician, Neo Muyanga creates sonic spaces and installations that radically meld opera, cantatas, electronic and chamber music, madrigals and revolutionary songs. Following studies in Trieste, he returned to South Africa where he co-founded the renowned acoustic-pop duo Blk Sunshine with fellow musician Masauko Chipembere. The creator of multiple compositions, operas and orchestral pieces, he performs alone and in multi-instrument formations.

Friday, July 10th – Sorbonne, interior and exterior spaces
Jelili Atiku
It is often said that performance art is an elite practice, reserved for the happy few. Jelili Atiku, founder and director of Africa’s first performance biennale, proves otherwise. From Lagos to Casablanca, Vancouver and Tokyo, he takes over public space, calling out and rending asunder inequalities and injustices inherent to our late capitalist times.


ECAS’ closing event will take place at the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art. On this occasion, conference participants will witness a preview showing of the exhibition Beauté Congo 1926-2015 / Congo Kitoko. A place of extraordinary cultural vitality, the Democratic Republic of Congo is honored in this important show. Taking as its point of departure the birth of modern painting in Congo in the 1920s and moving on to look at several decades of painting, music, sculpture and photography, the exhibition traces almost a century of this vast country’s artistic creation.

Following on the Cartier Foundation, the New Morning, Paris’ jazz club extraordinaire, will host an after party. On the decks: Ntone Edjabe. Ntone is the founder, among many other initiatives, of the off-the-charts brilliant Chimurenga Magazine and the Pan-African Space Station (PASS), an Internet music platform streamed live across the African world. His practice as a DJ spans the fields of music and radical political engagement.

To get there:
Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain : 261 boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris
Métro: Lines/Lignes 4 et 6, stations Raspail or/ou Denfert-Rochereau
RER: RER B, station Denfert-Rochereau – Bus: 38 or/ou 68

New Morning : 7-9 rue des Petites Écuries 75010 Paris
Métro: Line/Ligne 4, station Château d’eau – Bus: 38, 39, 47, 48