The value of art and culture cannot be summarised in one sole aspect. Art and culture are a fundamental part of any society, serving as a means of unifying and strengthening communities, both educationally, socially and economically. A community full of art is a community full of culture, one that promotes social cohesion and defeats the gap between cultures. It is with this idea in mind that, in 2019, Fonds Yavarhoussen was born.
In line with our goal of supporting and exposing the richness and diversity of the Malagasy cultural and creative character, this year Fonds Yavarhoussen sponsored the Palais de Tokyo’s last exhibition: “Ubuntu un rêve lucide”.
The exhibition, led by curator Marie-Ann Yemsi, brings together the creations of twenty artists whose work brings to life the Ubuntu philosophy, addressing this belief as a resource, a space for discovery and mediation of the real world. Amongst them is Malagasy artist Joël Andrianomearisoa, whose artwork is also featured on Palais de Tokyo’s façade.
After inaugurating Hakanto Contemporary, a multi-purpose art space in Antananarivo last year, which is dedicated to the discovery, training and exhibition of contemporary Malagasy artists, we then chose to support an international exhibition born out of the desire to deliver a message of hope in today’s uncertain and tense world. A world in which the creative arts can serve as a means to communicate beliefs and ideas, joining people in a common language and providing a safe, free space to express feelings and emotions.
This is encompassed in the concept of ‘Ubuntu’, which names the exhibition, and represents a space not yet visited by human understanding or imagination. A term that cannot be translated in Western languages, ‘Ubuntu’ can be articulated in “I am because we are”.
It embraces a vision that recognises an individual’s place in his community, whilst acknowledging the inexorable links between people, proving the interdependence between others and the power of strong relationships.
Presented around the central installation of Kudzanai Chiurai and Khanya Mashabela, “Library of Things We Forgot to Remember”, the display is arranged as a polyphonic space without borders, symbolising the absence of both physical and conceptual limits, and making the world a unique place where contemporary artists are free to express their artistic stimulus.
In this view, Joël Andrianomearisoa represents the concepts of joy and desire in his “Dancing with Angels”, seen as a space to communicate freely and materially interact with others. At a time when we have been forced to socially distance and limit contact with others, the images portrayed recall the force of physical bonds and the impact of bodily presence.
Keen to promote African art, both with local collectors and internationally, we are extremely proud Joël’s work is being exhibited at an internationally renowned space in Paris. Although in recent years museums in Europe and North America have hosted several exhibitions of African art, such as 1-54 in New York, London and Marrakech and the most recent Art X Lagos in Nigeria, African artists are still lacking visibility worldwide.
Unbeknownst to most, the African art market has immense potential, although it is missing a distinguished art-market capital and a strong market structure to sustain artists’ growth. For this reason, Fonds Yavarhoussen endorses African artists and contemporary creators. Committed to promoting the arts as a way to inspire and encourage young talent to embrace their individual creativity, we will continue to support emerging and established talent in various ways.