Manthia Diawara
Towards the New Baroque of Voices

Towards a New Baroque of Voices, 2021 (Island of Gorée)

Towards a New Baroque of Voices, 2021 (Island of Gorée)

Manthia Diawara
Towards the New Baroque of Voices

Born in Mali’s capital Bamako in 1953, Manthia Diawara spent his youth in Guinea until 1964, when his family was expelled from the country. Diawara went to study literature in France and subsequently moved to the United States, where he completed his doctorate at Indiana University in 1985.

Manthia Diawara has written extensively on the films and literature of the Black Diaspora. Using Jean-Paul Sartre’s Black Orpheus as his point of departure, he shares his thoughts on the Africa of today and takes us on a philosophical exploration of African and African American cultures. In addition to criticizing Africanism as practiced by the “white” centers of ethnic studies, his work analyzed the informal sector in African economies and sought to redefine the phenomenon of racism in an increasingly globalized world.

Diawara has directed and produced films and documentaries parallel to his academic practice. At Amant, the filmmaker is premiering a new multi-channel video installation in collaboration with the São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. Towards the New Baroque of Voices (2021) will create a parliament of thinkers and artists using Diawara’s films and archive of raw film footage spanning 1985 to the present. Anchored in the voice and thought of Édouard Glissant, the installation will place the Martinican poet and philosopher in imagined dialogues with artists and thinkers on Africa and the African Diaspora, bringing together the past, present, and future in a contemporaneous spatial relationship. The original footage—at times previously unseen—will include Wole Soyinka, Maryse Conde, Aminata Traoré, Sembène Ousmane, Fatou Diome, Danny Glover, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Jean Rouch, and David Hammons, et.al.

This project is a collaboration between Amant Foundation and the 34th São Paulo Biennial.

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About the artist
Manthia Diawara was born in Mali, West Africa. He is a distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Film at New York University. Manthia Diawara is a prolific writer and filmmaker. His essays on art, cinema and politics have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, LA Times, Libération, Mediapart and Artforum. He is the author of two acclaimed memoirs: In Search of Africa (Harvard University Press, 2000) and We Won’t Budge: An African in the World (Basic Books, 2008). Diawara’s notable films include: An Opera of the World (2017), Negritude: A Dialogue between Soyinka and Senghor (2016), Édouard Glissant, One World in Relation (2010).
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Hearing Voices
The phrase “hearing voices” has been associated with a state of mind where an individual hears words imperceptible to others. Drawing on the term’s flexibility, we like to think about “hearing voices” as a metaphor for a “listening” that generates real recognition, empathy, and understanding.
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