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Culture and Safety in Africa

June 23, 2014
by Admin2
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Njé Mo Jé


Name of Artwork
Njé Mo Jé, 2007

Location and Accessibility
New Bell, Nkololoun, Dernier poteau

Level of Significance
Monumental installation

About the Artwork
Nje Mo Yé is a monument by Koko Komégné, a Cameroonian artist widely regarded as the “father of Douala’s artists”. It is a 5 meters tall sculpture with a wingspan of 2.5 meters, made of red painted steel tubes with a diameter of 12 cm. The work graphically depicts a man and a woman holding hands and standing on three legs. With this artwork, Komégné aims to convey a message about the values of the family and the importance of the stability in the union of the couple. The name of the artwork, Njé Mo Yé, contrasts with the figurative representation: in Duala language, it means “What’s that?”, as a criticism of the patchwork families, typical of the contemporary generation, and the consequent loss of the family ties that characterized the original Cameroonian tradition. The work was inaugurated during SUD 2007 in the district where the artist has lived and observed the contemporary society for over 20 years. It belongs to the Municipality of Douala, which in 2013, after a car accident that damaged the artwork, financed its restoration.

About the location
The artwork is located on a traffic island in the middle of the crossroad “Dernier Poteau” which literally means “last light pole” to indicate the point where, until the eighties, the darkness began. This crossroad belongs to the Nkololoun neighborhood, which in Duala language means “hill of anger”. Nowadays, Dernier Poteau is not anymore an isolated area, but a widely recognized landmark signing the end of the New Bell district and the beginning of the industrial zone of Douala.

June 23, 2014
by Admin2
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Colonne Pascale


Name of Artwork
Colonne Pascale, 2010

Location and Accessibility
Shell New Bell

Level of Significance
Monumental installation

About the Artwork
The Colonne Pascale is a totem made of superimposed enameled traditional pots rising toward the sky, in the heart of the very busy roundabout of Shell New Bell. The work by Pascale Marthine Tayou, a Cameroonian artist based in France, was produced for SUD 2010. The intention of the artist was to pay homage to African women giving value to the culinary culture of the Cameroonian tradition. Nevertheless, the artwork was the subject of debates and tensions from local residents. People’s controversies depend both on the physical position of the Colonne Pascale, appealing to historical events (the square was the epicenter of the riots that led to the independence of the country), and for its symbolic interpretation, since according to many people the artwork recalls and highlights the poverty of New Bell.

About the location
Shell New Bell is a crowded roundabout of New Bell and an important landmark for citizens’ mobility. Very close to the city center, it allows people to easily reach also the periphery of the city in a reasonable time, thanks to the abundance of taxis and motorbike-taxis available there. This area also functions as a small market for quick shopping at the informal counter sellers of fruits, vegetables, fritters, peanuts, fish, and meat. On one side of the Colonne Pascale, the Municipality of Douala arranged a small park with some benches and a tiled monument with an eagle on its upper end. This green area has become a conviviality and free space for young people who meet there during the evening to chat and to rest under some lampposts. However, during the night, Shell New Bell is almost empty and the risk of aggression increases drastically.

June 23, 2014
by Admin2
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New Walk Ways in New Bell


Name of Artwork
New Walk Ways in New Bell, 2010

Location and Accessibility
New Bell

Level of Significance
Proximity artwork

About the Artwork
New Walk Ways in New Bell by Kamiel Verschuren is a 500 meters long installation made of wooden planks covering the open gutters of the district: the planks bear perforated text fragments. The text fragments recall the theme of SUD 2010, and report sentences and adjectives related to water properties, to its driving force, and to its ability to take different shapes, colors, and statuses. At the same time the planks by Verschuren have the functional purpose of protecting gutters from garbage (especially during rain seasons when the risk of floods is particularly high), allowing the filtration of water. They are positioned on shared, public spaces that do not supply a merely individual benefit to anybody, but rather act in favor of the community. However, the degradability of the wood makes this installation more a temporary work then a permanent one, and after three years, the New Walk Ways in New Bell have only partially been preserved. Nevertheless, in some cases this work stimulated the local population to restore and replace the broken or damaged planks with new ones, pushing dwellers to contribute to a collective good and to pursue the functional idea of the work.

About the location
The entire district of New Bell is characterized by serious problems of unhealthiness, due to the absence of sewers and an irregular waste collection system. To overcome the risk of seasonal floods, the community of Douala has built concrete drains on the edge of the paved roads. These channels should channel the rainwater towards peripheral, uninhabited lands. However, the maintenance and cleaning of the channels are not guaranteed. Drains usually serve as landfills and sewers, obstructing the flow of water and attracting rodents and insects carrying diseases. Only since 2011 the public waste collection service has started placing some trash bins on the paved roads of the district, collecting the garbage once a day. However, the waste problem is not yet solved and seasonal floods continue to harm New Bell.

June 23, 2014
by admin
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Le puit


Name of Artwork
Le puit, 2010

Location and Accessibility
New Bell Ngangue, facing Yamguen House

Level of Significance
Passageway installation

About the Artwork
The Puit is a work by Loris Cecchini produced for SUD 2010. The artist designed to coat and to shape the external perimeter of a well with reproductions made of concrete of the tanks, generally used to collect the water in the neighborhood. The concrete tanks have been irregularly displayed on two levels, echoing the weight of the difficult access to water, frequently transported by women and children on their neck.
About the location
The well is located outside the courtyard of the house of artist Hervé Yamguen. On one side it is surrounded by a small botanical garden belonging to the artist, where one can find plants of traditional medicine. On the other side, the well is accessible by a dirty patch crossing the neighborhood. The area surrounding Yamguen’s house has become an important cultural landmark for locals, and for an international audience who accesses the neighborhood mainly to visit the artist’s atelier. Since 2002, Hervé Yamguen and the Kapsiki Circle, a collective of artists from Douala, have organized in and around this courtyard a variety of events, including: a fashion show, night movie projections, and several art exhibitions at the K-Factory, the first exhibition space of New Bell, set-up by the Kapsiki circle, in the building just in front of Yamguen’s house.

June 23, 2014
by admin
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Oasis


Name of Artworks
Oasis, 2010

Location and Accessibility
New Bell Ngangue-Babylon: courtyard École CBC Babylon

Level of Significance
Passageway installation – wall painting

About the Artworks
Oasis is a set of two wall paintings by the South African artist Tracey Rose produced for SUD 2010 in the inner courtyard of the CBC Babylon school. On one wall, the artist drew an oasis of plants, tropical flowers, and a gorilla. These paintings, which appear childish at first glance, were voluntarily drawn without any proportional rule, and they appear distorted as to indicate the superiority and violence of the nature over man. On the other wall, the artist reproduced, in beautiful calligraphy and with different colours, scientific names of plants that are typical of the mangrove forest of this region. Many of these plants are now in danger of extinction due to pollution of the waters of the Wouri River, the primary resource of the city.

About the location
The École CBC Babylon is a private Baptist educational institution of New Bell Ngangué, including a kindergarten and a primary school. Beside its educational offer, the school has become nowadays a famous landmark of New Bell for public art and cultural activities.  The École CBC Babylon is a private Baptist educational institution of New Bell Ngangué, including a kindergarten and a primary school. Beside its educational offer, the school has become nowadays a famous landmark of New Bell for public art and cultural activities.

June 20, 2014
by admin
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Les Mots Écrits de New Bell


Name of Artworks
Les Mots Écrits de New Bell, 2010

Location and Accessibility
New Bell Ngangue Neighborhood: École CBC Babylon, Chez Kakanu Bar, Éntrée source, La Laverie, Cimitière

Level of Significance
Passageway installations, murals
 

About the Artworks
Les Mots Écrits de New Bell is a set of six mural installations by Hervé Yamguen. It is part of “Liquid projects”, a program of SUD2010 that financed the production of permanent artworks (dedicated to the theme of water) in the neighborhoods of residence of four local artists. In New Bell, Yamguen worked in collaboration with two local rappers, Picsou and Moctomoflar, engaging them in the recording (and releasing) of a four songs album about water. During the production process the artist also introduced young people and local residents to the project through night performances and discussion meetings. From the lyrics of rappers, Yamguen extracted text fragments, reproducing them on six façades of Ngangue’s neighborhood that were spontaneously offered by locals. Les Mots Écrits de New Bell were produced on different supports: neon lights, tile mosaics, mirrors, iron rods, and painting. The text fragments selected by Yamguen clearly depict the reality of hardship and hope of New Bell’s inhabitants. Here the texts:

  • Après le temps mort vient le temps vif comme un coup de foudre. Ne pleure pas maman, tous les yeux de la ville pleuvent sur moi. Tranquille papa on ne panique pas;
  • La vie saine, la joie de se sentir bien, l’envie de vivre de bonheur;
  • Se sentir bien;
  • La nuit le bonheur c’est dans les moustiquaires;
  • Wash ma life, Lave mon âme; Wash mes ways, Lave mon kwatt;
  • Dans les eaux sales du quartier, dans ma ruelle, ma jeunesse rebelle.

However, two of these installations were removed: the first one – “Wash ma life, Lave mon âme, Wash mes ways, Lave mon kwatt” – for degradation, due to its position on the wall of a car washer; the second one – “Dans les eaux sales du quartier, dans ma ruelle, ma jeunesse rebelle” – was vandalized by the owner of the wall due to hard discussions with the rapper who wrote the sentence.

About the location
New Bell is the largest popular and historic district of Douala. Designed at the end of the 19th century by the German colonizers as a zone for isolating the indigenous population, New Bell has become today a central district of the city, including 32 neighborhoods and inhabited primarily by nationals and foreigners, relatives of immigrants of the second-third generation. New Bell is often labeled with a bad reputation, due to the precarious living conditions of its inhabitants, as well as to the presence of the prison and the main central market of the city, making it an easy target for criminals. Ngangue is just one of the neighborhoods of New Bell, characterized by informal settlements, difficult access to water and public services.

June 20, 2014
by admin
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Madiba Square


Name of Artworks
Madiba square, 2013

Location and Accessibility
Three installations are located throughout the Block 1 of the Bessengue neighbourhood. They are accessible passing by the Vallée Bessengue.

Level of Significance
Proximity-passageway artwork

About the Artworks
Madiba square is a set of three installations conceptualized by Pascale Martine Tayou for SUD 2013. Each set is composed of a group of three concrete columns, each one placed on a circular base, large enough to sit down. At the upper end of each column there is a reversed basin or bucket of common use, made of plastic and of different colors. Each group of columns forms an area on its own, within which a rectangular block of concrete serves as a bench. The idea of the artist was to strengthen the recreational activities in the areas of transition of the neighborhood by providing footholds and conviviality points in the proximity of houses, where it is possible to stop, to lean against, and to rest.

About the location
The installations of Madiba Square are all located in Block 1 of Bessengue, following a path inside the neighborhood that was paved after the installation of the Borne-Fontaine by a World Bank Project. The path of Madiba Square leads from the Borne-Fontaine of the Vallée Bessengue to a well of the inner neighborhood.

June 20, 2014
by admin
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Espace de jeux

Name of Artwork
Espace de jeux, 2013

Location and Accessibility
The artwork is located in the square of Vallée Bessengue. It is accessible by crossing the Passerelle de Bessengue and it is positioned on its left side.

Level of Significance
Proximity artwork, architectural installation

About the Artwork
Espace de jeux is the prototype installation of a playground produced by Raumlabor, a group of architects from Berlin, for SUD 2013. The installation is a wooden structure, in form of a prolongation of the trunk of the only tree positioned on the border of the Mbopi River. Espace de jeux is built on many levels that reach the first branches of the tree. It offers scaffolds of different areas and heights for people to sit and rest in the shadow.

About the location
Espace de jeux is positioned at the entrance of the square Vallée Bessengue, in front of Thomas Fashion Shop. In the last ten years, the Vallée Bessengue has become a meeting place for children, who are used to go there to spend their afternoon playing football; for young people, who meet and date there in security during the night thanks to the recent installation of lampposts; and even for women, who meet there for chatting while shopping. However, the only conviviality space to sit and rest under the shadow (or lampposts) is at the other side of the place, around the Borne-Fontaine. Espace de jeux provides a new conviviality space, primarily dedicated to children.

June 20, 2014
by admin
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Tête de rêves


Name of Artwork
Tête de rêves, 2013

Location and Accessibility
The artwork is located in the square of Vallée Bessengue, 10 meters after the entrance from the Boulevard de la République. It is accessible by crossing the Passerelle de Bessengue.

Level of Significance
Passageway installation – mural

About the Artworks
Tête de rêves is the artwork produced by the Gabonese artist Boris Nzebo for SUD 2013. The artist, known for his research approach that relates the traditional and contemporary culture of African hairstyles with urban environment, worked on the external walls of the shop “Thomas fashion”, a hair salon located at the heart of the Vallée Bessengue.  Tête de rêves occupies the two most visible sides of the hair salon. The main façade shows a bright wall painting, representing the profiles of mannequins for hairdressers and geometrical shapes. This façade was produced in collaboration with Joe Kessy, an artist living and working in the neighborhood. On the front side of the salon, the artist has hanged a 3 meters long metal plate on which he has applied three giant portraits of mannequins for hairdressers, with more elaborated and contemporary hairstyle.

About the location
Thomas Fashion is the biggest of the economical activities flourished in the place of the Vallée Bessengue after the production of La Passerelle. In the same area it is possible to find three different hairstyle salons and craft shops, such as tailors and shoemakers, built with recovery and disposable materials on the dangerous bank of the Mbopi River. Thomas fashion is the only formal activity, with a concrete structure, positioned in the middle of the Vallée Bessengue square.

June 17, 2014
by admin
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CELAMAR Art Center


Name of cultural space
CELAMAR Art Center

on the institution
It was created by Marcela Costa, painter and weaver with 33 years of career, the “mother “ of large annual exhibitions – such as “ VI Mostra d’Arte Woman “ and “ Coopearte “. She is considered precursor of the women visual artists claims the importance of “ being a woman and being African”.

on the space / location
The Celamar gallery is a space with exchange studios, residency, as well as workshop facilities for artistic display and it is a reference in the Angolan capital. The structure provide also spaces for music trainin, a stage and indoor-outdoor multifunctional spaces for different activities. It’s also a workshop that can be shared by many artists especially during two annual exhibitions – Coopearte and the Woman ‘Mostra d’ Arte’. The first event takes place in March , the second from July to October. Both are open to the participation of national and foreign artists, which makes them a attractive for many artists not only Angolan.

level of significance
It’s impiortance is both liked to the space itself, a sort of island in the city where artists of different ages and levels can train their skills. Hitorically, Marcela Costa and CELAMAR have been also a symbol of the epowerment of woman condition through art. The exhibition spaces and the several events and exhibitions provide concrete chances for local artists to display and sell their pieces.