The Black Open Arts Program: In, Out, and Through

Launching the Black Open Arts Program

Wednesday, April 6, 18.30-20h30
Reception Hall of Building A, Grands Moulins
Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Paris Rive Gauche site

By Anne Crémieux (Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre) and Xavier Lemoine (Université de Nantes)

The Adodi Project

Men’s Love Stories:  The Adodi Project

April 6-9, 2011
Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Charles V site, Room C31

An audio installation by Myron Beasley, Bates College, USA The Adodi project was a six year ethnographic  (2000-06) study of a collective of African American Men who identify as same-gender loving men who come together annually and perform rituals from various African traditions as a way of affirming themselves. This audio installation is a assemblage of narratives from interviews from a workshop titled “Telling First Love Stories” held at the 2003 retreat where the men recorded each others’ narrative of first loves.  The audio narratives you will hear point to poignant intimate moments about love, pain, desire and survival of living at an intersection of marginality.

Myron M. Beasley
Dr. Myron M. Beasley  (Curator of Creative Events for the “Black States of Desire" Conference) is a scholar, curator and performance artist who teaches in the African-American/American Cultural Studies programs at Bates College. He is the 2010 recipient of the Whiting Foundation Fellowship to complete his ethnographic work in Haiti.  He is also the recipient of the 2010/2011 Andy Warhol Writer’s Grant for his writing project about rituals and death through the prism of artists of African descent.  (
His ethnographic work has led him to fieldwork in the Morocco, Brazil and Haiti.  His work has appeared in several academic journals including Text and Performance Quarterly and Performance Research (  and his installations have appeared internationally, particularly his "Ritual, Sacred Spaces, and the Body: Men of African Descent and the Performance of Sexuality" at Performance International-PSi 6 and his short film work on food and ritual in Brazil at Umami Festival (


"Go the Way Your Blood Beats" – Remembering James Baldwin
David Linx and Diederik Wissels

Thursday April 7, 18.30-20.00

Lecture Hall 2A, Building Halle aux Farines
Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Paris Rive Gauche site

David Linx
Born in 1965 in Brussels, Jazz musician David Linx is a singer, songwriter, composer and multi instrumentalist. In 1986, his James Baldwin Project  is acclaimed both in Europe and the U.S. Reissued in 2000, the project features James Baldwin reading his poems along with some of the best European and American jazz musicians of the time : Pierre Van Dormael, Deborah Brown, Steve Coleman, Slide Hampton, Toots Thielemans, Jimmy Owens and Viktor Lazlo.

In 1992 Linx forms a duo with pianist and composer Diederik Wissels. They tour regularly as a duo or quartet and have recorded 7 albums so far. Public and critical acclaim has made this duo one of the most sought after vocal acts of the moment. As a solo singer and composer, he records L’instant d’après with Polydor/Universal in 2000, a widely acclaimed album of songs in French. In 2003 the David Linx/Diederik Wissels quartet issues This Time with Harmonia Mundi. The album is awarded Jazzman Magazine’s « choc des chocs » distinction, and the quartet plays several French and international jazz festivals (Vienne, Nice, Montréal, Paris La Villette).

The Linx/Wissels project also initiated several joint projects such as Heartland, with Paolo Fresu (Universal, 2001), and One Heart, Three Voices, with singers Fay Claassen and Maria Pia de Vito (e-motive records/Nocturne, 2005), which received the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros, the Prix Adami and the  Prix du Musicien Européen de l’Académie du Jazz.

David Linx’s latest project entitled Follow the Songlines, with Maria Joao, Mario Laginha, Diederik Wissels, Christophe Wallemme, Helge Norbakken and a symphony orchestra conducted by Dirk Brossé,  created in 2007 in Brussels and Porto, was also presented in Geneva, Lyon, and Paris. He is currently working on a production of Porgy and Bess with Maria Joao and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Also in the making is an album with Rhoda Scott featuring Julien Lourau, Lenine, Paolo Fresu, Steve Houben, Nguyên Lê, Sergio Krakowski,  with Naïve. His many other talents include singing, writing music for film-makers and choreographers, writing songs and producing albums for singers.

David Linx

As leader:
Hungry Voices, Polydor, 1988; Where Rivers Join, September Records, 1990; Moon To Your Sun, Crépuscule / Pias, 1991; Encores compilation, Buy My Records, 1995; Standards, Buy My Records, 1995; A Lover’s Question( David Linx, James Baldwin, Pierre Van Dormael) Label Bleu, 2000 (réédition);  L’Instant D’Après, Polydor/Universal, 2001; Changing Faces (David Linx and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, invités Natalie Dessay, Maria Joao et Ivan Lins), +Music/Harmonia Mundi 2007; Follow The Songlines (David Linx, Maria Joao, Diederik Wissels, Mario Laginha Christophe Wallemme, Helge Andreas Norbakken and the Casa Da Musica Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dirk Brossé)
With Diederik Wissels :
Kamook, B. Sharp / CDS, 1992; If One More Day, Crépuscule / TWI, 1993; Up Close, Label Bleu / Harmonia Mundi, 1996; Bandarkâh, Label Bleu / Harmonia Mundi, 1998; Heartland (David Linx, Diederik Wissels, Paolo Fresu) Emarcy / Universal Jazz, 2001; This Time, Le Chant Du Monde / Harmonia Mundi, 2003; One Heart, Three Voices, e-motive Records / Nocturne, 2005

Thierry Pécou & Les Batoutos  

Thierry Pécou

Friday April 8, 18.30-20.00

Lecture Hall 2A, Building Halle aux Farines
Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Paris Rive Gauche site
In partnership with L’Institut du Tout Monde 

Introduction by Frédéric Sylvanise (Université Paris 13-Nord)

Thierry Pécou
For Thierry Pécou, to live is to travel, and to travel is to write, as if composing were both plunging into another universe, taking emotional possession of the places, and above all, stepping back; voluntarily becoming marginalized in relation to one’s everyday cultural milieu.  

Born in 1965 in Paris, Thierry Pécou began studying the piano at the age of nine and continued his studies at the Paris Conservatoire Supérieur, where he won First Prizes in Orchestration and Composition. Regularly appointed for residencies around the world, Pécou has had a long-standing relationship with the Banff Center in Canada where he has often been in residence. He was also a member of the Casa de Velazquez in Madrid and in residence in Russia, as part of the Villa Médicis Hors Les Murs Prize, and has made his extensive travel a source of inspiration for his music. 

He wrote over 80 performed works, most often commissions by prestigious institutions interpreted by world-class soloists and orchestras (Kronos Quartet, Alexandre Tharaud, the BBC Symphony Orchestra) at concert seasons and festivals (the Radio-France Présences festival , Gaudeamus Music-Week in Amsterdam, Automn in Moscow, New Music Concerts Toronto, Foro Internacional de Musica Nueva de Mexico, Festival d’Ambronay, Tampere Choir Festival (Finland), Auditorium de Nagasaki, Théâtre de la Ville and des Champs Elysées in Paris, Octobre en Normandie. 

Thierry Pécou’s Stabat Mater received a special mention at UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers in 1990. He also won the Prix Nouveau Talent SACD in 1999, the Prix Georges Enesco as well as the Prix des Jeunes Compositeurs SACEM in 1993 and 2004. His work Brèves du Jaguar was recommended at the International Rostrum of Composers in 2004. He was furthermore nominated for the Victoires de la Musique 2005 in the Composer of the year category, for his piece – Outre-Mémoire (Editions Musicales Européennes).

He is currently completing the opera L’Amour Coupable, based upon Beaumarchais’ La Mère coupable, on a libretto by Eugene Green, commissioned by the Rouen Opera.

Prominent amongst his works are:
Les Machines désirantes, for piano and five instruments, premiered in February 2009 at the Radio-France Présences Festival, with Thierry Pécou (piano) and the Ensemble Zellig
L’Oiseau innumérable, concerto for piano and orchestra, premiered in October 2006 with Alexandre Tharaud (piano) and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, cond. Andrea Quinn
Les Sacrifiées, opera for three solo voices, choir and chamber orchestra, premiered in January 2008 – libretto by Laurent Gaudé, with Arcal and the ensemble TM+. Christian Gangneron, stage director.
Vague de pierre for orchestra, premiered with the Philarmonic Orchestra of Radio-France at the 2007 Radio-France Présences Festival
Passeurs d’eau for female voices, Amerindian voice and instruments, and three instruments, premiered in 2004 at the Abbey of Sylvanès and the ‘Musica’ and ‘Voix et routes romanes’ festivals in Strasbourg by Mora Vocis with Yaki Kandru and the ensemble Zellig, in a staging by Christine Mananzar
Symphonie du Jaguar for five female voices, clarinet, trombone, violin, and cello soloists, and large orchestra. Premiered at the Radio-France 2003Présences Festival
Les Filles du feu for oboe or clarinet and instrumental ensemble, premiered at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid in May 1998
A Circle in the Sand for violin solo and double chamber chorus, commissioned by the Bath International Music Festival
Ñawpa for solo violin and string orchestra, premiered at Radio France in September 1999.

Jean-Luc Tamby

Jean-Luc Tamby
After studying the classical guitar and improvisation at the C .N.S.M. in Paris, Jean-Luc Tamby has participated in the creation and diffusion activities of the ensemble of contemporary music S. I. C. He then turned to ancient instruments which he studied  with Eric Bellocq and Vincent Dumestre, as well as with Jordi Savall and Hopkinson Smith during master classes.
He has since then participated in numerous concerts and recordings for the Poème Harmonique and the Musée de la musique in particular.
He is currently completing a PhD about the musical extensions of the works and thought of Edouard Glissant. As a musicologist, he helps spread the works of Thierry Machuel and Thierry Pécou.
Jean-Luc Tamby teaches luth playing and improvisation in the Conservatoires of Dieppe and Rouen.

Karim Touré
Since the beginning of the 1980s, Karim Touré has been performing, composing and teaching. He has been seen and heard on stage accompanying French singers (Alain Souchon, Jean Guidoni, Lucid Beausonge, Eric Morena, Dominique Dimey) but also jazz musicians (Louis Winsberg, Antoine Illouz, Yazuaki Shimizu, Tony Ballester, Hervé Bourde, Franco d’Andrea, Claudio Lodati) and world musicians (Clem Mounkala, Toups Bebey, Jules et Moussa Cissoko, Charly MacMahon, Tany Manga avec Tao Ravao et Vincent Bucher, Klez…). He composes and plays the scores for Mylène Wagram shows (tales and poetic readings). He performs with Jean-Luc Tamby, playing the lute, the “galichon”, the baroque guitar (ancient music), with tenor Jean-François Novelli’s group, baritone Arnaud Marzorati and the Lunaisiens.

Rémi Biet

Rémi Biet
Remi Biet discovered jazz music at the age of fifteen listening to a compilation  (Les géants du jazz). Fascinated by Don Byas’s sound on On the Sunny Side of the Street, he decided to try his hand at the saxophone. Six months later, he was playing with musicians from Rouen who went by the name « Les pinces à linge ».

A self-taught musician, he borrowed a double bass to accompany sax player Philippe Ecrepont, then got interested in the flute which he decided to study. He later turned to the clarinet after hearing Eddie Daniels’s album entitled Breakthrough.

A primary school teacher for a dozen years before dedicating himself entirely to jazz, he taught jazz at the Ecole d’improvisation de Jazz in the Mont Saint-Aignan and at the Ecole nationale de musique in Dieppe. He is currently in charge of the jazz class at the Conservatoire in Rouen.

Rémi Biet arranged and directed the music for Jean-Jacques Milteau’s show entitled Road Movies with the Ensemble Orchestral de Basse-Normandie (12 strings, 5 wind instruments) and guitarist Manu Galvin. He also took part in a show with the Orchestre National de France and drummer André Charlier at the Maison de Radio France in December 2004 (which was broadcast on France Musiques in January 2005). He later performed with the Métropolitain de Montreal in Montreal for the Festiblues festival in August 2005, with the Orchestre de l’Institut Supérieur de Musique of Tunis in September 2007 at the Festival International de la Médina and also with the Quartet Ebène.

Rémi Biet performed in a quartet with guitarist Lionel Benhamou, Stéphane Huchard on drums and Jean-Jacques Avenel on double bass. He was commissioned to compose “Suite barbare” for a jazz big band and a barrel organ (with Pierre Charial on organ). The “Hivernales des cuivres et des percussions” asked him to create the music illustrating Allessandro Barricco’s text entitled “Novecento Pianiste”. He also created “A cordes et à Coeur”.

After Christian Garros’s death in 1988, he started running the Rouen Big Band orchestra with pianist Philippe Carment. He also occasionnally featured in various orchestras such as Laurent Cugny’s Big Band Lumière and Jean-Michel Pilc’s Big band. The latter also hired him in his New Big One.


Cahier d’un retour au pays natal by Aimé Césaire
A theatrical performance by Jacques Martial

Saturday, April 9th, 2011 – 6.30 to 8 pm

Amphitheatre 310
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Val-de-Seine
Paris Rive Gauche site

The production is the story of a journey. A journey through time and through space. On stage is a black figure, a man cut off from his own existence, exiled in the silence of his being, on the verge of an irreversible scream, making this journey back to his native land, to his humanity.

Temporal unity – the action takes place in the space of one night. A night of alcohol or full moon. Unity of action – a contentious sorcerer operating a singular exorcism, living step by step through a poetic initiation, an encounter through otherness, recognising, knowing, accepting, loving. Spatial unity – into the corner of his fervour, into this cave where the shadows of his memories and his story escape illusion, enlightening reality and consciousness.

Aimé Césaire’s poetry is meant for saying and hearing as much as for reading – its phrasing vibrant, luxurious and generous yet precise and cutting in its ever inventive music. Notebook of a Return to my Native Land is marked by the impatience of a 25 years old poet, a spirit of revolt before the unscalable prows of prejudice and stupidity, a hatred for the violence suffered by the black world as it is by all dominated people, a Jew-man, a Caffir-man, a Hindu-from-Calcutta-man, a Harlem-man-who-does-not-vote, a young man who already understood in 1939 how poetry could be a miraculous weapon, a young man as yet ignorant of the new fraternity he was helping to found. 

Jacques Martial

Jacques Martial 
Best known to the general public in French-speaking countries for his role in the popular TV series Navarro, Jacques Martial is an accomplished all-round theatre, cinema and TV actor. He studied theatre in Paris in Sarah Sanders Acting Studio before going on to become her assistant. Their collaboration lasted six years, during which time he taught classes based on both the classics, Racine and Shakespeare, to contemporary writers from Césaire and Pinter through to Jean-Louis Bourdon. During that same period, he created and taught a series of theatre workshops for young and amateur actors in Cayenne in South America.

He then founded the association “Rond-Point des Cultures” presenting a series of events based on other cultures and using artists from visible minorities.

While directing several plays in Paris (Poil de Carotte by Jules Renard, Une Femme est un Diable by Mérimée or La Piaule by Pascal Vrebos), he in no way neglected his acting career. At the Théâtre Noir, his performance in Jacques Roumain’s Gouverneur de la Rose resulted in an offer by M. Gleason to play the title role in Broken English. On screen he has worked with directors such as John Berry (Il y a maldonne), Claire Devers (Noir et Blanc – Caméra d’or at the Cannes Film Festival 1987), Samuel Fuller (Sans Espoir de Retour), Robert Kramer (Walk the Walk) or Alain Maline (Jean Galmot Aventurier). On stage, he performed in James Saunders’ Les Voisins, J-F Prévand’s William 1er, Athol Fugart’s Liens de sang, Marivaux’ L’Île des Esclaves, etc.

In the year 2000, he created his own theatre company, la Compagnie de la Comédie Noire, producing works such as Claudel’s L’Echange. During that same year, he was to be seen performing with Sophie Marceau and Frédéric Diefenthal in Belphégor, in Pascal Légitimus’ film Antilles sur Seine, and in Jean Giraudoux’ Electre, directed by Jean Dalric. In 2002, he was on tour performing in Irina Brook’s production of Juliette et Roméo before touring Notebook of a Return to My Native Land in many parts of the world and creating José Pliya’s Cannibales.

Jacques Martial has been the President of « l’Etablissement Public du Parc et de la Grande Halle de la Villette » since 2006.


"In the Dark Room" – The Black States of Desire Film Festival

April 6-8, 2011
Art House and Cinema Venue La Clef
21 rue de la Clef, 75005 Paris
Métro: Censier Daubenton (line 7 / Bus 47 — from Paris Diderot : take bus 62 then change for bus 47 or métro line 7 at Tolbiac)

All films, all showings : 5,5 euros
Films shown in English with French subtitles

Programming: Anne Crémieux (Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre)

"In the Dark Room" is the first festival in France to specifically deal with queer Black issues. It showcases modern, activist images of queer Black desire that represent the cultural and social diversity of the Black queer community.
The selection includes films from the United States, Europe and Africa, dealing with transgender, transsexual, lesbian, bi and gay issues. They raise questions in direct connection with the fields of expertise of many of the conference attendees, namely African American literature (Looking for Langston, Brother to Brother, Precious), the trans paradigm, performance, and the representation of the body (Woubi chéri, Venus Boyz, Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask).  
All of these films are recognized as holding a central place in the history of queer cinema worldwide, offering the racial dimension that is key to any minority issue. They were all produced in the independent circuit, except for Precious, the adaptation of lesbian author Sapphire’s bestselling novel Push, on par with the rest of the selection for its filmic and narrative courage. Queer Black cinema over the past twenty years has been made of tightly budgeted, independent productions, which matches the programming tradition of art house cinema venue La Clef.


5 p.m.  – Looking for Langston, by Isaac Julien, 1989 (47 min, B/W)
With Ben Ellison, Matthew Baidoo and Akim Mogaji.

Followed by discussion moderated by Anne Crémieux, université Paris Ouest Nanterre.

A black and white, fantasy-like recreation of high-society gay men during the Harlem Renaissance, with archival footage and photographs intercut with a story. A wake, with mourners gathered around a coffin, an elegant bar where tuxedoed men dance and talk, a dream of love and rejection, framed by voices reading from the poetry and essays of Hughes and others. The freedom of gay Black men in the 1920s in Harlem is suggested and celebrated visually.
(2nd screening on Saturday 9th of April, at 7 p.m.)

6 p.m. – Venus Boyz – by Gabrielle Baur, 2002 (102 min)
With Diane Torr, Dréd Gerestant et Del La Grace Volcano

Followed by a discussion with Jihan Ferjani and Sinae Oh of IdentiT festival in Paris (

A legendary Drag King Night in New York is the point of departure for an odyssey to transgendered worlds, where women become men – some for a night, others for their whole lives. What motivates them? What do they dream of? The drag kings of New York meet in clubs and change lustfully into their male alter egos, parodying them and exploring male eroticism and power strategies. In London we see women experiment with hormones to become new men and ‘cyborgs’. Masculinity and transformation as performance, subversion or existential necessity
(2nd screening on Friday, 8th, at 4 p.m.)


8 p.m. – Precious, by Lee Daniels, 2009 (109 min)
With Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique and Paula Patton

Followed by a discussion moderated by Sylvie Laurent, Sciences Po Paris.

In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. Based on the novel by Sapphire, Push. (2nd screening on Friday 8th, at 8 p.m.)



4.30 p.m.Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask, by Isaac Julien, 1996 (70 min)
with Colin Salmon, Halima Daoud and Noirin Ni Dubhgaill

Followed by a discussion moderated by Pap Ndiaye, EHESS.

This documentary explores the life and work of the psychoanalytic theorist and activist Frantz Fanon who was born in Martinique, educated in Paris and worked in Algeria. It examines Fanon’s theories of identity and race, and traces his involvement in the anti-colonial struggle in Algeria and throughout the world.


6 p.m. – The Watermelon Woman, by Cheryl Dunye, 1996, 90 min
With Cheryl Dunye and Guinevere Turner 

Followed by a discussion moderated by Anne Crémieux, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre.

Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia and consumed by a film project: to make a video about a Black actress who was known as the Watermelon Woman. Following various leads, Cheryl surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page, a White woman and one of Hollywood’s few female directors. Along the way, Cheryl becomes involved with Diana, who’s also White, leading to more discoveries and new realizations.

8 p.m. – Woubi Chéri, by Laurent Bocahut and Philip Brooks, 1998 (62 min)
With Avelido, Barbara and Bibiche

Followed by a discussion with Barbara and Laurent Bocahut.

This documentary shows a few days in the life of various members of Abdijan, Ivory Coast’s gay and transgendered community. We get to meet a variety of woubis and yossis, and the hero/heroine of the film, Barbara, who is organizing the annual year-end party of the Ivory Coast Tranvestite Association, to be held December 27, 1997.
(2nd screening on Friday 9th, at 10 p.m.)

10 p.m. – Brother to Brother, by Rodney Evans, 2004 (94 min)
With Anthony Mackie, Lawrence Gilliard Jr. and Duane Boutte

Followed by a discussion moderated by Arlette Frund, François Rabelais University in Tour.

Looking back on the Harlem Renaissance as an elderly writer meets a college student in New York.
(2nd screening on Friday 9th, at 6 p.m.)

Looking for Langston


4 p.m. – Venus Boys, Gabrielle Baur, 2002
Followed by a discussion with the organizers of the Trans Festival in Paris.

6 p.m. – Brother to Brother, Rodney Evans, 2004
Followed by a discussion moderated by Arlette Frund, Université François Rabelais in Tour.

8 p.m. – Precious, Lee Daniels, 2009
Followed by a discussion moderated by Monica Michlin, Université Paris Sorbonne.

10 p.m. – Woubi Chéri, Laurent Bocahut and Philip Brooks, 1998
Followed by a discussion with director Laurent Bocahut and cast member Barbara.


Exhibitions from March 28th to April 9th

Collages by Theodore A. Harris

Vetoed Dreams

The University of Chicago Center in Paris (Library)
6, rue Thomas Mann, 75013 Paris – Métro Bibliothèque François Mitterrand

Theodore A. Harris
To sum up Theodore A. Harris’ CV borders on the impossible, so rich and versatile his route has been. Theodore A. Harris is a poet, muralist, collagist and arts instructor born in New York City. He currently lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was featured in various one man and group shows from 1984 to 2009. In addition to teaching arts in various settings, such as the African American Museum in Philadelphia in 2009, the ICA Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, in 2008, or the Hammonds House Museum (Atlanta, GA) where he was Artist in Residence in 2007, Harris has appeared in many publications (New Letters, Paterson Literary Review, Cal Literary Arts Magazine, African American Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Quarterly Black Book Review, Callaloo, African Voices, Temple University Faculty Herald, Ethnic Studies Graduate Journal) and anthologies (In Defense of Mumia (Writers and Readers 1996); ROLE CALL: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature / Art (Third World Press 2002)). Amongst his most significant work, we find his solo exhibit Our Flesh of Flames, displayed in 2009 in Philadelphia and New York, after he authored a book entitled OUR FLESH OF FLAMES: Collages by Theodore A. Harris / Captions by Amiri Baraka Introduction by M. K. Asante, Jr. Afterword by Gene Ray (Anvil Arts Press 2008) ( ). He has authored two other books: I ran from it and I was still in it, by Fred Moten and Theodore A. Harris (Cups Books, 2007) and Malcom X as Ideology, by Amiri Baraka, Collage by Theodore A. Harris (LeBow, 2008). Lately, he was Ashe Cultural Arts Center’s Artist in Residence (New Orleans, LA). Theodore A. Harris’s artistic identity characterizes itself through Harris’ political commitment and belief that art is a weapon.

Exibition list:
1. War is the Sound of Money Eating after John G. Hall, (collage and conflict series), dimensions variable, triptych, print on paper, 2009
2. End this War…after Shirley Chisholm (collage and conflict series), dimensions variable, triptych, print, mixed media on paper, 2008
3. Basement of Night, mixed media collage on paper, 2006
4. We Wear of Flesh like Flames, 22 1/2 x 30 inches, mixed media print on paper, 2005
5. Collage for a Phoney War, 22 1/2 x 30 inches, print, mixed media print on paper, 2003
6. Appeal to the Secretary of the Lower Intestine, 22 1/2 x 30 inches, mixed media print paper, 2003
7. On the Throne of Fire after Somebody Blew Up America for Amiri Baraka, 19 x 16 inches, mixed media collage on paper, 2003
8. Collage Eulogy for Amadu Diallo, 22 1/2 x 30 inches, mixed media print on paper, 1999
9. Under Occupation, 22 1/2 x 30 inches, print on paper, 1995
10. In Defense of Thomas Jones, 25 1/2 x 20 inches, print on paper, 2000
11. Vetoed Dreams, 11 x 17 inches, mixed media print on paper, 1995

Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti

Photographs by Leah Gordon

Leah Gordon, Lanse Kod, Kanaval Project

Reception Hall of Building A, Grands Moulins
Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7
Paris Rive Gauche site
In partnership with the "Service Culture" (Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7)

Leah Gordon
Leah Gordon is a photographer, film-maker and curator and has, in recent years, produced a considerable body of work on the representational boundaries between art, religion, anthropology, post-colonialism and folk history. In 2006 she commissioned the Grand Rue Sculptors from Haiti to make ‘Freedom Sculpture’, a permanent exhibit for the International Museum of Slavery in Liverpool.  Continuing her relationship with the Grand Rue artists, Gordon organized and co-curated the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince in December 2009. She has also been involved in a range of film, photographic and curatorial projects including documenting experiences of homophobia in London; colonial legacy and the museum in Maputo; links between the Slave Trade and the River Thames and carnival practice in Jacmel, Haiti. Her photography book ‘Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti’ is published by Soul Jazz publishing in June 2010.  Gordon is represented by Riflemaker Gallery.

Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti
For the last 15 years Leah Gordon has been documenting a carnival in Jacmel, Southern Haiti using photography and the collection of oral histories. This work has recently been published in the book ‘Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti (pub. Soul Jazz Publishing). Each year, Jacmel holds pre-Lenten Mardi Gras festivities. Troupes of performers act out mythological and political tales in a whorish theatre of the absurd that courses the streets, rarely shackled by traditional parade. Whatever the Carnival lacks in glitz and spectacle, it makes up for in home-grown surrealism and poetic metaphor. The characters and costume partially betray their roots in medieval European carnival, but the Jacmellien masquerades are also a fusion of clandestine Vodou, ancestral memory, political satire and personal revelation. The lives of the indigenous Taino Indians, the slaves’ revolt and more recently state corruption are all played out using drama and costume on Jacmel’s streets. This is people taking history into their own hands and moulding it into whatever they decide. So within this Historical retelling we find mask after mask, but rather than concealing, they are revealing, story after story, through disguise, gesture and roadside pantomime.

Exhibition list:
1. Fantonm (Ghost) 2009
2. Esklav Yo (The Slaves) 2001
3. Endyen (Indian) 2000
4. Zèl Maturin (The Wings of Mathurin) 1995
5. Gason Bo Kote Lanmè (Boy by the sea) 2000
6. Nèg ak Po Lanbi (Man with conch shell) 2001
7. De Lansè Kod (Two rope throwers) 1996
8. Pa Roro (Leader of the Pa Roro group) 2004

Torrick Ablack (aka Toxic)
Street art paintings

Torrick Ablack (aka Toxic)

Reception Hall of Building A, Grands Moulins
Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, Paris Rive Gauche site
In partnership with the "Service Culture" (Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7)

Torrick Ablack (aka Toxic)
Born in 1965 in the South Bronx, the American painter Torrick Ablack whose family comes from the Caribbean is among the main pioneers of the Graffiti art movement that takes place at the beginning of the eighties.

Better known under the name of Toxic, he grows up in the Bronx and begins tagging New York subway trains and walls at the age of thirteen with his friends Kool Koor and A-One. Painting with the spray can horizontally, the “street-writer” leaves his marks as early as 1980 on all the walls of 24th street. These years are crucial for the artist. A close mate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, he forms with him and Rammelzee, the Hollywood Africans group, which is also the title of a famous painting by Basquiat. Toxic appears in three paintings by Basquiat. The most famous one painted in 1984 is his full-length portrait named “Toxic”. This work is exhibited at the Whitney Museum. Between 1982 and 1985, Toxic has regular shows in New York at the famous Fashion Moda gallery and at Sidney Janis.

In the past thirty years, his talent and achievement never fail to be recognized by an informed audience. He is exhibited everywhere in Europe. In 2006, the Brooklyn Museum pays a tribute to the forerunners of the graffiti movement and establishes Toxic as a major artist alongside other legends like NOC 167 and Bear 167.

In 2009, he also partakes in an international show gathering 150 artists exhibited at the Grand Palais gallery in Paris for the “TAG” exhibition and is also part of the “Né dans la rue-Graffiti” show at the Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. Toxic currently lives in Paris.

The paintings exhibited at the University Paris Diderot-Paris 7 in the context of the “Black States of Desire” CAAR Conference, in between a figurative and abstract approach, always express the painful position of the artist located in between two worlds: black and white, child and adult, reality and dream. His gushing colors reveal the violence and the pain of his existence. In his mature years, Toxic is recognized as one of the great masters who have successfully carried street art to the summits of contemporary art.

Torrick Ablack (aka Toxic)

Exhibition list:
1. L’Angelus, 208cm x 284cm
2. SELF, 130cm x 291cm
3. Blue and Red, 80cm x 160cm
4. 167, 80cm x 160cm
5. A.TDT, 80cm x 240cm
6.MILK, 80cm x 160cm
7. Carosell, 150cm x 210cm
8. Jtec, 150cm x 204cm
9. EG 2 Infinity, 150cm x 200cm
10. Take Notice, 180cm x 200cm
11. Dusthead, 180cm x 200cm