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Get some impressions from the exhibition in the premises of the University of Amsterdam in Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 in Central Amsterdam, where young people from Europe, teachers, scientists and artists met the West African researchers and artists.

Having worked largely separately from the perspectives of their very different working conditions, they were confronted with each other's production and - finally - had some chance to meet face-to-face and explain their conditions and approaches to one another.







Minerva1The living conditions could not have been more diverse: here the European youths who may like to eat fish or spend holidays at the beach approaching the problems of overfishing, ecosystem degradation, pollution, climate change and social inequality without having had first hand exposure - there the West African participants, who explained how these same problems were experienced very directly and on a daily basis.

In Senegal, they are also connected to underinvestment into schools and thus few, if any, alternatives to fishing are available to young people in Kayar. Many have left in pirogues on the dangerous trip to the Canary Island trying to reach Spain and the EU in search of a better future. Many perish on this hazardous route from lack of water and food or drowned.

In the Niger Delta the anger and despair are great: the petroleum wealth of the region does not trickle down to the inhabitants, they only get the pollution and the violence surrounding the attempts to get a piece of the cake with force and the counter-violence of those wanting to protect the installations and keep people at bay.

The contrast could hardly be starker. Yet we are inextricably connected through the trade in fish, petroleum and guns, something that we did not think about in those terms before, but which became palpable during the exhibition.

Philomène Grégoire, an Initiative member in Amsterdam, organised a workshop during the MARE conference and the exhibition. It was centered on how we can also connect in playful ways with one another, while telling each other stories about our painted hands.

Have a look at her 'Hands on' workshop on YouTube, kindly prepared by Moira van Dijk. The pictures show moments of the workshop.



The mini-brochure about the exhibition can be downloaded here (780KB, pdf, format A4, original A5).


Photographs courtesy P. Bottoni.


Sponsored by Achte Ausstellungssysteme GmbH, Hilden, Germany.


The calm before the storm, last minute preparations under the guidance of Ansgar Sebastian Beer The university hall, where the exhibition was set up View on to the exhibition floor from the platform Youth groups and conference participants discussing at lunch time in the exhibition spaceMaarten Bavinck, Aliou Sall and Cornelia E. Nauen of the Initiative exchanging views about the Conference and exhibitionThe group of Helmholts-Gymnasium Hilden brought a number of very interesting and diverse installataions, paintings and photosExhibition organisers and the jury discussing how to do justice to the diversity of contributions to the display (f.l.t.r: A.S. Beer, C. Dellepiane, A. Sall, C. Zickfeld, C.E. Nauen) Carla Zickfeld explains the approach of the jury and invites representatives of each group to describe the background and meaning of their work Listening to explanations of works from Kayar, Senegal Nduwhite comments on the context and approach of students in the three Niger Delta schools in NigeriaEleonora Maggiore of the European School Brussels I presents her painting Giulia Bottoni comments other installations of the Brussels group Paintings from Senegalese youths from the CEM Kayar were right next to work from the Helmholtz-Gymnasium Hilden (Germany) Canvasses of three Nigerian artists combining traditional symbolism with advocacy messages for a more sustainable and just situation Photography of the Helmholtz-Gymnasium Hilden group wanting to shock and provoke reflection through unusual images - on the right side paintings on wood by students of the Ecole du Plateau Bensouda, Safi, Morocco During the closing ceremony of the V MARE Conference the background and participants of the exhibition were explained Instead of competing for prizes, the diversity and effort of contributions by the different groups were recognised Conference participants listened attentively to the explanations about the exhibition and the group work from five countries (Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, Germany and Belgium) Group photo of some of the contributors to the exhibition