Parisian Africa: The artistic intersections of the Métropole

Guest Post by Lara N. Dotson-Renta
Paris has always been renowned for its culture and support of the arts. Yet, as France has grown into an ever more pluralistic society, the traditional image of what constitutes art in France must evolve as well. Younger generations of artists, many immigrants of African origin, are now reconfiguring the arts in France on their own terms. Their artistic production embodies experiences of travel and adaptation via the integration of the cultures and traditions of their respective countries of origins along with aesthetic and quotidian experiences that reflect daily life in France. Particularly in the realm of music and film, the blending of African tradition with French popular culture and youth genres has fostered a vibrant arts scene that, while initially seen as of/from the margins of both society and the arts scene, is actually renewing ‘mainstream’ culture in dramatic ways. You just have to scan the pop music featured in Hinda Talhaoui’s Paris is a Continent Series on AIAC. One proponent of this new artistic vision is Alain Kasanda (Apkass), a Franco-Congolese musician, spoken word artist, and founder of the O’rigines Foundation and the Ghett’Out Francophone Film Festival. I interviewed Alain at the Trinity College International Hip-Hop Festival held in Hartford, CT, in March earlier this year. Continue reading