Artist Michel Kouakou travels to Antananarivo and Madagascar

Michel Kouakou will travel to Antananarivo and Diego Suarez, Madagascar from the September 14th-October 4th, 2015. He will be participating in the 11th edition of the i’Trôtra, International Contemporary Dance Festival, to perform his solo dance piece “Victims of Victims” and to do a creative and artistic exchange with Malagasy dancer/choreographers Gaby Saranouffi, Haja Saranouffi, and South African choreographer/dancer Moektsi Koena which is designed to stimulate opportunities for collaboration. This exchange is sponsored, in part, by The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium and MAPP International Productions , in order to foster creative artist exchanges between artists on the continent and artists in the United States.

As part of his travels, we request that Michel shares his experiences and reflections by posting some thoughts, images and video clips on the website. This way we ensure that he is able to impart his travels and the creative work he has focused on with as many artists and individuals interested in learning more about the compelling field of contemporary arts on the Continent.

Check back in with us here for Michel’s updates on his journey!


A Visit to Kinshasa for the Connexion Kin Festival


TACAC members Philip Bither McGuire (Walker Art Center) and Angela Mattox (Portland Institute of Contemporary Art) are travelling to Kinshasa, the Capital of Democratic Republic of the Congo, to experience the Connexion Kin Festival. Also joining Philip and Angela is dancer, educator, and cultural artist, Kenna Cottman.

Due to the generous support of the Ford Foundation, in the next two years, TACAC is opening up their process even further to include cohorts of U.S. artists, TACAC members, and other colleagues in the field to travel and experience together cultural encounters that further encourage curiosity and a deep desire for cross-cultural conversations that connect us globally and offer human to human connection.

Cathy Zimmerman of MAPP International, who was in Kinshasa 5 years ago, says “it was a deeply transforming experience… it is also a very intense and sometimes overwhelming experience.”

Stay tuned to hear more about the current teams’ journey in Kinshasa!

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TACAC Receives Grant from Ford Foundation

We are thrilled to announce that MAPP just received a grant award of $200,000 from the Ford Foundation!

These funds will be paid over 2 years and will be used to sustain and grow the efforts of The Africa Contemporary Art Consortium – the international partnership of arts organizations managed by MAPP International Productions. TACAC is committed to connecting contemporary performing artists from the African continent with artists, audiences, and presenters in the United States.

The consortium recently held a meeting in Los Angeles that coincided with a TACAC-supported international symposium produced by consortium member University of Southern California entitled Engaging Community: Pathways to Social Change Through Art. At the symposium, two leading contemporary artists from Africa, Panaibra Gabiel Canda (Mozambique) and Qudus Oneikeku (Nigeria), spoke about their lives and the roles of art and community in their homes. We look forward to expanding the consortium’s activities with the help of these funds.

Thank you to the Ford Foundation for their generous and timely contribution!

Territories in Transgression by Opiyo Okach / GaaraProjects

Territories in Transgression | Opiyo Okach | GaaraProjects

choreographic projects 2008 > 2016

What flag would it be if your body was a country | Body Evidence | The house that never walked | Border Border Express | Sound Memory

“Over the last five years while initiating the lab project ‘Performance Lab Nairobi‘ – a collaborative framework for contemporary creation process – I’ve also been developing the choreographic project ‘Territories in Transgression‘ consisting of the works ‘Body Evidence / What flag would it be if your body was a country / The house that never walked / Border Border Express / Sound Memory’.

This extended period of ‘invisibility’ from production & presentation logic has been rich with creative energy. Setting into motion a new series of works it brings to the stage a new crop of performers following a period of growing together. Halfway through this exciting & inspiring but also challenging period of doubt & questioning, of searching & re-thingking process & rebuilding frames of work, restarting again from scratch, it feels like an appropriate moment to share experience & process on these works that are in varied stages of development ranging from concept to ‘finished’. ‘Territories in Transgression’ reflects on the body & identity in todays states of global connectedness & hyper polarisations.”

You will find documentation of process including video, text, image & sound on each work at the ‘Territories in Transgression‘ website.


-Opiyo Okach

TACAC Members Visit Senegal!

Following their successful symposium and meeting in LA, Africa Consortium members, among them Cathy Zimmerman (MAPP International’s Executive Producer) and Philip Bither (Walker Art Center’s Senior Curator), visit San Luis in Senegal for the Duo-Solo Dance Festival. From June 3rd to 7th, 2015, Duo Solo Dance, an annual international festival of contemporary dance is held, offering a platform to discover choreographers and emerging artists from across the region: Senegal, but also Mali, Chad, Benin, Ivory Coast and Mauritania.

One of the purposes in attended the festival was to see work by the next generation of contemporary African dance artists.  Some of the performances included work by Rachelle Agboussou /Benin; Momar Ndiaye/Senegal/RDC; Pape-Fall/Mauritania; Alioune Diagne/ Senegal; and Kaisha Essiane/Gabon. Many of the choreographers on the program have been mentored by TACAC artists Faustin, Andreya Ouamba and Panaibra through their Pamoja Project.


“This mini festival represents a revised strategy of Danse l’Afrique Danse to dispense with a bi-annual  large festival /competition with artists curated mostly by Institut Francais and their European counterparts.  Taking advice from African artists, they have discontinued the competition and are supporting regional mini dance platforms organized by local artists and organizations on the ground. They will present the “culminating” festival in Ouagadougou in December 2016.

This series was organized by Association Diagn’ Art run by choreographer and resident of Saint Louis, Alioune Diagne and his wife and manager Maaike Cotterink.  What struck me as most remarkable was the buy-in from the local community.  All performances, including the work-in-progress performances, were attended by young people (ages 12-22), families including the very old and infants; and other local and European residents.  Showings took place for two hours in the afternoon from 4-6 during which emerging artists who were in residency and being mentored by Andreya and Salia, performed their work.  The evening performances of full length work (three or four each night) started at 8:30pm and usually ended between 11pm and midnight.  Afterwards, most artists gathered at the central meeting place which was a large boat/barge where some of the artists were housed and where all meals were served. Everyday there were meet- the-artist sessions where one selected artist would speak about their work, answer questions and debate the content.  These were all in French so I couldn’t participate in the conversation.” - Cathy Zimmerman


Cathy also met with multiple friends and colleagues to discuss future plans for TACAC. Among them were Virginie Dupray to plan for future projects and exchanges with Faustin/Studios Kabako and to discuss TACAC’s planning for 2016 activities in Africa. In addition, Cathy met with Germaine Acogny, Helmut and Andreya Ouamba to continue the discussion about a possible gathering at Ecole des Sables and Dakar.

Cathy and Philip also saw, dancer-choreographer, Nora Chipaurmire’s latest iteration of “Portrait of Myself as my Father,” which celebrates and critiques masculinity (its presence, presentation, and representation). Performed by Nora, herself, and Senegalese dancer Ibrahima Ndiaye (aka “Kaolack”). The work will be touring in the U.S. in 2016-17.


Photos taken by TACAC member Cathy Zimmerman


Photos of Nora’s work taken at Duo-Solo by Elise Fitte-Duval below


Stay tuned for more exciting updates on TACAC!!