I am often asked the question "But how did you get the idea to promote African art and creation? Especially the people who know me are aware that beyond the crafty souvenirs and the piece of art I would buy during my travels, I was not particularly familiar with the artistic field.
I knew the direction I wanted to give to my project: I wanted to bring out a different image of Africa away from from all the cliché usually presented.
What a vague idea and vast subject!
December 2015, like every year at this time I am in Dakar, Senegal. One afternoon, I went with one of my aunts to get her paintings at “Le village des arts” and I had a crush for this singular space.
Le village des arts is a place where artists gather. It is a space of creation, diffusion, research, animation, promotion and exchange. It is open to all Senegalese artists and their friendly countries, to ensure the promotion of the artists and that of their works. All the artistic disciplines of the visual arts are represented in 53 workshops: painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, installation etc.
Le Village des arts de Dakar, a place of peace and serenity where all has started...
We walk from one workshop to another one, which allows a stronger interaction with the works and the artists. What is surprising when we arrive at this place is this feeling of serenity and peace in total opposition to the noise of the city and traffic, bystanders and street vendors that annoy the Dakarois permanently.
The village is a cultural showcase and it is a pleasant setting and a haven of peace where artists handle their art as they please.
So it was my visit to le Village des Arts that triggered in me the desire to share with most of people the work of these talented people, to share the positive energy that emerges from this place.
I wanted to show an image that unfortunately is not often presented, a continent which is rich culturally, modern, innovative and incredibly creative!
I met three artists who trusted me immediately when I had just started my project but they strongly encouraged me. I had the chance to exhibit these three artists Baba Ly, Serge Mienandi and Kara Fall in Istanbul and Paris.
Kelen, the art to beautify our lives by bringing great art and extraordinary artists into people's lives.