I just got back from a contemporary African art fair in Central London called 1-54.
It slightly depressed me as it was so far removed from the Africa I have experienced for the past two years. I had to remind myself that most art fairs are unrepresentative of life – real life. They exist in the ‘art world’. A very weird parallel universe where trash becomes treasure and prices are pulled out of the ether.
Romauld Hazoume – Masks 1992 (Benin)
I imagined walking through the well dressed crowds with my host mother Fatou and trying to explain the point of it all to her. I couldn’t come up with a decent explanation in my imagination. In the gift store they were selling Baobab superfood bars for $2. How could I explain that to her, when she makes less than $2 harvesting a whole sack of Baobab fruit?
Being at the art fair also reminded me I have only glimpsed the tiniest slither of an image of Africa and I cannot begin to understand a continent from two years in a tiny village. But seeing such beautiful photographs definitely made me want to return and explore more.
Maimuna Guerresi http://www.maimounaguerresi.com/