Hosties noires : Roméo Mivekannin

2 April - 5 June 2021 DAKAR

Behind the enigmatic Hosties noires, a title borrowed from the eponymous collection of poems written by Léopold Sédar Senghor in 1948, Roméo Mivekannin’s new solo exhibition unfolds like a choral song of strange and fascinating voices.


During the First World War, black soldiers of the French colonial force in Africa, known as «Tirailleurs sénégalais», were mobilised for the war effort. In reality, this contingent was composed of soldiers from Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and French Equatorial Africa, Chad and Gabon. Some of these soldiers, particularly those stationed in North Africa, were allowed to settle with their wives and children, not without causing some tension among their French comrades, who were stationed far from their families.


It is in this context that the images inspiring Romeo Mivekannin for the show appeared. The artist delves into the archetypes of colonial imagery and is particularly interested in the postcards that French soldiers used to send to their families in metropolitan France and which depicted the women of the riflemen in the tasks of daily life. Between fantasies of exoticism, colonial ideology and fascination for the Other, these images bear witness to the ambiguous relationship between the metropolis and its colonies.