RAVY Special Edition Context
June 30 - July 3, 2021
The COVID-19 health crisis, which has kept the world at low frequency and has shaken the planisphere since March 2020, has had disastrous consequences on the cultural economy and on the holding of artistic events on a global scale.
Governments in certain countries, such as Canada, moved by the desire to support arts professionals deprived of their means of production and subsistence, created emergency funds and new digital funding opportunities, aware of the impacts such a crisis could have on the incomes and mental health of independent creators.
Elsewhere, such devices have not been thought of. The activities simply stopped and several production and distribution opportunities were revoked. This is the case in Cameroon where COVID-19 period left many scars on the world of art and culture. No favorable arrangements to support this sector have been made and activities related to this sector have stopped, putting hundreds of local artists out of work.
It was during this same troubled period that the 7th edition of the RAVY biennial (Rencontres d 'arts visuels de Yaoundé) with the theme Movements, was supposed to take place from July 25 to 28, 2020- but could not be held. Les Palettes du Kamer, the organizing association, could only endure the horrors of the health situation and submit to the measures decreed by the Cameroonian State in its attempt to respond to a pandemic that came to us from elsewhere.
However, the resilience of local artists in the face of this crisis led us to believe that we absolutely must not give up and must strive to show that there is light even when everything seems dark. Helped by a Canadian organization - M:ST Performative Art - which has been following us and observing our commitment for some time, we have come to imagine a format for our event which, on this occasion, will question new social dynamics, forms of proximity, movements (of whatever nature they may be), in relation to space and geographies where the crisis has turned established societal perceptions upside down.
The special edition of RAVY reminds us that art can become a source of solution-making and create alternative lifelines and survival mechanisms for the human species in the face of crises. It expresses the resiliency of artists who are constantly in the grip of adversity as well as the existential questions that run through their practices. Artists who, through their art, are always standing up- resistant through their plural artistic pathways.
- Landry Mbassi, Artistic Director
M:ST 10 connects eight local and global arts organizations to host a series of month long residency exchanges leading up to the Biennial. Gathering itself around specific histories, environments, identities, and bodies, the 10th Biennial will witness and consider “the local” in the context of entangled and interdependent global relations. Taking part are new friends and co-presenters, RAVY Bienniale (Yaoundé, Cameroun), Asiatopia (Bangkok, Thailand), Kamias Special Projects (Quezon City, Philippines), and Catalyst Arts (Belfast, N. Ireland), and old friends Stride Gallery, The New Gallery, TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary, and The Bows- all of whom have worked with us to curate an outstanding cohort of M:ST 10 Biennial artists! All eight artists will be sent on a fully funded Residency and provided with unique exploration and presentation opportunities based on their Residency location.
Visit this page for residency updates, photos, and more.
Landry Mbassi is a visual artist, curator, and art critic based in Yaoundé, Cameroun. As an artist, his practice focuses on photography, video, installation, and new media. Since 2008, he has been one of the curators of RAVY (Rencontres d’arts visuels de Yaoundé), Yaounde’s visual art biennial. He recently became Artistic Director, after inheriting the position from Olivier Fokoua, who now lives in Canada.
Landry initiated the YaPhoto project with Christine Eyene and is a founding member of Collectif Kamera, a collective of young Camerounian photographers that began in 2011 to promote photography as an art form in its own right. Through his first collective ATAC (Autres territoires de l’art contemporain), created in 2010, he developed an engaging vision towards space(s) of expression, creation, and dissemination of contemporary art in Yaounde. Mbassi has also organized several exhibitions by emerging visual artists at the French Institute (Institut Français du Cameroun – Yaoundé) including: Rostand Pokam: L’esthétique de la Couleur (2012); Yvon Ngassam: Le temps du voyage (2013); and Antanasius Vershiyi: Me(n)tal symphony (2014).
In May 2017, he curated the inaugural exhibition of the renovated Galerie d’Art Contemporain in Yaounde. In 2018, he curated the first edition of Douala art fair and later, was appointed artistic director of Ruinart Festiv’art, a new artistic event that aims bringing new audiences and gazes to Cameroon. He was recently invited to Brazzaville, Congo to curate the 8th edition of RIAC (Rencontre internationale de l’art contemporain). Landry MBASSI is one of the most engaged and demanded curator on the Camerounian art scene. He lives between Yaounde and Kribi (Cameroon).