Pascale Obolo talked with Anne Wetsi Mpoma and Nicole Fernandez Ferrer and answer questions from the audience during a “Meet the Masters,” part of the European project Wom@rts (Europe Creative).
Pascale Obolo was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon. She studied directing at the French cinema conservatory and then received a master’s degree at the University of Paris 8, in experimental cinema. Her early films chronicle the beginning of the Hip Hop movement and the Paris graffiti scene. Feminist filmmaker, she also focused on the place of women in artistic circles. Her films have been shown and have won prizes in many festivals. She draws her film director’s artistic inspiration from fine as well as digital arts, deliberately turning her back on traditional narrative codes, those visual or cliché codes coming from Africa and African culture. As an activist her work speaks to memory, identity, exile, and invisibility. In the construction of her filmed objects, she tries out various narrative forms which intertwine the real and fiction. Fascinated by the visual arts, Pascale Obolo produces and creates ‘filmed objects” because she refuses to be catalogued in one cinematographic genre. “My narratives question memory and its repercussions in our contemporary societies: thinking about what the legacy of memories becomes so as to better grasp our society and the future.”
Her work has been shown at the Montparnasse museum, the Quai Branly Museum, the Pompidou Center, the Manège of Dakar, at MacVal, the Kadist foundation, the David Roberts foundation, and more.
Her film, Calypso Rose: the Lioness of the Jungle, won the silver Yennega Fespaco prize in March 2013 in the documentary section.
Her latest works challenge history through the construction of historic accounts in a decolonialist approach using visual and cultural representations of economic and political history, photography, video and performance. Her works are based on an interdisciplinary research process around dance, literature, film and the social sciences.
“My research addresses the various practices of transmission of knowledge and decolonial pedagogies in art and activist circles.”
Pascale Obolo created the Afrikadaa Lab structure: a contemporary art journal, an artistic and intellectual laboratory devoted to fostering a creative dynamic in Paris and in African and diasporic territories. Afrikadaa is also a media tool for a better visibility of art works that provides artists with a curatorial process along with a dynamic space open to the experiences that reinforce the place of artists from the diaspora on the cultural agenda. The journal Afrikadaa offers ways of theorizing new institutional and non-institutional art practices.
Obolo also directs the independent African Art Book Fair (AABF). Editorial practices support qualitative and unique publications. As a teacher, she initiates workshops of horizons at the Grenoble art center. She has just joined the scientific council of the Beaux Arts school of Réunion.
Anne Wetsi Mpoma is an art historian, decolonialist thinker, curator and author.
She offers solutions to deconstruct and reinvent the arts and imaginaries for a more inclusive society. She is the founder and director of the Wetsi Art Gallery (2019, asbl Nouveau Système Artistique), an independent space with bridges to various audiences by showing the work of artists marginalized because of “race,” gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin and/or “handicap.”
In her essay Being Imposed Upon, 2020, Mpoma analyses the power structure that links marginal Belgian, Afro-descendant women artists and those who hold the power on the contemporary art scene. The exhibition Through Her (True Her) with Pascale Obolo speaks to the same subject through the dialogue between the works of these marginalized artists and those already part of the Ghent Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (SMAK). She participates in the work of the experts appointed to draft an initial report for the parliamentarians of the House of representatives on the commission analyzing the Belgian colonial past and its present-day consequences.
To watch the video stream follow the link: https://vimeo.com/517073580