the participation of Anne Szefer Karlsen, Stian Eide Kluge, Steffen Håndlykken, Linus Elmes, Mohamed Ali Fadlabi and Jet Pascua in
On building art institutions in Africa
A symposium in Dakar, Senegal, organised by Koyo Kouoh and the Raw Material Company
18–20 January 2012
OCA is pleased to announce the Norwegian participation in Condition Report, a 3-day international symposium on building art institutions in Africa organised by Raw Material Company in cooperation with the Goethe Institut and German Federal Cultural Foundation. The symposium takes place in Dakar, Senegal, from 18-20 January 2012. Representatives from Norwegian cultural initiatives invited by Koyo Kouoh (director of Raw Material Company and a participant in OCA’s International Visitor Programme in 2010) to take part in the symposium include Anne Szefer Karlsen (director of Hordaland Art Centre, Bergen), Stian Eide Kluge and Steffen Håndlykken (directors of 1857, Oslo), Linus Elmes (director of UKS, Oslo), Mohamed Ali Fadlabi (artist and curator of One Night Only exhibition series, Oslo) and Jet Pascua (director of Small Projects, Tromsø).
According to the organisers, ‘Condition Report aims to address the changing role of art institutions and initiatives in relation to the broader artistic urgencies, and in relation to the society in its whole. The symposium is organised to evaluate a founding principle of many independent organisations that have emerged in recent years – namely that independent contemporary art institutions are an important voice in the construction of a strong cultural private sector as well as in forging a critical opinion from an open civil society. The importance of issues of action, space, power, control and quality will be covered. The sessions will also provide a platform for discussing case studies and experiences accompanied by an informed interpretative analysis’.
The symposium is divided into three leading chapters broken down into multiple sessions. In an effort to contextualise the African art scene and facilitate access and exchange to international participants, site visits to local art institutions are an integral part of the programme. The first chapter, Actors, Agents and Mainstream, ‘looks at existing institutions and how they work to build a shared understanding of artistic agency’. The second chapter, Remains of the Days, ‘discusses how former colonial powers define and implement their strategies of cultural representation and exchange in post-colonial areas’. The Norwegian delegation will participate in the third chapter titled Area Studies, which ‘investigates models and profiles of art institutions developed in other regions of the world with similar historical and contemporary settings’. The session scheduled on Friday, 20 January, titled Case Study: Norway, will elaborate upon a grass roots impulse that is assuming the scene of contemporary art and how it relates to international exchange.
Other international participants in the symposium include Abdellah Karroum (Appartement 22, Rabat, Morocco); Yto Barrada (Cinémathèque de Tanger, Tanger, Morocco); Oyinda Fakeye (Center of Contemporary Art Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria); Juan Gaitan (Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands); Livia Paldi (Baltic Art Centre, Visby, Gotland county, Sweden); Kerstin Pinther (Free University, Berlin, Germany); Dirk Snauwaert (Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium); Ousseynou Wade (Dakar Biennale, Dakar, Senegal) and Marie-Cécile Zinsou (Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Benin), among others.
About Raw Material Company
Raw Material Company is a not for profit center for art, knowledge and society. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, commissioning, knowledge sharing, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa.
About the Norwegian symposium participants
Mohamed Ali Fadlabi (b.1975) is a Sudanese-Norwegian painter based in Oslo. He works mainly with paintings, performance and text, and has had exhibitions in Norway, Germany, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland and France. In addition to his bachelor's from the National Academy of the Arts, where he is currently working on his master's degree, he received a bachelor's in political science at Elnaileen University 1995-1999, and studied painting at the Sudan University 1995-1997. Fadlabi is the founder of One Night Only Gallery in Oslo. He grew up in Sudan's capital Khartoum. After his political alliances and activities forced him to leave Sudan, he arrived in Norway in 2003 where he was granted political asylum.
Anne Szefer Karlsen (b.1976) is a curator based in Bergen, Norway currently director of Hordaland Art Centre (2008-2014), which was established in 1976 as the first artist run art centre in Norway. Hordaland Art Centre is a non-profit gallery space, a residency programme and a bookshop and café. Szefer Karlsen is trained as an artist and curator, and for a number of years she acted as an independent curator as well as producer of different events and festivals. She was co-founder of Flaggfabrikken ー Centre for Photography and Contemporary Art (2002-2008) and is the co-founding editor of Ctrl+Z Publishing (since 2006).
Steffen Håndlykken (b.1981) is an artist living and working in Oslo. Recent exhibitions include Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo and The Drawing Biennial, Moss, and, as part of the artist group Institute for Colour: 0047, Oslo; Volt, Bergen; and Common Lands, Oslo. In 2010 he founded 1857 with Stian Eide Kluge, an artist-run space devoted to producing new projects by international artists. Since 2009 he has been co-editor for UKS-forum, a journal of contemporary art and theory published by the Young Artists Society in Oslo.
Stian Eide Kluge (b.1977) lives and works in Oslo. He is a graduate from the National Academy of Art and Design, Oslo and School of Visual Arts, Department for Film in New York. His work has recently been shown at Kunstnerforbundet, Galleri Erik Steen, 0047, Galleri Trafo and Galerei Gabriel Rolt. In 2010 he founded 1857 with Steffen Håndlykken, an artist-run space in Oslo devoted to producing new projects by international artists.
Jet Pascua (b.1969) is a Filipino-born visual artist now residing in Tromsø, Norway. He studied at the University of the Philippines, Department of Fine Arts, the National Academy of Fine Arts, Oslo and the National Academy of Fine Arts, Bergen in where he attained his Master in Fine Arts degree. He has also taken part and organized several group and solo exhibitions internationally. He is the founder and director of Small Projects, a non-profit artist-run gallery supported by the Norwegian Arts Council and the city of Tromsø.
Linus Elmes (b.1972) is an artist, curator and writer with a background in Swedish artist initiated projects such as the deliberative collaborative project ak28 and the imaginary experiment Ersta Konsthall. He is currently director at UKS (Young Artists Society) in Oslo.
Condition Report has been supported by O3–funds as underwritten by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for enhancing collaboration in the contemporary art field with professional artists in countries designated by the MFA. The purpose of the O3–funds as allocated to OCA is to further develop cooperation and professional networking between OCA and the constituency of artists, independent cultural producers, and organisations that are located in designated countries. This includes but is not limited to 'professional research visits by cultural producers, artists, and curators', 'short-term residencies for cultural producers and artists', 'seminars, conferences, art projects, workshops that focus on the further development of professional exchange and networking between and among countries', and 'project development on an international scale'.