'Adji' by Meschac Gaba
Born in Benin and resident in Amsterdam, Meschac Gaba launched his travelling Museum of Contemporary African Art in 1997. Intended to offer an alternative to the colonial context in which Western museums display African art, the project involves the installation of the different "rooms" of the museum at various art spaces. Among the departments installed so far are a playroom (Stedelijk Museum Actuele Kunst, Ghent), a museum shop (Traffique, Ghent), a restaurant (W139, Amsterdam), an audio room ('Continental Shift', Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht) and a library (Witte de With, Rotterdam).
Now Gaba has designed a "Salon" for his first Parisian show at the newly opened Palais de Tokyo. Here, visitors are invited to relax in a convivial atmosphere and read a book or play a game. Extending his virtual museum into cyberspace, the artist has created an online version of the traditional African game Awélé, which can just as easily be played from home. In Gaba's 'Adji', traditional tokens are replaced by coins, on a board with two rows of six holes each. Playing against the artist/computer, the goal is to seize as many of the opponent's coins as possible, acoording to various rules of placement. With a tongue-in-cheek nod to the value of African currencies, the winner is awarded 10 000 francs - "to print yourself".
See also Website of the Month for a Virtual Museum of Contemporary Art as conceived by the Africaserver Foundation. The first online exhibition is by another African in Amsterdam - Capetonian Mustafa Maluka.