Based in Dakar, Senegal, Raw Material Company is an independent, collaborative centre that aims to foster critical thinking through artistic practice. The project was founded in 2008 at the initiative of curator Koyo Kouoh, with a socially committed, pan-African, translocal vision and a programme that revolves around the research, promotion and dissemination of contemporary culture in and from Africa. From the perspective of the RAW Material Company, curatorial practice is an expanded exercise in knowledge production that goes beyond exhibitions. It encompasses artistic education and public programmes, as well as residencies, a library, an archive, publications, and even podcasts. All these tools are used to weave networks and communities that implement critical thought from a perspective of collectivity and care in which fragility and vulnerability are understood as a crack and a source of power to generate change.
In this conversation, Marie Hélène Pereira and Fatima Bintou Rassoul Sy—two key members of Raw Material Company—discuss a situated feminist and decolonial practice that focuses on doing rather than enunciating and categorizing. They share some of their experiences and talk about the strategies they use to create rich forms of dialogue and to negotiate the tensions and the ideological and economic constraints imposed through the still-colonial structures of the so-called global North. Actions that can be as small as opening up a space in which to be together, to unlearn and rethink the emancipatory possibilities that art can offer society.
Photo Courtesy of the artist