Foreword to Guns for Banta
by Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc
Foreword to Guns for Banta introduces the public to the work of Sarah Maldoror, a pioneering yet little known French filmmaker of Guadeloupean origin, whose films are closely linked to the liberation struggles in lusophone Africa.
Using Maldoror's films as a catalyst for his research, Abonnenc aims to question how to approach images of past revolutionary moments and to reactivate the spirit and unifying character of the liberation movements.
Consisting of a diaporama and a selection of archival documents, the exhibition at Gasworks focuses on the lost film Guns for Banta (1970), the first feature-length film by Sarah Maldoror. Shot in Guinea-Bissau, Guns for Banta follows the life and untimely death of Awa, a countrywoman involved in the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Parallel to this semi-fictional narrative, the film offers rarely seen images of the involvement of women and children in the struggle.
Financed by the Algerian army, which hoped to turn it into a propaganda tool, the film was confiscated from Maldoror because of her demands for full control over the editing. To this day the reels have not been identified or returned. What remains of Guns for Banta are a collection of photographs taken by war photographers during the filming and fragmented memories of Sarah Maldoror, collected by Abonnenc over two years of conversations with the filmmaker.
As a retrospective foreword to an absent film, the diaporama tells the story of the artist's search for Guns for Banta and explores the figures of the militant, the filmmaker and the photographer, examining their respective functions in the making of a revolution. Speaking from these various positions, the voice-over highlights the relationship between revolution and cultural production in the context of the decolonisation of Africa. The juxtaposition of archival images, texts and the artist's reading of the material propose a reflection on the afterlife of the militant image.
Foreword to Guns for Banta opens at Gasworks on the 25th February and is the first UK solo show by Paris-based Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc. The exhibition follows Abonnenc's two-month residency at Gasworks and production at Picture This. The exhibition will tour to Picture This later in the year.
|Medium||diaporama - 2 screen programmed slide projection with soundtrack|
Foreword to Guns for Banta is the result of a co-production between Gasworks, Picture This and Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea and developed through a Gasworks residency supported by FLUXUS.
'Foreword to Guns for Banta' at Gasworks
25 February 2011 – 17 April 2011
'Foreword to Guns for Banta' will be accompanied by a series of events during the exhibition at Gasworks, including a screening of Sarah Maldoror's films at Ciné Lumière, followed by a Q&A with the film director, and an afternoon of discussions with the artist and invited speakers.
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc is an artist, curator and researcher interested in exploring the history of the colonial encounter and its effects on memory
Ages: approx. 25, 40 & 70
Length: approx. 10 minutes per speaker.
Foreword to Guns for Banta is the first UK solo show by Paris-based artist Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc. The exhibition follows Abonnenc's two-month