Massa Lemu

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He Who Gave Us Teeth Should Give You Art to See:
A Patois Bourgeois P.arty Manifesto

He Who Gave Us Teeth Should Give You Art to See: A Patois Bourgeois P.arty Manifesto simulates a postcolonial election campaign rally for the Patois Bourgeois P.arty – a mock political party for the postcolonial bourgeoisie. Extending from the project “Patois Bourgeois Minor Portraits” the title plays with the words ‘petty’ and ‘patois’; the label alludes to the idea of the postcolonial bourgeoisie as a hybrid product of Western and African values. Featuring a platform draped in colorful party cloth with slogan and symbol, satirical posters, a makeshift flag, and an edited speech by Malawi’s autocrat Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the installation comprises the requisite, and necessary accoutrements of the political promotional performance. Grandiose and absurd sculptural elements critique the persona of the political elite. As an activity of decolonization, the installation both ratifies and undermines the already unstable election process. Photos by Chino Amobi and David Hale.