Érika Nimis, Mutants — Christian Roy

[Fall 2021]

Centre des arts actuels Skol
6.03.2021 — 10.04.2021

By Christian Roy

Érika Nimis, a historian of Africa and its photographic tradition, which she has often covered in Ciel variable, also produces photographic essays about traces of places and abandoned objects. The body of work exhibited at Centre Skol results from an overlapping of these two approaches – documentary and artistic – ancillary to her study of the urban palimpsests of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. In 2017, strolling on the island of Gorée, offshore of Dakar, she found an overturned bookcase on the shore, filled with old administrative documents bearing the surrealistic letterhead “Université des Mutants.”

This science-fiction-sounding name launched Nimis in search of a very real institution, whose former buildings have remained abandoned since its dissolution in 2005. Founded in 1979 by Léopold Sédar Senghor and Roger Garaudy, and supported by the UN, the University of Mutants was intended to transmute the memory of the site, listed the previous year as a UNESCO world heritage site for being a stopover point in the slave trade. It was meant as an intercontinental meeting place for research on endogenous alternatives to the alienating development championed by the West…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 118 – EXHIBITING PHOTOGRAPHY