Conversations | Pan-Africanism and Contemporary Aesthetics

February 7, 2023

Pan-Africanism is a movement that emerged in the early 20th century in the wake of decolonial thought, advocating for political, economic, and cultural solidarity among African peoples and people of African descent. This conversation examines the legacy of Pan-Africanism within today’s countercultures, from electronic music to gaming, fashion, film, and the visual arts. Is there such a thing as contemporary Pan-African aesthetics? What might be their transformative potentials and limits.

Christelle Oyiri, Interdisciplinary Artist, Paris
Sumayya Vally, Architect, Principal of Counterspace, and Artistic Director of the first Islamic Arts Biennale, Johannesburg
Grace Wales Bonner, Founder and Artistic Director, Wales Bonner London
Moderator: Cédric Fauq, Chief Curator at CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux

Christelle Oyiri was born in 1992 in the Paris region, where she currently lives and works. Interdisciplinary artist: producer, DJ (under the pseudo Crystallmess). Her work addresses the themes of alternative temporalities and alienation. Her radically interdisciplinary practice combines film, performance and music in memory of forgotten mythologies, whether distant or ultra-contemporary. His work has been shown in several institutions and exhibitions around the world, such as Center Pompidou, Lafayette Anticipations, Haus der Kunst, Auto Italia, Gladstone Gallery, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Musée Espace Arlaud, Tramway Glasgow, Ars Electronica, HeK Basel and more.

Sumayya Vally’s design, research and pedagogical practice is searching for expression for hybrid identities and contested territory, particularly for African and Islamic conditions – both rooted and diasporic. Her process is often forensic and draws on the oral, aural, sound, ritual, supernatural, and the overlooked as generative places of history and work.

Wales Bonner proposes a distinct notion of cultural luxury that infuses European heritage with an Afro Atlantic spirit. Launched by Grace Wales Bonner following her graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2014, the label is informed by broad cultural research and embraces a multiplicity of perspectives. Established as a menswear brand, Wales Bonner’s soulful tailoring soon expanded to womenswear. Grace Wales Bonner has received numerous awards including Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards (2015), the LVMH Young Designer Prize (2016), Winner of the British Fashion Council/ Vogue Designer Fashion Fund (2019) and CFDA International Men’s Designer of the Year (2021).

Cédric Fauq is currently chief curator at Capc musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux. From 2020 to 2021, he worked as curator at Palais de Tokyo, where he developed the exhibitions Antibodies and Sarah Maldoror: Tricontinental Cinema. Previously, he worked as exhibitions curator at Nottingham Contemporary where he set up shows (Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance; Sung Tieu: In Cold Print; Grace Before Jones: Camera, Disco, Studio), performances (Okwui Okpokwasili; Steffani Jemison; Lou Lou Lou Sainsbury) and publications. He also writes, and develops freelance projects.

The Conversations program for Paris + par Art Basel 2022 is curated by Pierre-Alexandre Mateos and Charles Teyssou.