Discussions

Within the framework of the Project Alumni-Denkfabrik, various artists from the Cameroonian diaspora shared their perspectives on globalization, notably how our understanding of art creates awareness of issues related to mobility, development and displacement.

Jean Pierre Bekolo

While upholding the importance of cultural production, Jean Pierre Bekolo, a cineaste of international repute, recalled the fact that the so called colonial project, was in his opinion in essence first and foremost a cultural project which attempted a transformation of indigenous people to think like the “colonial master”. Thus, a “cultural renaissance” is according to his opinion at the heart of every decolonization process because development and culture are inseparable.
Bekolo further shed light on the dilemmas faced by artists in the diaspora, notably how not to alienate one’s self from one’s country of origin, as well as how not to alienate one’s art from the country of sojourn. The artist’s itinerary is further complicated when, upon return to the home country, one has to face numerous challenges.

Read the interview of Jean Pierre Bekolo >>

Pascale Marthine Tayou

Pascale Marthine Tayou explored the concept of “identity”, stating that it is not something fixed but rather a constantly evolving process involving experiences and other dynamic factors. He further stated that it is a work of art that should speak for every author, given that art is the author’s statement to the world.

Read the interview of Marthine Tayou >>

Joseph Francois Sumegne

A constant questioning of the “self” is at the heart of the art of Joseph Francois Sumegne, the creator of the well-known sculpture “Nouvelle Liberté” (Douala-Deido, 1996).  Sumegne explained his artistic concept of “Jala”, which is based on the ideas of passion, work and ritual within the sense of a traditional and contemporary concept of art production as reflexion of the “self” within his relation to society.

 

 

Kouam Tawadje

Tawadje showed how displacement influences art using his own artistic output. After long term studies in China (Tawadje is fluently speaking Chinese), his art emerged as a symbiosis between Bamiléké symbols and Chinese traditional and contemporary art.

Tchebetchou

Tchebetchou highlighted the paradox of the African artist living in the diaspora, which is in his opinion, the fascination with the diaspora from home, while the artist in the diaspora seems to be constantly “homesick”. He also stated that mobility and opportunities to travel are important for creativity, but they are not risk free, which is why an artist needs to be in touch continuously with his “hometown” which means a constant awareness of the artist about the question where he is coming from.

Yves Eyaa

Eyaa, the director of the Center of Fashion and Design Creators in Cameroon (CCMC) pointed out the lack of professionalism of Cameroonian cultural enterprises and insufficient communication between private enterprises and the public Cameroonian administration which often appears as a barrier for young engaged entrepreneurs. He argued that a reinforced collaboration as well with foreign investors and partners could give impulsions for positive changes. One of his attempts to promote international and intercultural exchange and to enforce the development of creative industries consists in the creation of the “Forum des métiers de la mode et du design au Cameroun” as platform of networking, professional exchange, and further qualification for young talents, infrastructure development and intercultural dialogue.

Joël Mpah Dooh

Mpah Dooh enunciated the challenges of being an artist based in Africa attempting to impose art on the international scene. In addition, he critized the underdeveloped Cameroonian art market due to the absence of professional curators, galleries and other proper structures.

Nkountchou Fezeu André

The creation and maintenance of artistic and cultural centres has always preoccupied the cultural manager Nkountchou, who during the seminar urged artists and cultural promoters to create better professional conditions for the consumption of works of art.

Noumssi Nadège

With regard to her experiences as a lecturer at the University of Buea, Noumssi discussed the place of Art Studies in Cameroonian universities, highlighting challenges such as lack of qualified personnel and inadequate infrastructure.

Tchandeu Elie Armand

The Art historian Tchandeu Elie Armand highlighted the importance of art criticism, stressing that criticism is one of the best ways to assess the artistic production of a country.