CHOCOLATE BANANA - GUANGZHOU


SPARCK map Guangzhou NBG

Project Title: 
Chocolate Banana
Artists:
Bill Kouélany & Goddy Leye
Date(s): 
January - February 2010
Location: 
Guangzhou | China

Cliquez ici pour une version en français

 

About Guangzhou

In August 2009, Guangzhou featured in international news with a gruesome story: during a police raid on illegal immigrants in what is referred to by local taxi drivers as "Chocolate City", a neighbourhood that attracts thousands of African traders seeking business opportunities in the East, Emmanuel Okoro, a young man from Nigeria, jumped out of a building to avoid arrest. The incident highlighted complexities at the heart of an increasingly striking phenomenon: Africa-Asia trade relations taking place outside established government and multinational channels, resulting in economic and social networks that crisscross the globe.

Traders hailing from Nigeria (by far the largest number), Guinée, Mali, the two Congos, Cameroon and Liberia - to name but a few nationalities - comb through large-scale China-Africa commerce malls, scouting out deals on remaindered goods. Top brand blue jeans, shoes, purses and lingerie, television sets, laptops and cell phones are purchased at rock-bottom prices and resold for significant profit on markets and in stores from Cairo to Cape Town and Kinshasa.

Over the past ten years, tens (some say hundreds) of thousands of Africans have moved to Guangzhou. Some live there year-round, others come through on a regular basis. Many lack residency papers.  Most face rising tides of racism.  Yet many, too, speak of rich new lives and relationships. Innovative cultural practices, languages and fashions are emerging and, with them, new takes on the global village.


About Bill Kouélany

Bill Kouélany's work melds multiple media: painting, collage, installation, spoken and written word, video and performance. Early influences were visual artists prominent on the cultural scene in Brazzaville, her hometown, and the late Congolese poet and political activist Tchikaya U’tamsi. Kouélany's work explores themes of acute loneliness, highlighting the impact of economic and gender violence on lives lived in the urban South. Metaphors of tearing and stitching, breakage and consolidation suffuse her monumental paintings, collages and installations. Raucous humour and jabs of irony layer onto the work a powerful element of social and political critique.

Kouélany was the first Sub-Saharan woman artist invited to take part in Documenta, one of the contemporary art world’s most prestigious biennales.  Residencies and exhibitions today keep her on the road much of the year, throughout Africa, Europe and, most recently with SPARCK, Asia.

 

About Goddy Leye

Memory, post-colonialism and the making and forgetting of history are the central themes of Leye’s work. Following studies in literature and philology at the University of Yaoundé (1986-1991), from 1987 to 1992, Leye worked under the tutelage of renowned Cameroonian artist and art historian Pascal Kenfack. Thereafter, he completed his training at the National Institute of Arts, Bamako, Mali (1994), the ZKM Karlsruhe Centre for Art and Media, Germany (1997), the 18th Street Arts Complex, Santa Monica, California (1999), and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2000). His work has been shown across the world, in a wide variety of venues, including major exhibitions and festivals, such as "Africa Remix" (2004-2005) and the Johannesburg Art Fair.

Leye is the founder of a unique space and concept: The Art Bakery, located in Bonendale, Cameroon. Here, emerging artists are welcomed free of charge for periods ranging from one month to several years and mentored by Leye in a simultaneously open-ended and rigorous environment for learning and exchange. Key, up-and-coming artists on the central African arts scene today got their start at the Bakery (Guy Wouete, Luc Fosther Diop, Justine Ngaga). Community workshops and early arts training are key foci of the Bakery as well.

 

Chocolate Banana

Together, Bill Kouélany and Goddy Leye traveled to Guangzhou in January-February 2010. There, they undertook a residency focused on economic, social and cultural exchanges born of commercial ties between Africa and China. Much of their time was spent in the part of the city variously known as “Little Africa” and (in an unpleasant twist) “Chocolate City”. Their sojourn gave rise to a video installation entitled “Chocolate Banana”, which they perfected during a second shorter SPARCK residency at the Art Bakery in April 2010 and showed for the first time in Dakar, as part of the “Off” programme of the 2010 Dakar Biennale. Next stop: Focus 10 at Art Basel, Europe's premiere contemporary arts fair, and Brazzaville, with co-hosting of the piece by a consortium of non-profit and business actors.

Chocolate Banana explores grey-market transactions, cultures and languages in an off-the-books transnational arena - city streets and corners, dilapidated shopping malls, overcrowded apartments and squats - where African and Chinese traders, and occasionally artists, meet to do business. The set-up for the film - the way the installation is displayed - reflects Chocolate Banana’s thematic focus on the movement of bodies and goods within and between cities and continents. It is shown on small flat-screen LCD screens in the back of taxis. The model for this comes from Guangzhou, where such screens are present at the rear of most taxis, though the story they tell there (happy travelogues about the city) is quite different. Anyone who takes a Chocolate Banana taxi sees the film, in whole or in part depending on the length of the trip and/or the passenger’s interest. The video is ideally shown in five taxis travelling through whatever city Chocolate Banana is in at the time, and a sixth taxi parked at the exhibition venue, showing the film in loops at a standstill. A 4 page, A3 newspaper-style text-and-image flyer produced by the two artists is made available in large numbers (click here to download the flyer), in the taxis and a variety of other points throughout the city. In some cities, specific routes are plied by the taxis, making them easy to locate; in other cities, the taxi drivers’ cell phone numbers are publicised, so people can call for a pickup.

 

AffichetteBaleBW


Chocolate Banana’s maiden voyage took place in May 2010, at the Dakar Biennale, where the installation was shown as part of the Biennale’s “Off” programme.




Following Dakar, Chocolate Banana moved on to a second international venue, Art Basel, where it was shown as part of the Focus 10 programme, dedicated to works by contemporary African creators. On 15 July 2010 Chocolate Banana opened at the Centre Culturel Français in Brazzaville. Click this link for more information.


CB_Brazza_invitation

 

 

 


Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

Modules Positions

Corporate template supports full width configurations for use with galleries or forums, make sure you do not publish any modules in left or right column and the ˜component will fill

http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/994576China_Dakar_Goddy2.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/905905China_Dakar_Adeline9373.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/885725China_Dakar_Adeline9376.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/235311China_Dakar_Goddy5.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/900547TaxiDakar06.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/727042CF_Basel77c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/495958CF_Basel79c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/832290CF_Basel12c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/200094CF_Basel83c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/512491CF_Basel82c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/749566CF_Basel90c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/593579CF_Basel91c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/546037CF_Basel95c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/836768CF_Basel97c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/946502CF_Basel98c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/184266CF_Basel88c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/270662CF_Basel99c.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/191608P1010411.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/110207P1010384.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/502925P1010412.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/432416P1010407.jpg http://www.sparck.org/components/com_gk2_photoslide/images/thumbm/252226P1010432.jpg
/modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions /modules-positions
Between 19-25 January 2011, Chocolate Banana is back on the road. This time in at the Centre Culturel Français in Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo.

INVITATION_bILL_KOUELANY_copier