Aline Motta’s “Brazil and Africa, a shared history” on display at Gorée Island

Brazilian artist Aline Motta’s trilogy, “If the Sea Had Balconies, Bridges Over the Abyss, and Other Foundations,” is currently on display at the landing stage of Gorée Island. The exhibition, titled “Brazil and Africa, a Shared History,” delves into the colonial past shared by Afro-descendants like the artist herself.

The visual narratives explore Motta’s roots, featuring works such as “Natural Daughter,” which combines historical and contemporary images taken at the same plantation 200 years apart.

This piece depicts Claudia Mamédé, an Afro-descendant living on the plantation today, who symbolically takes the place of both the master’s daughter and the slave, holding a cage with a partially open grating.

Exhibition curator Aude Leveau Mac Elhone explains, “The cage can metaphorically raise the question: to what extent are Afro-descendants truly free?”

The exhibition addresses the contemporary consequences of the transatlantic slave trade and colonization, inviting reflection on our identities, relationship with the past, and presence in today’s world.

Cindy Teme, a Belgian tourist of Congolese origin, finds the exhibition poignant, emphasizing its importance for Afro-descendants and the broader African diaspora.

The memorial island of Gorée, with its historical significance, serves as a powerful backdrop for these works created across three continents. Water, symbolizing transatlantic ties and healing, is a recurring theme.

Originally set to be part of the Dakar Biennale, the exhibition has been postponed to November. Meanwhile, visitors to Gorée Island can experience Aline Motta’s evocative photographs.