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On the road to Ouagadougou

lundi 4 juillet 2011 , par auteur Sylvain Marchand (traduction Mathilde Vautier)

trad article traduction [English] [français]

Les Trois Points de Suspension, one of ZEPA shared companies, presented Nie Qui Tamola at the 22nd edition of Viva Cité in Sotteville-lès-Rouen. A documentary-show that plunges the audience into the world of avant-garde and crazy wise man Daniel Meynard, expert in Africa, Afro-French relationships and pre-conceived ideas, who died in Bamako last year.

Sunday 26th June – 17h30. Under the sweltering heat, about a hundred people wait patiently in the shade to see Nie Qui Tamola(’the travelling eye’), the Trois points de suspension’s latest show.

Intrigued by what could be happening behind this wooden fence, occupying a large surface of about 600m², we walk through the gate of Nie Qui Tamola, with afro-caribeen tunes « Viva Ouagadougou » in the background, a song that French singer Alain Barrière created at the end of the 60s, and that regularly comes back in the show.

On the same tunes, a little while after, the company triggers a human ’conga line’. The tone is set, this exhibition in honor of Daniel Meynard is to consider like a party - like a community street party- when you enjoy yourself and take time to have a chat. The show, lasting officially 2h30, takes us to another time lap : the African time, an extensible space-time ratio, uncertain, changing according to whatever happens, and which our Western countries have no grip on.

Each member of the company, dressed in white, wearing glasses and moustache, invites the audience to the African bar. Some choose to sit on deck chairs, others are intrigued by the audio and video installations. A few lucky ones will get to attend a "powerpoint presentation" on the "Rainbow" project, certainly one of Daniel Meynard’s most ambitious projects in his career.

The installation is packed with unusual IT objects. By arousing our curiosity, the company, let us discover with excitement their crazy and silly objects, confirming their reputation of masters of quirky humour.

But the artistic proposition is dense and we won’t be able to see it all. So we choose to follow one group or another, walking through the fence-made corridors in search of ’Daniel Meynard’s mental space’.

Everything seems to be here for a reason. The company has worked on this show for the last two and a half years, and had a few trips to Western Africa, meeting people, experiencing life there.

The second part of the show, called the ’documentary show’, consists of a one-man performance from artist Jérôme Coulloud, who portrays by himself all the major personalities of the 5th French Republic who played a part in the Franco-African relationships. Brilliant performance from this comedian, who switches from sounds effects to imitations or songs. Performed in 3 acts, this performance is punctuated by impromptus led by other members of the company.

Both exhibition and one-man documentary show, Nie Qui Tamola invites the audience to plunge into the relationships France has had with its African colonies with humour. This diary, told almost like a travel book, mixes mecanical installations, collages, videos, mini-conferences, musical interventions…

Impertinently, derisively, but relying on historical and tragical facts, Nie Qui Tamola also depicts the portrait of a desillusioned, disenchanted generation, however aware of the issues around identity.

Some might stay a bit more at the end of the show, to have a last drink or have a chat with the company, with Alain Barrière’s song at the background :

On the road to Ouagadougou
We will come back I hope
Africans, dear brothers, to sing Ouagadougou

Photos : Sylvain Marchand

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