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News / Events / Retro 2021: AKAA, the long-awaited return

Retro 2021: AKAA, the long-awaited return

At the Carreau du Temple, AKAA Also Known As Africa signed a renewal edition last November by exposing the best and the future of the contemporary scene of the African continent and its diaspora, on current themes.

As a sign of the growing presence of African creation internationally, Akaa 2021 came back to when the brands Marianne Ibrahim and Cécile Fakhoury, dedicated to this market, were setting up in Paris. After a year’s absence, the show brought together 34 galleries, including eight new ones, and exhibited 133 artists. Within its Meetings space, carte blanche had been entrusted to Aristotle Mago, embroidering mysterious characters on linen bags. Her pieces, with both personal and economic intentions, dialogued with those, dreamlike, of the young Tiffanie Delune. The center of the fair was also invested with a monumental textile piece, charged with meaning, by Morné Visagie.

AKAA 2021, Meeting Space, Aristide Mago, © VCL
AKAA 2021, Booth Ellipse Art Project, Ibrahima Ndomi (Senegal) © VCL

On the side of the great French galleries, Magnin-A had shimmering paintings by Chéri Samba, while Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, among others, offered designer ceramics by King Houndekpinkou, or fetish-sculptures with nails in the 2021 version, by Franck Zannou, known as ZanFanhouede. As for Anne de Villepoix, she revealed some of the very verdant and poetic paintings by Leslie Amine or Souleimane Barry.

AKAA 2021, Didier Claes Gallery Stand, Baoulé Cup Bearer, coll. private (France) © VCL
AKAA 2021, Booth Bonhams © VCL

Through photography, this scene always turned out to be as sharp and ambitious. Our favorite goes to Gosette Lubondo, Prix Maison Ruinart 2021, whose works were also visible at the Paris-Photo fair. At Angalia, his 2016 prints evoked memory and its ghosts, through games of reflections and colors. Numerous portraits such as those of Saïdou Dicko or Justin Dingwall at ArtCo, of Bruno Cattani at Vision Quest4 Rosso or those of Angèle Etoundi Essamba at Carole Kvanesvki, illustrate the frequent and sublime use of this medium. The Ellipseartprojects endowment fund was also present through the proofs of Ibrahima Ndomi, 2021 winner of the eponymous prize and member of the Senegalese collective atelier Ndokette.

AKAA 2021, Carole Kvaneski Gallery, Angèle Etoundi Essamba (Cameroon) © VCL

Beyond their often flamboyant plastic beauty, the exhibited works spoke of identity, interbreeding, discrimination, as well as the violence of history, politics, religions and the environment. In 2021, Akaa remains the best barometer of current, confirmed and prospective African art.

Virginie Chuimer-Layen