I Had a DreamConductor:
“We want to address useful dreams, dreams that can become a reality. Given the example of all those people who had a dream that changed the world, it’s important for these kids to be inspired and to know that, if you work for it, a useful dream can become true.”
Simon Njami, AtWork N’Djamena conductor
AtWork N’Djamena Chapter 11 has been implemented by Moleskine Foundation in partnership with the local cultural organization Jamah Afrik and the National Museum of Chad, which also hosted the workshop.
It was the second leg of the AtWork Tour 2018 “I had a dream”, which will continue its journey in Kampala and Harare.
Simon Njami comments on the topic: “It is a school of freedom and social engagement, for, no changes can be achieved by one person alone. If Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, to name a few dreamers, succeeded in their endeavours, it was mainly because they were able to convince outside of their ego. It is time to tell those kids who represent our future that there is no such a thing as fatalism. We were born what we were born, but we always become what we did. In few words, ‘I Had a Dream” is a call for action, here and now.”
The workshop took place in N’Djamena, Chad on July 2-6th 2018 and was conducted by the renowned international curator and our advisor Simon Njami at the National Museum of Chad. 27 young creative talents from different backgrounds, including aspiring film makers, producers, actors, stylists, entrepreneurs, writers, got together under the guidance of Simon Njami to debate, critique and exchange about their dreams. The creative outcome of these reflections was spilled out on a notebook by each participant, producing 27 dream projects, which will be exhibited as part of the final international exhibition of “I had a dream” Tour in 2019.
“Thanks to this workshop conducted by Simon Njami we have learned to know our dreams and our hidden talents. During these 5 days we have talked about our dreams and about the necessary tools to make them come true. This allowed us to find the strength to think about the means to realise our dreams.”
Mélanie Nichakbé, AtWork N’Djamena participant
Simon Njami is an independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and writer. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Revue Noire.” Previously, Njami was the artistic director of the Bamako Photography Biennial 2000-2010, and co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He has curated a number of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2004-2007) and the first African art fair in Johannesburg in 2008. In 2014, The Divine Comedy exhibition, created and curated by him, started a world tour at the MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, moving on to the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. He is the director of the Pan African Master Classes in Photography, a project created in partnership with the Goethe Institute; artistic director of the Donwahi Foundation (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); adviser to the Sindika Dokolo Collection (Luanda, Angola); secretary of the special jury of the World Press Photography Awards; artistic director of the first edition of Off Biennale (Cairo, 2015) and the 2016 and 2018 Dak’Art Biennale (Dakar, Senegal), the first and most important artistic event in Africa.
“AtWork gave me the hope to continue with my journey to become a comics strip illustrator and not give up, not to feel marginalized, but to have confidence in myself and my dream”
Yangwang Cam-Cam, AtWork N’Djamena participant
It was December 2017 and we were in the middle of AtWork workshop in Douala conducted by Simon Njami when we were approached by Oumaté Abdoulaye Abdul, a cultural manager from N’Djamena, who came all the way from Chad to see what AtWork was all about. He came to us during the break and urged us to bring AtWork to Chad, which he described as culturally hungry and deficient, regardless of numerous young people eager to express themselves creatively. “Stimulating critical thinking in N’Djamena is crucial, we have very little happening here from the cultural point of view, but there is a will and desire to change this”.
It was Oumaté’s personal drive to make a change that allowed AtWork N’Djamena to happen 7 months later. We have got in touch with his cultural organization Djamah Afrik and worked together to bring AtWork to this complex context.
Local young people with completely different backgrounds had a chance to meet, exchange and debate on the topic “I had a dream”, continuing the creative relay started with the AtWork Tour in Rome.
“Stimulating critical thinking in N’Djamena is crucial, we have very little happening here from the cultural point of view, but there is a will and desire to change this”
Oumaté Abdoulaye Abdul, AtWork N’Djamena partner
The Moleskine notebooks created by the participants during the workshop have been exhibited at the National Museum of Chad. The exhibition was co-curated by the workshop participants under the supervision of Simon Njami. It inaugurated on July 8th and ran until July 20th. A special catalogue featuring the dreams and the related notebooks of all the participants has been produced by the participants themselves.
Komna Marie Madeleine
Monemadji Publertine Yalde
Idriss Adoum Idriss
Memsol Nadjiyena Mayan
Anne-Marie Kadja Balé Mando
Alio Hachim Alio
Bani Ganga Aristode
Pale Dirsala Germain
Rubain Adoum Klamong
Mouine Albissati Al Namai
Djamah Afrik, Museo Nazionale del Ciad
AtWork Chapter 11 Coordinator:
Oumaté Abdoulaye Abdou
Video shooting and editing:
Special thank you to:
Philippe Adoum Ngariam , Institut Français du Tchad, Maxime Damsou, Renaud Masbe (l’Ecole de l’Audio-visuel), Raffaele Bellezza