Art at the Festival Center

More than cinema at the 29th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival (23-31 March 2019)! As usual, this year’s programme includes various events and initiatives inspired by the 3 continents, outside the movie theaters

For more than 10 years the Festival has been paying attention to the artists coming from Africa, Asia and Latin America, not only in the film industry, but also promoting the other arts, such as photography, with exhibitions at the Festival Center.

Maggic Cube by Adji Dieye

Maggic Cube © Adji Dieye

The daughter of an Italian mother and a Senegalese father, Adji grew up assimilating both cultures from early childhood; this allows her to have a view of them which at one and the same time is involved but also characterized by the objectivity of the external observer. 

The images of this project, with elaborate backdrops, studied poses, the subjects photographed in elegant clothes, represent a tribute to  the photographic tradition of artists such as Seydou Keïta, Mama Casset, Malick Sidibé and Sory Sanlé. We soon discover that what seem studio portraits of elegant black women have a completely different meaning. The association of the two bright colours, red and yellow, repeated obsessively in alternating combinations which hardly allow other colours to be glimpsed, transmits after a few seconds a sensation of oppression and alienation. The subjects, in their fixed and standardized poses of the portrait, appear rigid, without a real autonomy of movement or choice. 

What Adji really shows us with her images is the portrait of a socio-economic phenomenon: the spread of Western food products exported to the African market. Thanks to commercial campaigns and extremely convincing and persuasive communication, numerous industrial products have found their main commercial outlet in this region. Adji fixes her analysis on one of these: the stock cube. With the creation of the fictional brand “Maggic Cube”, she simulates a real commercial campaign, taking as her own the techniques of communication and sale used every day in the markets, the streets and on the billboards of Dakar or any other town or village in the region.

She leads us to become aware of a phenomenon which has altered the local food traditions to the point of transforming a Western industrial product into one of the fundamental ingredients of Senegalese cooking and in the whole of Western Africa.

At the centre of her portraits are women, as they are the main addressees of the advertising communication of these products: the guardians of culinary tradition, and above all, those who choose which ingredients to buy and to use in the preparation of meals. 

As Adji shows us in a powerful and immediate form in one of the photos on display, which portrays a white woman dressed in such a way as to be confused behind the features of an African woman, this project is the visual representation of a pervasive phenomenon of colonization of the African food market by Western industrial production, which is passed off as essential ingredients of the local culinary tradition. 

The exhibition is curated by Maria Pia Bernardoni of African Artists Foundation and curator of Lagos Photo Festival.

Maggic Cube is opening at the inauguration of the Festival Center (West Tollhouse of Porta Venezia) on Saturday 23rd March, at 17.30, with the artist Adji Dieye and the curator Maria Pia Bernardoni.

Free entry

#IAmAnas, story of an
investigative journalist

Anas Aremeyaw Anas is an award-winning investigative journalist born at the end of the 1970s in the north of Ghana. He graduated first in journalism and then in law and started at The New Crusading Guide of which he became Editor-in-Chief. He is a contributor to the BBCand Al Jazeera and has founded the production company Tiger Eye PI.

His motto is “name, shame and jail”, he is specialized in investigations on corruption and the violation of human rights which he leads in the field himself, with his assistants.
More than one hundred people have been arrested or suspended from their posts thanks to his investigations.

The video installation is a tribute to the brilliant world of Anas through video investigations, photos, interviews and animation.
His life could seem the plot of a film, but it is pure reality.

Anas is not a mere journalist, He is much more than that. Anas is a sheikh, a priest, a peddler, an old lady, a businessman, a cabin boy on a fishing boat, a policeman and a rock in the forest.
These are only some of his disguises through which he carries out his investigations. Nobody knows what he looks like and his identity. Anas is a chameleon and a pop icon. The mask of beads he wears when he makes public appearances has become a symbol of the fight against corruption.

A source of inspiration for the new generations of young Africans, Anas was also publicly thanked by Barack Obama for his fight and his commitment, on his last visit to Ghana as President.

Curated by Simone Sapia and Leonardo Paone.

Free entry

A Friend, an environmental installation

ph. by Ibrahim Mahama / Silence between the lines, Ahenema Kokoben, Kumasi, 2015

This year, even the most distracted passers-by will notice the Festival Center. Our now long-standing venue of the West Toll House of Porta Venezia is part of the work in progress of the environmental installation, A Friend by the Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, who during the festival will create a work that involves both Toll Houses.

Mahama’s installation aims to trigger  off a reflection on the very concept of the threshold, that place of passage which defines the inside and the outside, the self and the other, the friend and the enemy. Commissioned by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and produced in collaboration with miart, the installation A Friend will be completed and inaugurated on 2nd April, on the occasion of the Milanese Art Week.

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