Kapwani Kiwanga

Having followed a singular path from anthropology to the visual arts, Kapwani Kiwanga is now taking us into unexplored territory with a mix of fiction and documentary, science and magic, and politics and poetics.

Exhibition Ujamaa
Artists Kapwani Kiwanga
Venue Centre d’art contemporain de la Ferme du Buisson
Photography Emile Ouroumov

Kapwani Kiwanga draws on her training in the social sciences for experimental projects in which she plays the part of a researcher. Her method consists in creating systems and protocols which function as filters through which she observes different cultures and their capacity for change. Her projects give rise to installations, videos, sound pieces and performances. In general terms her practice focuses on such concepts as Afro-futurism, anticolonial struggles and their legacy, and popular and vernacular cultures.

For her exhibition at La Ferme du Buisson, she is occupying all the art centre’s exhibition spaces with previous works and three big, site-specific installations. Via this blending of materials and ideas relating to economics, agriculture, magic, anthropology and museology, she extends earlier research, undertaken at the Jeu de Paume and the South London Gallery, into belief systems and pre- and post-independency trajectories in Tanzania. Her project combines two lines of research: the first focusing on the magical powers attributed to plants in situations of political and social resistance; and the second into the concept of Ujamaa, the origin of pan-African socialism. In organic installations, videos, sound pieces and performances, Kapwani Kiwanga takes us on a journey through belief systems involving supernatural powers and political utopianism. This leads her, in turn, to scrutinise our ability to continue believing in various forms of resistance despite the failures of the past.

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