#Map, a series of works that became central to Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien’s practice, are a combination of cartographies that connect traditional, political, and social threads from the geographies that constructed her identity as an artist. The use of organic materials like hair and raffia fibre refers to a particular sensitivity to the living and breathing aspects of her artistic creations. Emphasizing the notion of the collective body, #Map is a non-figurative representation of what cannot be seen but can be caressed and worn, creating a poetic space and experimental field where a non-orchestrated activation takes place once the viewer enters into contact with the work. #Map—Ce Corps est le nôtre, the chosen title, pushes the viewer to question whose affirmation it is. Is Messouma Manlanbien calling for a revival of collective memories that haven’t been represented enough? Is she rather conveying a message from the living beings that are unseen but heard through the rituals that she portrays in her work? #Map—Ce Corps est le nôtre offers a strong foundation to the notions of collectivity and commonality emphasized by Abdias Nascimento in his philosophy of quilombismo and throughout the exhibition.

Work in the exhibition: #Map–Ce corps est le nôtre [This Body is Ours] (2021), jute fibre, hair, scraper, raffia fibre, aluminum, copper, resin, kita, 123 × 257 cm. Courtesy of Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan, Dakar, and Paris