The vision for Visite à Okavango, a collective human and artistic experience, came to artist Amine El Gotaibi in 2011.
His reflections on the symbolism surrounding the river’s fertility took him to the Okavango Delta, the only river that ends in the desert.
This geological exception, and the cradle of Homo sapiens, will give rise to a monumental artistic crossing covering some 30,000 km (9320 Miles) in 210 days.
This Pan-African route will reveal alterity from Morocco to Botswana and the tip of South Africa.
On each border of the 16 countries crossed, a mobile team aboard a converted truck (made up of multidisciplinary artist Amine El Gotaibi, filmmaker-documentary maker Faiçal Ben, and a sound artist) will meet with a local artist to experience the reality of the journey and its surprises. The heart of the project is authentic conversations and liberation from norms through art.
As a long-term artistic platform and laboratory, Visite à Okavango will involve twenty or so local artists in connection with their African and international cultural operators. As the engine driving the adventure, the truck will be both a witness and a total work of art
THAT NEVER FINDS
In 2011, an investigation made by Amine El Gotaibi - who then became interested in the symbolism of the dry river, and its counterpart, the fertile river - led him to discover the Okavango river.
The Okavango is one of the few endorheic rivers in the world, not draining water into an ocean, sea or other river, but pouring into the Kalahari desert, in Botswana.
This discovery amazed the artist, who then felt a pressing need to visit Okavango, which has become a symbol of emancipation, of breaking the established norm and an absolute awakening to Alterity.
ON THE TRACKS
OF THE HISTORY
Amazing fact: at the end of October 2019 some eminent researchers in genetics concluded that the fatherland of the modern Man would come precisely from the region of Makgadikgadi-Okavango. Homo sapiens took its source there 200,000 years ago then forced, he had to migrate to the North.
While at the other end of the continent, it is precisely in Morocco, on the prehistoric site Djebel Irhoud that the pre-origins of Homo sapiens have been attested. Thus, on the way to the river that has never found its sea, Visit to Okavango also takes the form of an initiatory journey, in the footsteps of our origins.
Sharing of ideas
Liberation from norms
Visite à Okavango is a destination as much as a collaborative path on the scale of the African continent, generating alternately the essence of human values.
The heart of Visite à Okavango is based on experiences and artistic encounters. Artists will cross the continent according to this perspective of multiple discoveries and cohesion through creation. Crossing borders means meeting geopolitical, geographic, social, cultural and artistic hotspots. Go there to better understand, experience this reality and open it up: a resistance through art. The landscapes to be lived are geological and hugely human. As a platform Visite à Okavango invites local artists who are aware and committed to their own country and who are not known outside their borders. The commitment goes through their cultural relays and the strengthening of the pan-African network. International relays will report on this dialogue. Visite à Okavango realizes a collective artwork through the single act of crossing. The truck conveys a positive message as much as it conveys an artwork as such.
Writer - curator & art critic