Minia Biabiany is an artist and an independent researcher in education, living and working in her native city of Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.
Delicately balanced between the poetic and the political, between aesthetics and ethics, Minia Biabiany’s work articulates the personal memory of a woman from Basse-Terre with the complex story of a Guadeloupe under the marked influence of its colonial past and resulting present-day assimilation. The artist acts as ecobiographer; her visual research exploring a biography of the environmental self (1) that contemplates the relational dimension of our identity, shaped by the texture of places and the living beings that make them—the plants and the animals, and also the different consistencies of their environmental settings. In short, Minia Biabiany’s interest lies in identities that include the Other within themselves.
Installation and video are her preferred means of translating this world of perceptible qualities and lived subjectivities, two mediums that allow the artist to suggest different narrative materials where voices other than her own sometimes surface: notably those of the poets and philosophers who have marked decolonial thinking (2). Language frequently appears in her works, which create a dialogue between natural materials: vegetation and textiles, wood and ceramic, glass and volcanic sand. Through these exchanges, the artist invents new body-landscapes.
For her solo exhibition at Le Grand Café, Minia Biabiany had the desire to evoke, from Guadeloupe, her relationship to the ocean. The ocean has taken up a central position, creating a connection with Saint-Nazaire, but above all embodying the famous “Middle Passage” (3) engendered by the slave trade, that severed enslaved people from their African origins. The light melancholy that hangs around the title of the exhibition, pluie sur mer (rain on sea), demonstrates the importance of the earth/sky connection; the artist expands on it by dedicating each of the three rooms in the art centre to a primordial element of life on the Guadeloupian territory—water, volcano and wind. With it she unfolds an immersive reading of the landscape as matrix, beginning with the elements that course through it, and that course through her at the same time, in a movement of back-and-forth flows between the personal and the universal. —Éva Prouteau, art critic
1. On this subject, see the work of the philosopher Jean-Philippe Pierron.
2. Following Paul Gilroy, whose approach allows for a profound renewal of how to think about the cultural history of the African diaspora, result of the slave trade and enslavement. In opposition to nationalist visions, the author demonstrates the existence of a hybrid culture, which is neither African, nor American, neither Caribbean, nor British, but all of these at the same time: the Black Atlantic.
3. “The Middle Passage” is an expression that emerged from writings in literary and cultural studies in the English-speaking world. It refers to the experience of enslaved peoples crossing the Atlantic in slave ships from Africa towards the colonies in the Americas. The conceptual specificity of this passage is that it constitutes the transition of the enslaved from a known African space towards another unknown territory. During this experience of the crossing, enslaved peoples suffer the full violence of colonial power: the reduction of their life to the condition of a pure workforce, the racialisation of social relations, control and repression, the annihilation of culture and subjectivity.” Paul Mvengou Cruz Merino, Un dictionnaire décolonial.
Minia Biabiany’s solo exhibition at Le Grand Café complements her exhibition difé, taking place between October 19, 2022 and January 8, 2023 at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
Minia Biabiany was born in 1988 in Basse-Terre (Guadeloupe, France). She lives and works in Saint-Claude, Guadeloupe.
Her work has recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein, Freiburg (2021), at La Verrière, Brussels (2020) and Le Magasin des horizons, Grenoble (2020). Her work has also been presented at the 10th Berlin Biennale (2018).
Curator: Sophie Legrandjacques, director of Le Grand Café—Contemporary Art Centre
Press contact: Anne Samson Communication / Federica Forte, =(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);});return false”>federica [at] annesamson.com
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