As part of Dakar Biennale 2022’s OFF selection, LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery is pleased to present the works of two artists : Pedro Pires and Ange-Arthur Koua. Their artworks are intertwined in the heart of Keur Louise and resonate with the island of Gorée, a place laden with history.
Both Pedro Pires and Ange-Arthur Koua focus on the question of identity and migration in their artistic approach. Population displacements, whether they are voluntary or imposed, lead to identity mutations that are transmitted from one generation to the next. The sea journey is considered a symbol of adventure but also of dangers and difficulties implied by the travel towards the unknown. It transforms individuals into anonymous flows, to which Pedro Pires' sculptures and Ange-Arthur Koua's hangings try to pay tribute.
Pedro Pires expresses himself through sculpture, drawing, photography, video and installations. Born in Luanda in 1978, the artist lives and works in two locations, Luanda (Angola) and Lisbon (Portugal). For more than ten years he has been exploring the feeling of dislocated national identity, migration and human rights. He is particularly interested in identity and stereotypes issues in close connection with education, history and institutions. This interest comes from his dual African and European cultural background. His sculptures and installations have a strong relationship with human bodies and anthropomorphic volumes. The artist plays with the concepts of destruction and reconstruction and does not hesitate to recycle objects belonging to daily life in the cities where he exhibits to highlight the way in which identity is shaped, negotiated and reconstructed.
On the other hand, Ange-Arthur Koua draws, paints, dirties, burns, glues, sews and combines materials. A mixed media aesthetic emerges in which painting and textiles are combined in an assembling process that also aims at translating the dislocation of identity. The Ivorian artist, native from Abidjan, questions the power of beliefs and heritage over the construction of identity. His paintings present two sides, which - as if they were back to back and irreconcilable - highlight the duality of the individual: on the one hand his appearance, shaped by the heritage of his elders and by his beliefs, and on the other hand his personal deep essence which is hardly expressed. These canvases seem to dance around the great costume of the Asenmblan Gan Gan, this giant who exists thanks to traditions. Ange-Arthur Koua imagines his clothing to be made up of the souls of those he protects, as - according to the Akan belief - these pieces of cloth are impregnated with the souls of those who once wore them.
The recycling of everyday objects - from Pedro Pires' metallic elements to Ange-Arthur Koua's denim pièces - enables them to root their artworks in reality and to give substance to these anonymous silhouettes. Each in his own way highlights these drifting identities struggling to find themselves in a single model of society.