Call from Artists & Intellectuals: Workshop of artistic reflection on Democracy in Africa
In front of the sociopolitical situation Mali is facing today, the Centre Culturel Kôrè of Ségou
and the Centre Soleil d’Afrique of Bamako initiated a workshop that served as a space for
artistic creation on the change occurring in Mali since March 22, 2012, and reflection on
democracy in Africa.
In this context a conference was held on Monday, May 21, 2012 at the Centre Soleil
d’Afrique with visual artists from both partner centers, in the presence of university
professors, historians and anthropologists and the speakers, namely: Mr. Ismaïla Samba
Traoré, Dr. Oumar Kamara Ka and Dr. Mamadou Fanta Simaga, former parliament member
and mayor of Ségou, moderation was achieved by Mr. Mamou Daffé. We also received a
contribution from the sociologist Youba Bathily and the scientific forum of the Festival sur le
Niger. The analyzed relationship is the interaction between art and democracy, that is to say
the interactions modifying the artistic or democratic activity: actions with dynamic effects that
cause a movement in arts or in the democratic process.
Democracy can be taught by art that offers the audience a cultural and artistic education. A
painting is a way for artists to influence the actions of leaders, to test institutions in order to
prevent abuse of power and also to judge policies that are implemented. In short, art is a tool
enabling to supervise leaders without having to make a revolution. Art can use democracy as
a source of inspiration for creation, just as democracy can be built or have as basis the cultural
and artistic heritage of the nation. Art works with democracy and contributes enormously to
the promotion of democratic countries through the promotion of artistic creation (by public
and private services) of artists and the use of art in cultural diplomacy through cultural
department of embassies.
From these discussions, facing the current report on democracy in the continent, we
asked a number of questions:
- What place does democracy reserve to our core cultural values?
- What are the possible solutions to build a winning democracy, respectful of our
- What to do, faced with so much knowledge and values? How to operate?
- What are the dynamics involved today?
- How to “infrastructure” our approach of democracy?
So, a Call said from artists and intellectuals through this conference organized by the Centre
Culturel Kôrè of Ségou and the Centre Soleil d’Afrique of Bamako was written and invites all
stakeholders (government, political, economic, socio-cultural actors, and partners) to the
We urgently need the seven working patterns to be operated:
1. Today, we must “infrastructure”, to paraphrase Prof. Joseph Ki Zerbo.
Infrastructure means creating the conditions for communication and training for a
clear and intelligible perception of democratic principles, of citizenship. These
Workshop of artistic reflection on democracy in Africa - May 2012
are ethical principles in governance, the constitution and opposition that enable
the democratic game.
2. Create optimal conditions for the development of creativity and imagination
with reforms and relevant political decisions
The communication and training to be imagined should be based on school
development and artistic creativity that are the leverage of access to culture.
3. Infrastructure the sector of art and culture is to train the creators to the
challenges of globalization with the “Cultures shock”, it’s further organizing the
professions, organizing to control the costs and the distribution channels
4. Develop a powerful scientific educational policy
The scientific and cultural education in developed countries integrate in school
workshops on creative artistic drawing, music, dance, writing, as further teaching
of traditional disciplines. This stimulates capacities in young children.
From school, we must teach young children lessons on ethics, citizenship,
history of ideas, the history of Africa, and the philosophy of history.
5. Creating «think tank » in every promising sector of art and culture, to
promote the production of thought.
Civil society, intellectuals and emerging private sectors do not participate much
in the management of power, hence the absence of their voice or their thoughts.
While, they are supposed to operate a rebirth of ideas and as a weight against
The western world has something that we need to adopt and master: university
networks, politicians and economic actors maintain the so-called “think tanks”,
which are reflection circles at the western scale. These “think tanks” influence
governance in these different nations. And if we are also rebuilding Africa,
engaging the fight for political and economic changes, we must ask ourselves
first. Every fight is initially thought, any scheme is first derived from reflection
6. Organizing a national dialogue on cultural activities and prospects for a winning
democracy that respects our values.
7. Giving a status to the artist so that he can thrive and play his full role
For more info or enquires contact: Mr. Mamou Daffé, Fondation Festival sur le Niger – Ségou, Mali, email : firstname.lastname@example.org