Fatima Bintou Rassoul SY

The Specter of Ancestors Becoming

18 November 2022


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In this talk, Fatima Bintou Rassoul SY reflects on the exhibition The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, a four-channel video installation of that name, by artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen, exhibited with family photographic archives of the Vietnamese-Senegalese community at RAW Material Company on the occasion of the 14th edition of the Dakar Biennale.
For the past four years, along with artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen and the majority of the Vietnamese-Senegalese community, RAW Material Company has been committed to bringing out of the shadows and shedding light on the stories of this community’s strong female figures – mothers and pillars of families that are themselves an integral part of the Senegalese social fabric. The Vietnamese-Senegalese community was built from the French colonial enterprise. In its evolution, love, courage, patience, solidarity, resistance as well as violence have been consequent parts of its formation. In The Specter of Ancestors Becoming, Tuan Andrew Nguyen goes beyond this history and works in the space of memory, proposing not only an answer to the question “What might memory look like?”  but more importantly “What might the memory of what has never been seen look like?”. Nguyen deals with the spaces of mourning and loss engendered by the silence of memory, and along with his collaborators in the film, makes the choice to remember.

Fatima Bintou Rassoul SY is a curator and cultural mediator graduated from Paris 1 University (Panthéon-Sorbonne), in Exhibition Sciences and Techniques. After many years in the field of hospitality and cultural mediation in institutions such as the Musée du Louvre, the Musée Rodin, the Grand Palais and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, she returned to Dakar in 2018 and accompanied the opening of the Museum of Black Civilizations.

She is now curator of programmes at RAW Material Company, where she recently co-curated, ‘Le Spectre des Ancêtres en Devenir’ by Tuan Andrew Nguyen (2022), ‘L’École des Mutants’ by Hamedine Kane & Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro (2021), ‘D’une rive à l’autre’ by Ibrahima Thiam (2020) and co-directed the following discursive programmes, Convocations, “Sex Ecologies” – Kunsthall Trondheim x The Seed Box, (2021); “Breathing Out of School, RAW Academy” – Bivouac #2, Bétonsalon, (2020).
Her writing has been published in books and journals such as, Oh! AfricArt: 52 Contemporary African Artists, 2021; Something We Africans Got #10; SWAG high profiles #2 & #3.nHer research focuses on the cultural policies of Senegal from the 1960s to nowadays, along with the market dynamics that act on the contemporary art scene of the continent and its diaspora.