Culture

France’s network of embassies and Institut Français offices in Africa work to promote the continent’s emerging art scene by launching projects that focus on these young artists.

Culture must also enable us to change the vision we have of one another, and with this goal in mind I have decided to launch an African Cultural Season in France in 2020 (…) [which] must provide an opportunity for us to raise awareness in France, among young French people, of the creativity of the young African generations in terms of fashion, music, cinema and design.
President Emmanuel Macron,
Ouagadougou Speech, 27 November 2017

The Ouagadougou speech also highlighted the French language as a vehicle for culture and openness.

It is this desire to say that we have great opportunities for a wealth of shared culture, creativity and imagination, but also economic opportunities, because we have a linguistic space of unequalled power.

For this reason, projects promoting French and multilingualism are seen as opportunities for the African continent.

Senegal: the Villa Saint-Louis-Ndar

This venue, which was announced by the French President on 3 February 2018, will open in spring 2019, and will be the first villa dedicated to research and creation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its aim is to give artists from Senegal and the rest of Africa the opportunity to dialogue with their counterparts in France and Europe. The villa will host up to three residents at a time, for stays of between one and three months. Residents will be selected for their ability to interact with local artists and populations. The building’s architecture, designed by Gilles Perraudin, gives pride of place to natural and local materials while taking into account the practical needs of a contemporary residence.

Sudan: support for emerging young artists

The French Embassy in Khartoum and the Institut Français are promoting Sudanese culture by supporting the country’s young artists and creators in all fields. In 2018, nine projects were established in artistic fields that have yet to be developed or structured, such as film and design. The programme also includes artist residencies in Sudan and France, as well as collaborations between Sudanese and French artists.

In 2018, two exhibitions in particular received support: Héroïnes du Soudan (Heroines of Sudan), which focused on violence against women, and Saison de la misère (Season of Misery), which dealt with the issue of illegal immigration.

Chad: support for creativity supporting gender equality

Two local artists produced Portraits de femmes tchadiennes (Portraits of Chadian Women), a publication featuring more than one hundred photographs and statements by women from all socio-professional backgrounds and regions in Chad. This project was initially presented in December 2017 and has been available for free download on the embassy’s website since 2018. It seeks to raise awareness by promoting women in Chad and their professional and private development prospects, models and opportunities in the country. For more information, visit the website of the French Embassy in Chad

South Africa: support for the emerging theatre scene and cultural dialogue

Since June 2018, the Kwasha theatre company has toured the country, performing The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry more than 30 times. The goal of this project is to support aspiring actors and organize acting classes for young people at the Windybrow Arts Centre. The play was produced following a memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 by the Market Theatre Foundation and the Institut Français of South Africa.

Togo : Support for Female contemporary artists

As part of the French Institute of Togo’s "Visas for Creation" program, two Togolese artists – singer of jazz and gospel Adjo’a Sika and Afro-rock artist Lady Apoc – were awarded three months of artistic residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. During their residence, they established ties with French professionals and in the spirit of sharing that embodies the season Africa2020, introduced their works, which were already famous in Africa, to the French public.

Updated: 30.11.18