BEST PRACTICES. PAMOJA, A PANAFRICAN NETWORK OF RESIDENCIES AND PRODUCTION

Hardo Kâ, copyright Pamoja

BEST PRACTICES. PAMOJA, A PANAFRICAN NETWORK OF RESIDENCIES AND PRODUCTION

How can shared creation and circulation of artists be encouraged?

The premises

"Pamoja, "together" in swahili language, stemmed from a simple observation: the difficulty for African artists to create and show their work on the continent and the lack of artists' and projects’ circulation between African countries.

Pamoja is an initial answer from three artists-led organizations: the Studios Kabako/ Faustin Linyekula- DRC, the 1er Temps Association/Andréya Ouamba- Senegal and Culturarte / Panaibra Canda – Mozambique

"African artists face a twofold problem", explains Virginie Dupray, project manager of Pamoja. "Except for South Africa, most of the countries on this continent don’t offer the necessary conditions for the artists’ economic survival, not to mention the issue of trainings. The workplaces and venues are rare, the few festivals don’t have the necessary budget to invite artists from other countries of the continent and often it is easier to bring a French company with the support of the embassy instead of a company from another country of the continent. Education, which could ensure the artists a regular income, is little developed and most of the times they don’t receive any support from their respective government, cultural policy being non-existent, with a few exceptions… We have been trying to respond to this problem on our level with Pamoja".

Project activities

In practice, since January 2013, Pamoja has, thanks to several residencies, supported the production of:

12 projects of young artists, the residencies "Débuts"

3 projects of more established artists, the residencies "Parcours"

3 research projects, the residencies "Recherches".

 

These In-Residence programmes have been shared with local communities in Kisangani, Maputo and Dakar through workshops, encounters and training sessions for artists, but also for light, sound and production managers. Free performances, screenings, open rehearsals and discussions with host artists have also been organized for the general public.

Thus, 50 artists have been welcomed from Senegal, Mozambique, the DRC, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, France and Portugal…

Whenever conditions allow it, the African artists travel…

"We are very proud of the projects’ international circulation… ", declares Virginie Dupray. The projects" have to live, they need the time to grow by facing the public here on the continent and elsewhere”. Thanks to the Pamoja project we won this challenge. South African Hlengiwe Lushaba’s Highway to Heaven has been shown on three of the most important stages of the performing arts in Germany, in synergy with the Dance Dialogues Afrika programme. Congolese Patrick Haradjabu’s Qui n’a jamais désiré ? has been shown in November 2014 at the Abok INgoma Festival in Yaoundé with the support of the Institut français. Serge Aimé Coulibaly’s visionary Nuit blanche à Ouagadougou, that has been created between Kisangani, Dakar and Bobo Dioulasso, has been presented at the Récréâtrales in Ouagadougou and at the Tarmac theatre in Paris in January 2015…

New stable partnerships and crossed creations

The internationalisation of companies and artists has allowed building stable partnerships with prestigious structures in other countries. This is how partnerships with structures of local dissemination have been launched: the Franco-Mozambican Cultural Centre or the Kinani platform of contemporary dance in Maputo, the Blaise Senghor Cultural Centre, the Dakar French Institut or the Saint Louis Duo-Solo Festival in Senegal, l’Alliance française in Kisangani or the Lubumbashi Le Temps du theatre Festival in DRC…

The Pamoja project has had an impact on the establishment of relationships between artists of different countries. Shared creation has enabled a particular form of writing, by reuniting competences, know-how and sensitivities of different countries. Shared creation is also the dialogue between different countries and mutual knowledge. The creations have crossed the countries, establishing dialogue between the DRC and Senegal (Toxu), Mozambique and Madagascar (Casa), the DRC and Ivory Coast (Qui n’a jamais désiré ?) or the DRC and South Africa (Highway to HeavenTrio sans titre). Creations that have also cut across artistic fields, including, understandably, dance, and theatre (Chacun signe sa vie), music (5 Sense OrgansMy Gender Lives Here, Répétition à la maison) and visual arts (Casa)…

The future and the impact

Pamoja ended in May 2015 and leaves space for other support processes of young artists between Kisangani, Dakar and Maputo, capitalising on this unique production and residency circuit that, within three years, has allowed supporting some twenty dance and theatre projects. In May 2015 the Studios Kabako have already welcomed, with the support of the Institut français /Afrique et Caraïbes en creations, Toxu, the Momar Ndiaye trio, following a first creation residency hosted by Pamoja in Dakar in June-July 2014.

Pamoja also enabled exchanges with local artistic communities through sharing processes. Support was also given to 3 outstanding training sessions, including master classes, individual artistic, technical and administrative internships during residencies, as well as administrative and technical workshops. Hundreds of young professionals benefited from this program. A new generation of artists has been trained.

In each city, Pamoja enabled the local public to discover and share regularly through shows, discussions, screenings, open rehearsals…

Pamoja will continue supporting the dissemination of supported projects, particularly during festivals on the continent. From June 3 to 7, the Saint Louis Duo-Solo Festival in Senegal has hosted four Pamoja productions: Répétition à la maisonToxuNuit blanche à Ouagadougou and Siki. In October, the Kinani Contemporary Dance Platform has welcomed My Gender Lives Here and Casa. In July, the Connexion Kin Festival in Kinshasa has shown Trio sans titre. Toxu has been shown end of June in Europe at the Belluard Festival in Switzerland. Serge Aimé Coulibaly has presented his creation in June in Germany (Cologne, Düsseldorf) while Fatou Cissé’s Le bal du cercle has been in Avignon at the magnificent Cloître des Carmes in July 2015.

Virginie Dupray claims that the project has had a sustainable impact on the 3 structures. “We were able to internationalise our structures, create a strong brand image and build lasting partnerships. We have learned to manage complex projects, raise our degree of rigour in the management and administration of projects. We were able to expand our offer and increase our credibility with other donors. We will maintain everything that has been achieved so far for a long time.” The project has also helped to raise awareness amongst public authorities. “Thanks to this funding we were able to approach many public institutions and made them aware of the importance of investing more in arts and culture at the community level, because culture contributes to sustainable development,” concluded Virginie Dupray.

 For more "best practices" of the ACPCultures+ Program, visit THIS PAGE

 

 

December 8, 2015
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