Festival D'Art Urbain

Artist: Several Artists
Location: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Year of completion: 2016
Vaughn Sadie

CREATE: Festival D'Art Urbain, is a small festival that happens in smaller site across the city of Antananarivo, Madagascar. In its third year the festival has shifted significantly to integrate more work in public. The city itself is battling with lack of service delivery, over population impacting adversely on the on the environment. The current state is unable to address these sufficiently, further exacerbating prevalent social issue of unemployment and poverty.

The festival partnered with several artists, invited from existing network of practioners from across the African continent and locally based social engaged organisation to look at some of the issues. The festival broader intention is to grow a contemporary art scene that is responsive to its environment and its historical influences. This is done through running workshops along side the festival to inform and skill residents in various practice related to contemporary art. This years festival held performance art, music and video mapping workshop.

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The programme had range of projects that position themselves interestingly in spaces that were unexpected. This created the opportunity for residents to rethink their relationship to the transient spaces that exist with in the city, which become public through how they are constituted. The festival utilised several site across the city: a view site that looked across the city, a tunnel used by vehicles and pedestrians that connects different parts of the city and a washhouse where people pay to have there laundry done. In working in each of the specific space the festival was able to create a context were residents are able to reflect across multiple site on different elements that are impacting on their immediate environment and themselves. The project in the washhouse, worked with the women who did the washing to produce painted baskets. An incredible outcome of this process was a series of stories were captured of each of the women complex relationship to water as both life giving force and as a commodity.

The project is nominated for several reason: 1) the care it took in the choice of where the works were sited and the subtly of its social messaging, relying on the performativity of the work to highlight the social and spatial relations that are inform our understanding of space. These were used to trigger the necessary conversation that need to be had amongst residents about their relationship to their immediate environment. 2) The continued attempt to grow the capacity in city to hold a developing contemporary art scene, give resident the space to imagine new possibilities for the role of art.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency