Atlantic, https://atlantic-art.org//

Statement

Atlantic will open its doors on December 3 2022 in Ouidah, Benin, with its first project: Georges Adéagbo. Ouidah d’hier et Ouidah d’aujourd’hui. Opening doors is an invitation to refresh one’s gaze and venture out onto new paths. Atlantic is designed to accompany the flourishing of contemporary art in West Africa and invites the Beninese and international public to write a new chapter in the history of exhibition practices. Every three months, it will host a unique work of art by a distinguished artist. The exhibition space will be a haven for both artists and the public, a place of reflection, inspiration, and contemplation, where all can find refuge and rest between two ocean crossings. For each project, Atlantic will gather an exceptional collection of artworks and stories, a travelogue featuring multiple voices and shaping the future of today’s art.

Atlantic will open its doors in Ouidah, Benin. The project has chosen Ouidah as its anchor point, a city swept by sea winds and facing the ocean’s vastness. Thanks to the tideless ocean, perpetually transformed into clouds by the bright sun, Ouidah is a place where the natural cycle of the elements is visible to the naked eye, either bathing the city in light or hitting it with torrential rains. The opening of a new space dedicated to contemporary art and located in its main street will help shape the future of a port already steeped in history, brimming with memories of centuries-old royalty. Faced with the trauma of slave deportation, Ouidah is inhabited by the spirits of its ancestors, celebrated in voodoo cults. As we confront this local history, the universal ocean calls to us, immense and unfathomable, a shared space tying the destinies of entire continents together. The ocean means both going away and coming back, one’s home as well as the unknown. Ouidah captures part of a universal ocean culture shared all across the Atlantic coast.

Atlantic will open its doors to everyone, each with his or her own personal view. The works will be visible from the street, accompanied by texts and interviews with the artists, which will be published in order to be accessible to everyone. To support and perpetuate the promotion of Atlantic cultures, the project will also contain a social element: part of the profits generated by the exhibitions will be donated to organizations that improve the living conditions of the city’s poorest inhabitants. Atlantic will be a global space, rooted within its territory to celebrate confluences and encounters, inviting everyone to find inspiration in art.