Koyo Kouoh, talks Raw Material, Limerick and Still (the) Barbarians
Friday 11th March, 2016
Excerpt from Interview by Rory Prout in Visual Artists News Sheet, March - April 2016
Rory Prout: To give some background, and an idea of what is important to you as a cultural producer, perhaps you could tell me a little about Raw Material?
Koyo Kouoh: I started Raw Material Company in 2008 because, as an exhibition maker, curator and researcher, I realised that I didn't have access to a space in which I could discuss art as a thinking system in its own right, without feeling any need to borrow from other disciplines. Context very much defines everything we do and Raw Material is a space that responds specifically to its Dakar context.
As an exhibition maker I am interested in the critical aspects of artistic practice and in how art intervenes in society, in politics specifically, providing another language for discourse.
RP: Large-scale symposiums, exhibitions and biennials are becoming ever more concerned with globalised perspectives. This seems apparent too in EVA, a biennial that originated in a decidedly local context in Limerick. What has been your experience of resolving the global with the local? Is it a concern?
KK: I believe that the local exists within the global and that the global has an influence on the local. It's really a matter of interdependency, not either/or. It's a question of how you see yourself, regardless of your location. We are constantly connected to the world. There is no isolation as such. Even the remotest places are connected to the rest of the world.
RP: There is a sense from the press releases that ongoing conversation and engagement will be a feature of 'Still (the) Barbarians'. Is this important to you and what has been your strategy in opening a discursive platform around the biennial?
KK: We are working to have a colloquium at the end of the event in early July. It will look at the influence and the importance of artists and cultural advocates in revolutions. I'm especially interested in the role of poetry, looking at how poetry performs revolutions, or how revolution is performed through language.
Pick up your copy of the Visual Artists News Sheet in various galleries, institutions and locations around Ireland.
More information on Raw Material