Plate of pondu

CityPress - - News - ANNA TRAPIDO news@city­

The Art Africa Fair ( has come to Cape Town’s V&A Wa­ter­front. From Fe­bru­ary 24 un­til March 5 it will of­fer a unique, mul­ti­sen­sory ex­plo­ration of the con­ti­nent’s most ex­cit­ing con­tem­po­rary tal­ent.

Un­like the mu­seum-styled ex­hi­bi­tion ex­pe­ri­ences that we have come to ex­pect from such shows, the or­gan­is­ers have en­cour­aged artists to chal­lenge stereo­typ­i­cal un­der­stand­ings of the modern African artis­tic ex­is­tence.

The aim is to in­tro­duce and prop­a­gate new rep­re­sen­ta­tions about Africa, from Africa.

At the fore­front of the cre­ative process is the Franco/Cameroo­nian/Cha­dian de­signer, artist and cul­tural en­tre­pre­neur, polymath Pierre-Christophe Gam. Gam’s re­mark­able show, en­ti­tled Prophetic In­stal­la­tion, uses de­sign, food and phi­los­o­phy to ex­am­ine parallels in the lives of Je­sus of Nazareth and the late pres­i­dent of Burk­ina Faso, Thomas Sankara. Gam ex­plains that his work is framed as an ex­plo­ration of the “com­plex, coded nar­ra­tives that are rooted in the global African ex­pe­ri­ence”. As part of this am­bi­tious en­deav­our, Gam has joined forces with Ivo­rian chef Loic Dablé to cook up a de­li­ciously dif­fer­ent food art piece, en­ti­tled The Chop Bar. Lo­cated within the fair’s So­cial Hub, this epi­curean ex­pe­ri­ence of­fers west and cen­tral African culi­nary clas­sics such as pondu (Con­golese; pounded cas­sava-leaf stew) and fufu (mashed, starchy veg­eta­bles such as cas­sava and yams), served from a plat­form that is si­mul­ta­ne­ously rem­i­nis­cent of a modern fast food drive-thru and an an­cient re­li­gious al­tar. Gam says he in­tends his of­fer­ing to “act as a food counter” but also as a “per­for­mance space and a talk plat­form”.

He ex­plains that the in­spi­ra­tion for The Chop Bar was one of Sankara’s main tenets, that his coun­try­men should con­sume what they pro­duce. The artist ob­serves that “in the con­text of post-colo­nial Burk­ina Faso and Africa, this mes­sage goes be­yond the sim­ple con­sump­tion of pro­duced arte­facts and goods. The Chop Bar im­plies the need to take pride in cul­tural iden­tity.

“Con­sume what you pro­duce also comes to mean con­sume who you are; build from your point of lo­ca­tion in the world, based on your own spe­cific needs and ideals,” he says.

Gam’s Prophetic In­stal­la­tion en­ables din­ers and the artis­tic soul to in­ves­ti­gate African ways of be­ing. The drive-thru melds the sa­cred into the pro­fane. And past and present be­come one in a plate of pondu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.