Tuesday 13.12.22 – Debates around the place and conditions of women, French Institute (with a live transmission on Radio 40 in Switzerland and Radio Okapi in Kinshasa)
Wednesday 14.12.22 – Magali Dougoud exhibition opening, French Institute
Friday & Saturday 16-17.12.22 – Presentation of the “Interface” project with Burni Aman, Orakle Ngoy and Aïcha Mena Kanieba, French Institute
Interface is a multidisciplinary project of research and artistic creation (music, visual art, performance, dance and radio) between artists from Switzerland and the DR Congo led by Afrika Diva Collective. The framework of the meetings and exchange will take place in the context of the festival YAMBI CITY 5 in December 2022 in Kinshasa.
The concept of the project aims to bring together and make heard the voices of women artists through their artistic practice from a place of mutual recognition of each other’s differences. The title makes reference to the border of communication between two entities and aims to weave a link between Switzerland and Congo. The collaboration is framed by a series of questions interrogating the complexities of boundaries: “How to meet while having both common experiences and completely opposite ones? How to find oneself in a context where the geographical places where everyone grew up and lived are marked by layers of post-colonial violence between privileged and minority? How to share and create a collaborative work that can both succeed and transcend these realities? This dialogue that the artists propose to carry out, also arises from a desire to decompartmentalise the artistic fields between artistic practices.”
The project emerges from the meeting of Swiss visual artist Magali Dougoud and Kinshasa-based rapper and performer Orakle Ngoy during Magali’s residency. Orakle and another Kinshasa-based musician and performer Aïcha Mena Kanieba collaborated with Magali in her video work «Mati Wata Water» made in Kinshasa in 2022. From this first collaboration – which will be shown during Interface in a two-screen installation – the idea developed to open the process as a starting point for exchange between other Swiss, European and Congolese women artists.
The artists participating in the Interface project include Orakle Ngoy (DRC), Burni Aman [SA), Magali Dougoud (CH), Nina Berclaz (CH/FR), Aïcha Mena Kanieba (DRC), Falonne Mambu (DRC), Sarah Solo (RDC), Berni Bobina (DRC/DE), Naomi Bitu (DRC) and Oxytocine (FR).
During the project, the artists will imagine together video, text and sound projects, as well as a series of events in the heart of Kinshasa. Their activities will create synergies around new exchange, reflections, stories and practices. The collaboration will also give rise to a stage performance during the YAMBI CITY 5 festival, a discussion radio programme focusing on decolonial feminist reflections with sound pieces mixing theoretical and poetic writings, voices and music. This programme will be broadcast live on Radio Okapi on Utex Africa and in parallel on Swiss radios (Unperfect Radio, Radio 40, TRNSTN Radio). A series of workshops are also planned as a place of exchange and creation with children and young adult from the neighbourhood and will be documented for a collective audio-visual documentary proposal.
Joining the Interface project is South African born, Switzerland-based rapper Burni Aman who, in addition to participating in the collective activities of the project, will create a visual work with text and printed textile as well as sound recordings. Burni will share her experience as a South African diaspora artist living in Switzerland and as a hip-hop singer making her place in a male-dominated environment. She will also lead one of the workshops which will focus on hip-hop writing with young female rappers, inviting them to develop the power of their words.
Orakle Ngoy is a musician and urban artists from Kinshasa. Her artistic approach focuses on the promoting respect for mothers, Congolese women and all women in society. Her music is a mixture of gaiety, ghetto and Kinshasa realities, mixing Congolese musical styles, folk and performance art. Her style is the muyenga, which reflects the gestures and declamation of her tribe the lubas. Orakle created the Afrika Diva Collective in 2015 to work on capacity building and to promote the emergence of Congolese female talents. The group produce YAMBI CITY festival, which promotes and strengthens a pan-African network of female artists. In 2008, she joined Rage famillia, a collective of rappers from Kinshasa and Les enfoirés de
Kinshasa. She performed at the Connexion Kin festival in 2011, and in 2013 as part of the urban music festival, aiRd‘iCi organised by the KVS (Royal Flemish Theatre). In 2014, she was in residence at the French Institute of Kenitra and Meknes in Morocco. In 2015, her first and only album todate, «Ma version dressée kongo wetuu» was released. In 2015 she participated in the KIN‘ACT festival and in Vincent Meessen‘s «One.Two.Three» project for the Venice Biennale. In 2017, she collaborated with the Swiss artist Julie Beauvais and the French artist Horace Lund for a filmed
portrait as part of the Orlando project. Since 2018, she is vice-president of the Arterial Network committee in Kinshasa.
Magali Dougoud‘s artistic career has been marked by exhibitions in various art spaces, museums and festivals in Switzerland and Europe, in Chile, Colombia, the United States and China. In 2021, she participated in the last Biennale of Kiev (UKR). She has several residencies to her credit: in 2019, in Tierra del Fuego in Chile (Puerto Yartou), in 2020, at Air Berlin Alexanderplatz in Germany, in 2021, at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris – laureate of the residency of the Canton of Vaud and of the Cité des Arts program -, in 2022 at the Kin ArtStudio in Kinshasa, in 2022 in Berlin – laureate of the residency of the Canton of Valais. In 2020, she receives the Bourse des Arts Plastiques du Canton de Vaud and the Work Grant from Pro Helvetia in 2020 and 2022. In her work, mainly video but also sound, text and installation, she seeks to dismantle dominant historical and scientific narratives in order to find other possible subjectivities, developing an emancipatory feminine imaginary through notions such as liquidity – as a means of heterogeneous connection – violence, eroticism, plural and interspecies intelligence. Her work is inspired by hydro-feminism, the idea that we are all «Bodies of Water». It is through this liquid embodiment that we explore otherness as zones of emancipation, creativity, transformation, assemblage, multiplication, difference and abandonment. Water, as an omnipresent motif in her work, allows ambiguous and hybrid figures, often in revolt, to create new narratives.
Burni Aman, a Cape Town-born, Switzerland-based rapper, blends boom bap and spoken word. A former member of celebrated South African female hip-hop group Godessa, Aman more recently co-founded the SA-Switzerland hip-hop collective Rogue State Alliance and is a part of Swiss hip-hop crew Greater Goodz. Last year, she turned Nelson Mandela‘s 1994 inauguration speech into music alongside French group Gran Kino for the Under Madiba Skies. Her debut album, the 20-track Sweet Science, presents a blend of hip-hop, soul and spoken word, and brings together collaborators from Switzerland, South African and the US.
Aïcha Mena Kanieba is a musician and performer from the DR of Congo and part of Fulu Miziki, defined as a sound created by musical instruments made of elements found in the garbage of Kinshasa. Fulu Miziki is rooted in the Afrofuturism movement in the service of an imaginary reappropriation of the black experience and identity. She creates from scratch and has a musical ear that allows the members of the group to invent a unique sound and deliver unforgettable memories to the audiences of their concerts. The costumes of each of the band members oscillate between tribal and spacesuit. A bin becomes the helmet of a Kinshasa knight, traversing between past and future. In 2018, she made a dress structure out of umbrella wire. Called Mwasi Mwinda, luminous woman, it is also made of waste: printed circuits, electric wires, light bulbs,… All these elements are made from recycled materials found in the streets of Kinshasa. To these, she adds rhinestones, symbolising a “sappy“ femininity and the preciousness of women. Mwasi Mwinda was presented at the Institut Français de Kinshasa – Halle de la Gombe during the exhibition Kinshasa 2050 – Women First! curated by Bill Kouélany.
Afrika Diva Collective is a group of Congolese women artists based in Kinshasa and working to promote the emergence and empowerment of female talents in the DRC. The collective carries out professional capacity building projects as well as sets up citizen projects in a spirit of meeting, debate and interculturality. The collective produces the annual YAMBI CITY Festival, a platform of cultural exchange focussing on the promotion of cultural diversity and the empowerment Congolese and African women artists. The festival aims to bring together different actors of the artistic community and create a pan-African network of women artists. The platform advocates against gender-based violence and the social exclusion of women. It aims to create a space for intercultural expression, intergenerational dialogue and the promotion of gender equality.
[Cover image: Magali Dougoud, “Aquatic Narratives”, 2022, video still. Filmed by Myra Dunoyer and Magali Dougoud, with Chris Silaton and Kevin Shakira (dance), Adriana et Fouluxe (maquillage), Orakle Ngoy (text and song), Paty Masiapa (costume)]