Interview: Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani
Luca Curci talks with Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – CONSCIOUSNESS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani was born in Togo and currently lives in Stuttgart (Germany). Graduated from the College of Arts and Crafts in Kpalimé (Togo), his artistic practice encompasses painting, drawing, mixed media, photography and video. His exhibitions have travelled internationally, including Venice Biennale, Havana Biennale, Asian Art Biennale Bangladesh, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Bortolami Gallery in New York City, CICA Museum in Gimpo (South Korea), ZKM Museum in Karlsruhe (Germany), Pera Museum in Istanbul (Turkey), Hazard Galley in Johannesburg (South Africa) among others. Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani has received a Certificate of Finalist at the Global Art Awards 2018 in Dubai, he won the Best Video Art Prize at the 17 th International Film Festival “Zoom-Zblizenia” 2014 in Jelenia Gora, Poland.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Abdoul-Ganiou Dermani – Art for me is like blood flowing through my veins. Art is a fantastic way to freely express myself.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
AGD – Originally from Togo and now based in Germany, I have seen my work developed over time. My artistic practice encompasses painting, drawing, mixed media, photography and video. Seeking to build a better world through art, I work on various social issues, African cultural identities, search for peace among people, and also human physical communication in the age of new technologies. I follow a strong approach against violence, racism and exclusion.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
AGD – My duty as an artist is to reflect on some issues related to society. The artist in my opinion, is a mirror of society. I am convinced that the artist can play an important role in providing solutions to our problems.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
AGD – I find my inspiration in everyday life, my surroundings and my togolese culture. Social, political and economic news inspire me to create work.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
AGD – The major challenge that I encounter, is to make my work understood by the public. Sometimes my work takes one or more years to be understood.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
AGD – I liked the concept of the festival especially the diversity of works presented in the exhibition. In today´s world of crisis, conflicts, climate change, migration crisis, the artists can play an important role in providing solutions to these issues. I am particularly inspired by the theme “Consciousness”.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
AGD – I presented a video work entitled “Afrika”. The work is about African continent, which has 54 countries, often portrayed as “Poor”. The video shows the map of Africa made of banknotes varying colors, which means economic potential of Africa, indeed the African continent is extremely rich in natural resources. It is rich in gold, diamonds, oil, uranium, coltan, but most of its people live in poverty. In this video, a voice saying in different languages that “Africa is rich”. The African continent is not poor, it is looted. We are all witnesses to the migration crisis in Europe and the tragedy of African migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. My work is connected to the festival´s theme “Consciousness”.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
AGD – I think that ITSLIQUID Platform is a good visibility for artists.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
AGD – The organization of your event was successful and well organized. Your team is doing a great job.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
AGD – Yes, I think so. It is great to present works by artists from different parts of the world, during the 58 th Venice Biennale 2019, which is a major event of contemporary art in the world. I am very happy and grateful for this opportunity. Thank you very much.