Bili Bidjocka’s works are open invitations with a literary and philosophical dimension
‘I don’t have solo shows, I have individual projects’, he says. ‘I suppose this is why I don’t exhibit so much. I am dilettantish about my career as an artist. I am practicing an aesthetic of desperation, to make it sound chic. I have bad habits, I disappear, I travel, I fall in love and I fill my bag with love.” (Bidjocka in Frieze magazine)
Bili Bidjocka, born in 1962 in Douala, Cameroon, is a visual artist based in Paris. He considers art as an enigma. His confrontation with market laws, history and his own African identity forced him to see with new eyes the notion of art. After painting, he turned to installation, theatrical staging, sound and digital creations. His pieces function as puzzles, riddles through which he continues the essential examination of the meaning and purpose of creation. Bidjocka is part of Documenta14, in Athens and Kassel, with The Chess Society, a digital project and two sites specific installations.
Bili Bidjocka – Studio 20 July – 28 July 2018 at Design Hub Kampala
Bili selected the following Apprentices to participate in his Studio, which was co-facilitated with Simon Njami:
Alexandra Kuznetsova (Rusia)
Alexandra Kuznetsova is a Russian artist who was born and lives in Moscow. Was graduated from graphic department in the Moscow State Pedagogical University and later completed the course Visual communications in British Higher School of art and design. Alexandra works in the field of the graphic design.
She is a member of the Art director’s club Russia (ADCR). She also holds the workshops in theory and practice of design. Since 2002 Alexandra has been participating in collective exhibitions in MMOMA, NCCA and others.
Nicole Remus (Uganda)
Nicole Remus is a self-taught artist in Jinja, Uganda. She creates figurative abstracts using watercolor on various media such as stone and reclaimed wood. Nicole’s works have been featured at The Creative Tribe’s Popup Gallery and been featured on 1340ART Magazine’s Instagram blog.
Nicole has worked with Stonefest, Milege International Music Festival and The Creative Tribe on various stage/venue design installations. She has also volunteered for the Afri-Cans Street Art Festival 2017, where she worked closely with acclaimed street artists Bankslave and Sparrow.
Her professional experience includes working with Repainting Uganda teaching children art as well as being a member of The Urban Art Experiment team which has featured famous artists such as Falko. Nicole Remus is currently enrolled in an architecture program at Makerere University, Kampala.
Rafiy Okefolahan (France / Benin)
Born in 1979 in Porto-Novo, Benin, Rafiy was first trained with Beninese artists, then he trained at the National School of Arts in Dakar. A multidisciplinary and almost self-taught artist, he creates paintings, drawings and installations. Color is for him a means of expression. His works are rooted in reality and often in connection with current events. His work also feeds on his interventions in schools.
Partition of forms and colors, his paintings are peopled with faces, symbols and signs expressing “the noise of the world”. He tries through them to fight forgetfulness and heal wounds. As a committed artist, he tackles through the art of socio-economic and identity issues such as the issue of population displacement, inequality and corruption. His works mix various materials such as coffee grounds or rust, borrowed from the voodoo tradition, raw pigments, Indian ink and oil paint. The power of the color and the relief of the canvases create an intense aesthetic to give a central place to the human.
Specializing in the dialogue of disciplines, he has also collaborated with contemporary dancers in various events such as the Dakar Biennale, the Voodoo Festival in Strasbourg and the Cité Internationale des Arts. In recent years his work is moving towards installation, in order to work color in 3 dimensions. This reflection has lived for many years, he has realized installations at the Center (Benin) in 2015 and Dakar, during the Off of the Biennale in 2008. Installation or painting, his artistic research remains that of a humanist colorist .
Gloria Nalwoga (Uganda)
Gloria Nalwoga is the founder of Traghie World of Crafts, which she started July 2013. Taking inspiration from the Zulu Swaziland and Masai who have long practiced the art of beadwork as part of their cultural heritage, she took bead work to new levels, combining a traditional skill with contemporary designs to create jewelry.
While not ethnic, the basis of her collection marries African traditions with contemporary fashion and does not adhere to the strict colour codes of traditional beads but rather draw on the old and new to create unique pieces.
Her jewelry uses almost every conceivable colour, bead type and shape including bead, kitenge, wood, shell, metal and even recycled paper which include African earrings and African necklaces and bracelets which are also
termed as pieces were we have statement pieces, afro beaded pieces, net beaded pieces etc.