Transatlantic Connections #1 / Dakar / 2014

Benjamin Abras & Cie 1er Temps, A voz da voz na voz, Performance, Dak'Art 2014

Benjamin Abras & Cie 1er Temps, A voz da voz na voz, Performance, Dak’Art 2014

Africa / Latin America Convergence in community practices

Benjamin Abras
Association Compagnie 1er Temps
Dakart’OFF, 11ème Bienal de l’Art Africain Contemporain
Dakar, Senegal May 2014
Curated by Lucrezia Cippitelli for mòsso, Gabriela Salgado
Transatlantic Connections #1 in Ouakam brings to Dakar the work of afro-descendant artists from Latin America, to develop field researches and projects in cooperation with local Senegalese artists in Dakar. The strengthening of South-to-South connections, together with a focus on the forgotten Latin American Diaspora, explore similarities and correspondences of artistic practices developed in the Global South. In the context of Dak’Art, this took a specific community-focused nature as it was presented in public areas of Ouakam.Afro-descendant artist from Latin America are often ignored in international events dedicated to African and African Diaspora creation, where mostly French and Anglo-Saxon speaking Afro-descendants are often considered.
A building under construction in Ouakam and the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine

A building under construction in Ouakam and the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine

Transatlantic Connections aims to provide a stage to this diaspora, stressing the unique South-South conceptual connections in artistic practices developed in communities and social spaces.As part of the project, actor, dancer and choreographer Benjamin Abras (Brazil) participated to the annual international Festival Aex – Corps / Atelier Expérience Corps, hosted by Compagnie 1er Temps. As artist and mediator, Abras undertook a pedagogical project, a field research and a final production on the ancestral connections of Afro-Brazilian ritual cultures with similar practices in Western Africa.
In his work, Abras investigates the territories of ancestral African diasporic culture, connecting pedagogical projects with contemporary dance, performance and video. While participating in Aex – Corps, his field research and creative outputs was developed and produced together with 1er Temps.For twelve years the Cie 1er Temps works on contemporary dance as a means of self-expression and local development.

The company is based in Ouakam, a fishing village located at the foot of the African Renaissance sculpture in the periphery of Dakar, currently confronting gentrification and as a result, deep social transformations. Its original Lébous animist community faces the settlement of the new rich from Dakar, who build their own villas near the sea, taking over the traditional village. Marginality, unregulated development, tradition vs. “modern” capitalism, the relationship with the sea (which connects to the imaginaries of slavery and migration) constitutes the main field of action of 1er Temps, through educational projects and public events for its community. Young and unemployed inhabitants of Ouakam, trained by Andreya Ouamba and Fatou Cissé, its founders and directors.

The final output of this residence and production based on a careful field-research is « A voz da voz na voz » (The voice of the voice in the voice), a performance on the public spaces of Ouakam, conceived by Benjamin Abras and Andreya Ouamba, together with the dancers of Cie 1er temps.
Realized with support of: Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam; mòsso, Bruxelles;  Association Compagnie 1er Temps, Dakar.
Association Compagnie 1er Temps: Andreya Ouamba, Fatou Cissé and the dancers: Bamba Diangne, Alicia Gomis, Clarice Sagna, Thierno Ibrahima Diedhieou
Credits video: Marco Lena and Tiziana Manfredi (OFFICINA MAMIWATA)