Using art for development – First multi-purpose contemporary art venue launches in Madagascar

The first multi-purpose contemporary art space in Madagascar was launched in the capital Antananarivo on Friday, with the mission of contributing to development in Madagascar through the arts, said a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC

The new space will showcase Malagasy art and culture, introducing school children to contemporary art for the first time, and give local talent a platform to raise the profile of their work around the world.

The “Hakanto Contemporary” gallery, a 300m2 dedicated art space housed in a striking avant-garde style building, will also showcase contemporary international art in Madagascar, for the enjoyment and education of local audiences, notably school pupils who will have exclusive access every Saturday morning.

Hakanto Contemporary was launched by the CEO of Groupe Filatex Hasnaine Yavarhoussen’s endowment fund “FDD HY”. Hakanto Contemporary’s artistic director is the well-known Malagasy artist Joël Andrianomearisoa who, last year, was Madagascar’s chosen artist for the country’s first ever pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale, sponsored by Yavarhoussen’s Groupe Filatex.

“I am passionate about the arts and their ability to inspire and educate. My newly created endowment fund ‘FDD HY’ will work to help new audiences, especially Malagasy schoolchildren, see the – thus far largely inaccessible – artistic talent Madagascar has to offer. In doing so, we hope to encourage the next generation of artists, open minds to new ideas and experiences, and provide examples of what can be achieved through hard work and determination,” said Hasnaine Yavarhoussen.

“Not only that, we want the world to see the talent Madagascar has to offer. Groupe Filatex sponsored the first ever Madagascar Pavilion at the Venice Biennale last year, which was an important first step to introduce Malagasy art to the world. I am happy to be working again with Joël Andrianomearisoa, Madagascar’s very gifted home-grown artist who is fast becoming a household name.”

Madagascar is known for the diversity of its culture and the imagination of its contemporary artists but, until now, has not had a multi-purpose artistic venue dedicated to exhibiting/supporting local talent and to educating the local population on international art and culture.

This is a rare example of a home-grown Malagasy company leading a project of this nature and scale. Typically, international businesses, often from France, Madagascar’s former colonial power, have invested the most in social development projects.

“This exhibition is an affirmation of the Malagasy contemporary forces in confrontation with the world. From here we reach all the dreams of the world,” said Joël Andrianomearisoa, Artistic Director for Hakanto Contemporary.

A group of people in a room

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Joël Andrianomearisoa at Hakanto Contemporary

Hakanto Contemporary’s opening exhibition, entitled ‘HERE WE REACH ALL THE DREAMS OF THE WORLD’, is designed to transcend the boundaries of art and influences.  Contributing artists include: :mentalKLINIK, the artist duo from Istanbul; Domi Sanji the Malagasy social designer; Judith Olivia Manantenasoa, the Malagasy dancer and choreographer; Kristel, Malagasy pop-rock band; Môssieur Njô, the Malagasy writer; and even Lalaina Ravelomanana, the accomplished Malagasy contemporary chef.

Groupe Filatex is a home-grown Malagasy company and a leading player in solar energy. The business is exporting its expertise in solar power and is planning to launch a number of new projects across Africa in 2020.

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