Amanié, What's New? is a photography and video exhibition by Carlos de Jesus and Claude Oudey, curated by Lydie Diakhaté, that will be on display in the Kimmel Center Windows from September 7th - October 19th, 2017. The exhibition brings together compelling archival photo and film material shot 35 years ago in the fishing village of Aby in Ivory Coast, West Africa.
The greeting “Amanié” (meaning “What’s new?” in Agni, the language spoken in Aby) can also include the sharing of nightly dreams.
In 1980, equipped with various cameras – 35 mm, Polaroid and a Super 8mm, Carlos de Jesus accompanied his friend Claude Oudey, who left his home in Paris, France and flew to Africa to meet his grandmother for the very first time. Many years before, a Frenchman arrived in her village of Aby to manage a French plantation. Claude’s grandmother had two children by this man, a boy and a girl. When he left the country to return to France, this man took his daughter with him; she was two years old. Claude’s grandmother — his Nana — had no news of her child for many years, until her grandson resolved to bring his mother back to her birthplace, to find her family and to renew contact with the everyday life of her natal village.
Carlos and Claude documented this homecoming, this meeting of generations, of races, of cultures, of geographies and histories. Inspired by the aesthetics and theories on visual anthropology of Jean Rouch, and his advice to act as “day-to-day passeurs,” they came back with film footage and a series of photographs. The images illustrate the daily life, the landscapes and the architecture of Aby. They document the mourning ceremonies after the death of the spiritual leader in the village. And they celebrate the relationships and interactions that create the texture of la vie quotidienne in this corner of West Africa. The story begins with a Polaroid portrait of Claude standing next to his African grandmother, and continues through 13 windows which include archival images, moving and still, accompanied by transcribed quotes from interviews of elders in the village and poetry by the late Ivorian writer Noël X Ebony. Curator Lydie Diakhaté has commented that she perceives this family saga, which unfolds as the viewer walks along the sidewalks of Greenwich Village, as a “folk tale.” She explains: “I wanted to bring the viewer through the infinite circle of life, from birth to death. As you walk along 3rd street or LaGuardia Place, the narrative flows back and forth through the 13 windows. However, each window can also be seen individually as one story. Almost four decades after Carlos’ and Claude’s journey, they are bringing these archival images into the present moment. I decided to avoid the idea of taking history as a nostalgic and frozen space and instead create for the viewer an atemporal space that allows for a new vision, that addresses the continuing dialogue about the principles of life, the effects of colonialism, and the ties of love and memory that bind between continents. The project’s purpose is to invite the viewer to share what French philosopher Edouard Glissant called the “emotions of the diversity of the world.”
Moreover, Diakhaté saw the Kimmel Windows as an ideal platform for the creation of what Glissant described as a “lieu commun”—a common space where one thought of the world meets up with another thought of the world. Encountering a series of tableaux that encourage him/her to plunge into an unexpected emotional and cultural terrain, each pedestrian will simultaneously experience the history and customs of Aby and, perhaps, will be moved to confront the immense chaos fueled by the ephemerality of the world in which we live.
Convergence: 2017 NYU All Alumni Artist Exhibit |
We are celebrating our own with the inaugural NYU All Alumni Exhibit. Over 40 artists are featured including works from paint to photography spanning the entire 8th floor.