In this month of women's rights, I have decided to focus on the place of women in the artistic community in West Africa.
This is a subject and an issue that is particularly close to my heart since one of Kelen's ambitions is to promote women's work and economic empowerment.
In fact, it is especially a question of strengthening their economic power because, most of the time, it is these determined and fighting women who are in charge of the management of the home. For them, contributing fully to the economy does not only mean acting as responsible citizens. It also involves the ability to take control of their destiny, create wealth and grow.
Women are well involved in creation and design...
This is how, at my scale, I put the work of women first. More and more women starts an entrepreneurial venture, especially in creation and design, and many of them are surrounding themselves with other women for the handcrafted part.
However, they are less visible in plastic arts...
Regarding the visual arts, the situation is a little bit different. If the legitimacy of contemporary African art, long considered as a minor art, is no longer to prove, women are the new minority. And it's true that, since the beginning of Kelen, It has been more difficult to approach women visual artists than men. Yet things are evolving with a proliferation of exhibitions devoted to African women from a new generation. For example, the exhibition held in France until December 2017 in Le Havre "L'autre Continent, artistes femmes africaines" or the exhibition "L'Iris de Lucy" at Château de Rochechouart last summer. I think that the works of these painters cannot and should not be reduced to questions of gender or belonging to a continent but it is certain that these questions nourish their personal and artistic journeys. Some visual artists, like Euridice Kala, do not dissociate feminine art and feminism: "I am a black feminist artist from the African continent. ". While for many women, their works do not necessarily claim feminism. Many women present an artistic work without developing the feminine aspect which is deliberately omitted.