"Thinking, talking, telling stories about and playing with Africa"

Carte blanche to Alain Mabanckou


Saturday 24 June 2017, 3 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Sunday 25 June 2017, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.


Auditorium and other spaces

Event organised as part of the "Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier" exhibition


As part of the Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier exhibition, Alain Mabanckou has put together an original programme of African poetry and literature to explore the diversity of verbal expression. Encounters, lectures, stories and poetry slams... two afternoons that will bring together emerging and established African stars and celebrities.


With Abd al Malik, Kidi Bebey, Caroline Blache, Sophie Bourel, Capitaine Alexandre, Gabriel Kinsa, Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Dany Laferrière, Alain Mabanckou, Lucy Mushita, Criss Niangouna, Modeste Nzapassara, Soro Solo… 



"For a long time, Africa was seen as a place of darkness weighed down by the most offensive prejudice, while the profusion of its imagination was completely underestimated. Are we to content ourselves with sending out the message loud and clear that Africa is the "cradle of humanity", to take a well-known standard image? It is far more important to demonstrate and illustrate that, and it is in this spirit that I prepared and taught a course designed to introduce Collège de France students to African literary creativity. This work is ongoing, and I would like to thank the Fondation Louis Vuitton for giving me a new opportunity to shine a light on a number of facets of creativity from the dark continent. We'll be looking at how women at the crossroads of origins write and perceive the presence of Africa in Europe, cross-cultural issues, Pan Africanism and the worldwide extension of African diasporas, with Lucy Mushita, Nadia Yala Kisukidi and Kidi Bebey. Transatlantic perceptions with the screening of an extract from Caroline Blache's web documentary Noire Amérique. Discussion with Soro Solo in a sort of 'African Two-Hander': we will then talk about our memories and the vitality of the music, art and writing of Africa. Talk about Africa with storyteller Gabriel Kinsa to hear the strength of its message, its myths and its legends. Recite Africa in poetry with actors Sophie Bourel and Criss Niangouna, or experience it through the rap of Abd al Malik and Capitaine Alexandre. Perform it on stage with Modeste Nzapassara to experience another Africa; the Africa that is born before our eyes with all its contradictions, its irrepressible laughter and its strength through hope. Africa is also a story of encounters, like the one I have maintained over a relationship of several decades with Academician Dany Laferrière, which has allowed me to understand the mobility and reach of this continent. The bottom line is that together with my guests, my intention is to send out the following message: It is time to reconsider Africa, not only through the lens of its meandering history, but also in the maze of the present..."


Alain Mabanckou





Saturday 24 June 2017


3.00 p.m: Telling Africa’s stories - “Kongo stories” by Gabriel Kinsa

Readings of stories from the Congolese cosmogony.

In the exhibition The Insiders, Galleries 1-2, pond level

Talk and book signing with Gabriel Kinsa at the exit to the exhibition The Insiders, pond level


4.00 p.m: Poetic voices of black Africa (1) - "Tchicaya Utam'si & Bernard B. Dadié: There and back (brothers in rhyme)”

Poetry performance by Criss Niangouna, inspired by texts by two great African poets.

Outside in front of the waterfall, pond level.


5.00 p.m: Women’s voices and African diasporas - Inaugural talk chaired by Alain Mabanckou         

With: Kidi Bebey, Caroline Blache, Nadia Yala Kisukidi and Lucy Mushita


Talk and book signing with Kidi Bebey, Alain Mabanckou and Lucy Mushita in Gallery 3, pond level (access via the auditorium).


6.45p.m: Black Bazar - Followed by a book signing with Abd Al Malik.

Performance by Modeste Nzapassara based on the eponymous novel by Alain Mabanckou.



8.00 p.m: Poetry slamming the world (1) - A new piece devised and performed by Abd Al Malik


Talk and book signing with Abd Al Malik and Alain Mabanckou in Gallery 3, pond level (access via the auditorium).



Sunday 25 June 2017


3.00 p.m: Poetic voices of black Africa (2) - Poetry reading by Sophie Bourel.

3pm: session 1 – poems by Léopold Congo Mbemba, Birago Diop and Léopold Sédar Senghor.

3.30pm: session 2 – poems by Alain Mabanckou and Nimrod.

West Terrace


4.00 p.m: African duo - Informal conversation between Soro Solo and Alain Mabanckou



5.00 p.m: Poetry slamming the world (2) - “Earth, sea, love, fire"

Baroque slam opera by Capitaine Alexandre

Talk and book signing with Capitaine Alexandre in Gallery 3, pond level (access via the auditorium).



6.00 p.m: Shock duo: African-Caribbean friendship and complicity

Conversation between Dany Laferrière and Alain Mabanckou


Talk and book signing with Dany Laferrière and Alain Mabanckou in Gallery 3, pond level (access via the auditorium).


Alain Mabanckou


Novelist, poet and essayist Alain Mabanckou was born at Pointe-Noire (Congo-Brazzaville) in 1966. He is the author of some twenty novels translated into fifteen different languages. He first came to public attention with Verre cassé (Seuil, 2005) and received the Renaudot Prize for Mémoires de porc-épic (Seuil, 2006). He was appointed as visiting professor and occupant of the Chair of Artistic Creation at the Collège de France (2015-2016), and lives in the USA, where he is a full professor in French literature at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Most recently, he has just published the essay Le monde est mon langage (Grasset, 2017) and the collection Penser et écrire l’Afrique aujourd’hui (Seuil, 2017) for which he was curator.


Alain Mabanckou at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2017 

© Fondation Louis Vuitton / Gaël Cornier