Fondation H, the first private contemporary art institution in Madagascar, will open its new 2,200m2 space in Antananarivo on April 28, 2023. Since its creation in 2017, Fondation H has been supporting artists from Africa and its diasporas through career development programs, facilitating access to art and actively contributing to the development and structuring of the art scene in the Indian Ocean. The new space, located in a renovated century-old building in the city center, will be a dynamic hub of creation and dialogue, primarily dedicated to African and diaspora artists. The H Foundation’s new facility reflects its already diverse actions and programs under one roof while allowing them to grow. The opening of this venue marks a new phase in the institution’s history and places it alongside other African art institutions capable of supporting the continent’s creative expression on an international level.
The H Foundation aims to partner and collaborate with other African institutions by offering cross-residencies, circulating exhibitions and exchanging best practices. The institution’s ambition to host residents from other African countries throughout 2023 is a testament to this commitment, while a possible pan-African traveling exhibition could be considered starting in 2024.
The Antananarivo space is also part of Fondation H’s broader international strategy. The institution’s Parisian exhibition space, established in 2020, annually invites three artists to carry out residencies and/or carte-blanche exhibitions, supported by creative grants, as well as a winner of the Fondation H Paritana Prize. The institution also benefits from a studio-living space for invited artists thanks to its partnership with the Cité Internationale des Arts since 2017. Fondation H has also created a collection of contemporary art focused primarily on African and diaspora artists and has sponsored international exhibitions to promote African art around the world, such as the Africa2020 Season, the first Malagasy pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, and the exhibition Madagascar: Arts of the Big Island at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in 2018-2019.
The new Fondation H space in Antananarivo will host a major 10-month exhibition each year, under the direction of international curators. The exhibitions, which will cover up to 1,500m2, will be accompanied by a catalog, a free program of lectures and/or performances, and a wide range of mediation activities adapted to the various audiences of the Fondation H. The works presented in these exhibitions will be created in situ by resident artists, lent by partner institutions or drawn from the Fondation H collection, according to the themes chosen by the curators.
In summary, the opening of the new Fondation H space in Antananarivo marks a new phase in the institution’s history and places it among the leading African art institutions promoting the continent’s art on a global scale. Its ambitious international strategy, collaborative partnerships, and programs, including cross-residencies, exhibitions, and creative fellowships, demonstrate the H Foundation’s commitment to supporting and promoting African and Diaspora artists. The new space in Antananarivo will host annual exhibitions, free to the public, and will be accompanied by a wide range of educational and public programs to make contemporary art more accessible to the Malagasy public.
“Oraliture” and “cinétiss”: dive into the organic and sculptural universe of Madame Zo at Fondation H
Fondation H presents its first inaugural exhibition “Bientôt je tisse tous” by Malagasy artist Madame Zo. This exhibition is an exploration of the work of Zoarinivo Razakaratrimo, who is known as an icon of the Malagasy art scene. Curator Bérénice Saliou and Prof. Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung were invited to explore the artist’s work for this exhibition.
Madame Zo has dedicated her life to the art of weaving, an ancestral and living tradition in Madagascar. The lamba, a fabric of wild silk or cotton, is a common and spiritual object that accompanies every moment of life, from birth to death.
Madame Zo has capitalized on this essence by creating design and fashion objects that have made her one of the most active weavers in Africa.
However, Madame Zo has gone beyond the boundaries of her art to develop her own artistic language. Her weavings, of unusual shapes and sizes, incorporate hundreds of materials such as newsprint, magnetic tape, electronic components, copper, bones, medicinal plants, industrial foam, rubber, wood shavings, and perishable foods. These abstract weavings are enigmas that reveal a vision of Malagasy society and a poetic and committed reading of the world.
The exhibition “Bientôt je tisse tous” (Soon I will weave you all) brings together about a hundred works that represent two decades of creation by Madame Zo. These works, which occupy 900 square meters of exhibition space, are a lively, sculptural and organic dialogue that highlights the major themes of the artist’s work. From “oraliture” to “cinétiss“, the works drive messages and summon memories.
In sum, Fondation H’s inaugural exhibition is a tribute to Madame Zo and her contribution to contemporary African art. Contemporary African art enthusiasts and collectors should not miss this opportunity to discover the work of an exceptional artist who has managed to transcend the boundaries of her art to create her own unique and poetic artistic language.