Financing the production of public art in Africa. The case study of doual’art – between resources, culture, development and agencies.

Pensa, Iolanda (2014) Financing the production of public art in Africa. The case study of doual’art – between resources, culture, development and agencies. In: ICCPR 2014 International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, 09-12 September 2014, Hildesheim. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Financing the production of public art in Africa. The case study of doual’art, between resources, culture, development and agencies doual’art is an art centre and non profit organization in Douala, a major city of Cameroon and Central Africa. The art centre has been producing exhibitions, public art and urban research since 1991 and its production has been supported by a wide range of international agencies, among which Prince Claus Fund and Arts Collaboratory. The paper analyses the resources and financial strategies employed by doual’art to support specifically the production of site-specific public art, which in 2007 has lead the institution to establish the triennial festival of public art "SUD Salon Urban de Douala". The analysis highlights the diverse role played by the agencies and the relationships established between agencies, artists, artworks and doual’art, as a mediator and grant-seeker. What emerges is the peculiar approach of Prince Claus Fund and Arts Collaboratory, which remain outside of, or liminal to, the framework of development policy; rather than being due to the interpretation of culture and development defined by those agencies, this paper argues that the specificity of Prince Claus Fund and Arts Collaboratory and its capacity of triggering the production of art and development in Africa is due to their procedures and application processes. The paper is based on field research in Douala conduced regularly between 2003 and 2013; between 2005 and 2007 the author has been involved directly in facilitating and supporting the relationships between doual’art and international agencies; the paper is based on information collected through participative observation and it only uses public or authorized data.

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