Anne-Lise Agossa - Essuf: Choreographing a Ritual of Shared Ownership in the Sahel

Anne-Lise Agossa - Essuf: Choreographing a Ritual of Shared Ownership in the Sahel
Date 6th - 14th Aug 2022 Price Free - Drop-in - no ticket required Location Tramway View map

Screened outside our T5 gallery during opening hours
or watch online any time from 8 to 14 August

"'Essuf' is an illness of the soul, in its initial manifestation. In the Tuareg medical system, this is a desolate state. A place of alterity where one takes refuge: torn between two choices or universes that are different and irreconcilable.” 
Susan J. Rassmussen

To accompany the final week of Christelle Oyiri’s exhibition Gentle Battle, Tramway presents a new short film work by artist, photographer and architecture designer Anne-Lise Agnossa which explores a hybridised future between settled and nomadic customs in the Western and Central Sahel.

'Sahel' in Arabic translates to 'shore'. The geo-cultural region is located at the helm of the Sahara, straddling two worlds.

Explored through the design of a story, narrative fiction is used as a vessel to conceptualise a new ritual journey through the Sahel shrouded in mythologies. Aided by life support systems for sedentary pilgrimage goers and a cave in the Guelta d’Archei — situated in the Tibesti-Ennedi triangle, “The Origin of the Desert” — this is a speculation on the metaphysical dimension of the Desert, and its transformative and transcendental qualities.

The ritual is based on the shared ownership of land, water and light and aims to pose a question rather than to bring complete answers. 

By designing a speculative West African future through a fiction that reimagines the Tuareg concept of Essuf as a phase of coming of age, the project seeks to explore potential new ways to connect with the Desert through cross-cultural relations. In a Sahelian future where nomadic and sedentary customs co-exist, new identities and cultural practices can be born as a result of collaborative cultural production.

With this project, the practice builds on the griot oral tradition of storytelling by adopting the medium of cinema as an alternative to the museum. Stories are used as frameworks within which to design and imagine possible futures, in order to bring about those future’s realities.

Film duration: 11 minutes 

About the artist
Anne-Lise Agossa is a London-based artist, photographer, filmmaker and architectural designer. Anne-Lise's practice is focused on bridging the gap between past and future beyond borders, within and around the African context. Particularly focused on the geo-cultural landscape of Western Africa, the practice considers potential new cosmologies and mythologies, identities and cultural practices; by merging references from communities seemingly distant from each other. With a collaborative approach to cultural production, this is done through research, design, small scale interventions and world building. 

Raised between several West African countries whilst being influenced by elements of Western culture, Anne-Lise's body of work explores the in-betweenness and fluidity of cultures and their visual markers.