Kamissa Ma Koïta
Reenactment. Nous serons universel.le.s
Performers, from left to right: Magatte Cheikhovitch Wade, Anaïs Joly-Damphousse, Dimani Mathieu Cassendo, MarilouCraft, Kamissa Ma Koïta, Shaïna, Po B. K. Lomami, Val Bah, Miriame Gabrielle Archin, members of the public
Photo: Doriane Biot
Reenactment, Nous serons universel.le.s reenvisions a famous portrait of the Automatistes, taken by Maurice Perron during the group’s second exhibition in 1947. Ma Koïta substitutes the well-known figures of the original photograph, such as Paul-Émile Borduas, Claude and Pierre Gauvreau, Madeleine Arbour and Marcel Barbeau, with members of Montréal’s black community. He thus reveals an ambivalence regarding this group’s legacy, and more largely that of Québec’s modernity which it represents. If the ideals of artistic freedom, innovation and political engagement brought forth by the group—most notably through Refus global—are a source of energy and inspiration, their centralized position in Québec’s art history relies however on repeatedly shrouding the work of racialized artists. Here, Ma Koïta surrounds himself with members of his community to reclaim the space that is rightfully theirs.