Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

Modern & Contemporary African Art | and CCA Lagos Benefit Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 41. Untitled.

Joana Choumali


Lot Closed

March 22, 03:41 PM GMT


4,000 - 6,000 GBP

Lot Details


Joana Choumali



Untitled, Ça va aller Series

signed, titled and dated 2019 (on the reverse); editioned 1 of 1 (on the reverse)

iPhone photograph printed on cotton canvas with hand embroidered cotton, lurex and wool thread

24 by 24cm., 9½ by 9½in. (image); 34 by 34cm., 13¼ by 13¼in (canvas)

framed: 40 by 40cm., 15¾ by 15¾in.

50 Golborne, London

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Award-winning Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali hand-embroiders iPhone photographs such as this work from her CA VA ALLER.. series: 

‘The pictures were shot with my iphone, 3 weeks after the terrorrist attacks I chose to use my iphone instead of my DSLR camera to capture people discreetly. They don't know that they are photographed, so their attitude is natural. I took the pictures as if i was doing a scan of the city.

‘3 weeks after the attacks, the atmosphere of the little town changed. The sadness is everywhere. A "saudade", some kind of melancholy invaded the town. Most of the pictures show empty places, and people by themselves, walking in the streets or just standing, sitting alone, lost in their thoughts. "ça va aller" means "it will be ok". This typical ivorian expression is used for everything, even for situations that are not going to be ok.

‘Bassam is my refuge, the place i go to unwind and to be by myself. At one hour drive from Abidjan, Bassam is a place full of history, a quiet and peaceful little town. Bassam reminds me of insouciance, all these childhood sunday afternoons i used to spend with my loved ones on this same beach where the attacks took place. To me, Bassam was a synonym of happiness, until that day.

‘In Côte d’Ivoire, people do not discuss their psychological issues, or feelings. A post-traumatic state is often considered as weakness or a mental disease. People hardly talk about their feelings, and each conversation is quickly shortened by a resigned " ça va aller". This work is a way to address the way ivorian people deal with mental health.

‘The attacks re-opened the mental wounds left by the post electoral war of 2011. Each stitch was a way to recover, to lie down the emotions, the loneliness, and mixed feelings i felt. As an automatic scripture, the act of adding colorful stitches on the pictures has had a soothing effect on me, like a meditation. Embroidery was an act of hope, as well.’