Ange Dakouo was introduced to spiritual practices and rituals that centre the connection between human and non-human beings by the Donso community he originates from. The talisman, also known as a gris-gris or an amulette, constitutes a protection tool made from the wisdom of ancestral beliefs carried by living priests and priestesses who hold the responsibility of protecting the community. Throughout his artistic education and endeavour, Dakouo has reflected on how talismanic objects could be used to convey messages in the contemporary era, underscored by a fierce belief in their importance and protective power. Comprising a constellation of talismans held together by cotton yarn, the work presented by Dakouo constitutes a metaphorical representation of various societies and asserts the need for human threads to be woven together in order to thrive. The artist thus follows a long tradition of weaving practices that carry knowledge of communal living and solidarity that are commonplace in most African communities.

Commissioned by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), co-produced by Ange Dakouo and HKW, 2023.

Work in the exhibition: Imagine (2023), sculpture, cardboard, newspapers, cotton threads, leather, mirrors, iron, 275 × 350 cm. Courtesy of the artist