Press Release

Across the board: Public Space/ Public Sphere Tate in Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD 2013, as part of the Across the board project, sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc

Across the board: Public Space/ Public Sphere Tate in Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD 2013, as part of the Across the board project, sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc

Tate will play a key part in Doual’art’s Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD 2013 (3-10 December) in Douala, Cameroon, presenting projects on 6, 8 and 9 December 2013. This is the third edition of this celebrated African triennial. Entitled Douala Metamorphosis, it celebrates art in public spaces and creativity in African cities as a result of the social relationships established in them. Tate’s participation marks the third part of the gallery’s four-part project entitled Across the board, sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.

Marilyn Douala-Bell and Didier Schaub founded the cultural association, Doual’art in 1991. They had no venue but, with their strong commitment to cultural development and their vision of art as catalyst for social change, and following a number of successful projects such as Ateliers Urbain, the Bessengue City Project and a series of conferences, L’Espace Doual’art opened in 1994. It became an arts centre promoting dialogue between artists, local authorities and residents in the city. The Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD was founded by Doual’art in 2007. Douala Metamorphosis features a series of artistic interventions in four neighbourhoods: Bonanjo, Bonamouti-Deido, Bessengue-Akwa and Ndogpassi.

The newly opened Théâtre-Source de Ndogpassi, a public art project by Belgian artist Philip Aguirre, commissioned by Doual’art for SUD 2010, will provide the stage for some of Tate’s Across the board: Public Space / Public Sphere projects. These will include South African artist collective, The Trinity Session, formed by Marcus Neustetter and Stephen Hobbs, who in collaboration with local entrepreneur Thomas Ebele Ndoka will create a performance which will involve local residents. The project takes places in the public space of Bessengue-Akwa and features stories of individuals who have grown up and lived in the neighbourhood. Their personal experiences reveal remarkable stories of endurance. Fashion and hairstyles are used in the performance as evidence of their individual transformation as well as being a metaphor for the transformation of the neighbourhood.

South African artists Mocke J. van Veuren and Nelisiwe Xaba will present their 3D video Angels and Uncles 2013, which was commended in the last edition of the Johannesburg Art Fair. Xaba will also present her acclaimed solo performance Plasticization. Faustin Linyenkula, choreographer and founder of Studios Kabako in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, presents his solo performance, Le Cargo.

Across the board was launched in November 2012 at Tate Modern with a day of performances by artists Otobong Nkanga and Nástio Mosquito in The Tanks. The project consists of a series of events exploring recent artistic practices in Africa. Raising questions on the politics of representation, institution building, public space/public sphere, and interdisciplinary ;practices, it is contributing to local expertise and networks. So far it has taken place at Tate Modern,London andAccra in Ghana.Douala in Cameroon is the third part of the project which will conclude in Lagos in Nigeria in April.

Across the board is curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose, Curator International Art, supported by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Tate Modern, with Loren Hansi Momodu, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. Across the board: Public Space / Public Sphere is sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. Organised by Tate Modern in collaboration with Doual’art.

Editor notes

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc

The Guaranty Trust Bank Plc partnership with Tate supports a dedicated curatorial post focusing on African art held by Elvira Dyangani Ose, an acquisition fund to help Tate enhance its holdings of work by African artists and the Across the board project programme from 2012–14.

Artists taking part in Across the board in Douala, Cameroon

The Trinity Session

Directed by Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter, The Trinity Session is a contemporary art production team defined by exchanges with their home city Johannesburg, in relation to Africa and similar developed /developing contexts. Key activities include; temporary interventions and performances, in addition to producing and curating large-scale public art programmes. Concerned with context specific technology applications and site-specific social practices, the artistic output of Hobbs/Neustetter guided by issues of urban decay, xenophobia and public access, results in live actions and video documentation works.

Nelisiwe Xaba

Born and raised in Dube, Soweto Nelisiwe Xaba began her vibrant career in dance almost 20 years ago. In the early 1990s she received a scholarship to study at the Johannesburg Dance Foundation, as well as the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. Returning to South Africa in 1997, Xaba joined Pact Dance Company and later launched her solo career, and began working with a variety of esteemed choreographers, including Robyn Orlin. Since then Xaba has been involved in various multi-media projects, collaborating with choreographers, performers, visual artists, fashion designers, theatre and television directors, poets and musicians. Her recent solo works and collaborations include Plasticization; They Look At Me and That’s All They Think; Sakhozi Says ‘Non’ to the Venus; Correspondances; Black!…White? and Uncles & Angels.

Mocke J. van Veuren

Mocke J. van Veuren is an independent artist, experimental filmmaker, researcher and educator based in Johannesburg. Over the last decade van Veuren has developed a variety of collaborative film and performative projects, experimenting with media technologies while engaging in critiques on issues of urban life, racial politics, gender and sexuality. Van Veuren has created a series of collaborations with performer/choreographer Nelisiwe Xaba, most recently the internationally showcased Uncles & Angels. Van Veuren’s educational and research work focuses on the introduction of experimental methods in media production, the integration of arts and sciences, and pedagogic approaches to dealing with HIV and AIDS related issues in the learning environment.

Faustin Linyekula

Dancer and choreographer, Faustin Linyekula lives and works in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo. Linyekula is co-founder of the Gàara company, the first contemporary dance company in Kenya established in collaboration with Opiyo Okach and Afrah Tenambergen in 1997. Studios Kabako was created in 2001 in Kinshasa, DRC, as a space dedicated to dance and visual theatre and moved to Kisangani. Currently, the studio is undergoing expansion in collaboration with architect Bärbel Müller and is due to open in 2015. Throughout his works, Linyekula addresses the legacy of decades of war and the economy in the region, and the impact of that history on his personal narrative and that of his peers. Faustin Linyekula teaches dance in Africa, Europe and America and is associate artist with the KVS, The Flemish National Theatre in Brussels. In December 2007, he received the Principal Award of the Prince.

Across the board

Across the board will conclude in Lagos,Nigeria in spring 2014. Looking at performance, conceptual art, photography, drawing and video, contemporary African artists have established a radical interdisciplinary practice connecting them beyond geographical boundaries. In Lagos, in partnership with platforms such as the CCA, Lagos, Terra Kulture and Chimurenga and others, the project will explore the legacy of one of the major events ever to have taken place in the city, the FESTAC ’77, the Second World Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture.

Across the board has been presented at Tate Modern in 2012 (see above) and inAccra inGhana in February 2013. In Accra, the event was produced as a collaboration with Art in Social Structures AiSS, Nebuke Foundation and the Seth Dei Foundation for the Study of Contemporary Art and involved, among others, speakers Aida Muluneh from Addis Photo Fest and Desta for Africa, Ethiopia; Gabi Ngcobo, Centre for Historical Re-enactments, South Africa; and Marion Louisgrand of Ker Thiossane, Dakar. Guests included Kader Attia, Godfried Donkor and Kwaku ‘Castro’ Kissiedu as well as many local academics and cultural producers.