Une création, fruit of a personal journey mixed in homage to my father artist

I am Olivier Laurac Mbilia, whose father is Congolese and whose mother is Guadeloupean. After a very rich schooling in the Parisian suburbs, a passage in the army, I joined a social security center before becoming a manager and finally reaching the positions of client management director, then project director after a master's degree in social protection engineering ..

My father was a professional musician and introduced me to art in all its forms at a very early age. So I grew up in this environment with a great openness. It was the beginning of world music and I met stars such as Manudi Mbango or Essou.

After his death in 1981, I was in a sort of rejection of my paternal filiation and the link with art. I felt that he had left too early and was angry at the whole world and his circle of friends for not having intervened early enough when he had a stroke on stage during a concert in Paris.

But even then, there were signs that I was reconnecting with my father's family and legacy: a taste for art, for creativity. I enjoyed visiting museums, going to concerts, going to the movies even back then, but I still hadn't reconciled myself with him and the community.

I have always kept a deep connection with Africa because of my mixed origins, even if the thread has sometimes been distended by the rhythm of "modern" life. 

In fact, my father has always been a guardian angel for me, putting events in my path that forced me to reconnect with him and my paternal filiation to Africa. So I reconciled myself to move forward on my own two feet in full consciousness.

The universe always conspires for our good without us sometimes being aware of it. This project is also made in his honor.

From an associative commitment to the promotion of African arts to the creation of Africa By Art 

Marcel Gotène catalyst of my commitment

The other trigger for the creation of ABA - Africa By Art, is a story of an inheritance, lived by one of my best friends

Upon discovering the works of Marcel Gotène, during the distribution of a friend's inheritance in 2015 in Congo Brazzaville, we had the idea to create APACA.

The work was there, on the ground, the only memory of his late father. Back in France, we will discover the beauty of the works. For the record, Marcel Gotène exhibited at the Georges Pompidou Center (Paris) during the exhibition "Les magiciens de la terre" in 1989. The first questions came to mind: Who is the artist? Is he known on the international scene? How much are the works worth beyond their sentimental value? We make this observation, without appeal. Low visibility of African artists, Afro-descendants and the diaspora on the international scene, a ridiculously small number of museums and galleries on the African continent. There are too few international showcases to display artistic talent. The associative adventure APACA. Will be born from this conviction to change things.

During 3 years, this first experience allows a valorization of the African artists and beyond. General Secretary, I organized with the whole team the first exhibition (October 2016) at the "Villa Cathala" in Noisy-le-Grand, lent by the city hall. We exhibited for five weeks, many artists and nearly 110,000 euros of works from Africa and Europe.

In 2020, the situation is no longer the same. Galleries and specialized auctions have multiplied. However, it is clear that the material situation of artists remains just as precarious. Very few are the signatures in the Top 100 sales and the names remain unknown.

There is therefore a long way to go so that we no longer talk about nationality in art or geopolitics, but about talent, creativity, art... without worrying about the origin of the artists. Before achieving this, we must offer a showcase open to the world, and at the service of artists.

Africa by Art has the ambition to bring several stones to the building of the change of paradigm. Its objective is to promote a solidary, ethical and responsible approach. But how can we achieve this considerable project?

Here are some answers.

An ecosystem at the service des artistes and their international influence.

Africa By Art is a protean ecosystem aiming to promote and support African and Afro-descendant artists and talents through four main activities :

ABA gallery

Africa By Art organizes solo and group exhibitions and sells artworks.

Access to ABA gallery

ABA Magazine

It offers information on artists, African arts, events, through surveys, interviews, focus. It is partially supported by an advertising agency.

Discover ABA Magazine

ABA Agency

It accompanies artists in their career and represents them. She also offers her services to galleries and market players in the digitalization of exchanges and the development of their online audience/CA. It relies on its skills in digital marketing (@rtvertising and @rtmaketing).

Discover ABA agency

ABA digital shop

It offers both the possibility to buy products from African artists and craftsmen. It also supports ethical and solidarity projects in Africa.

Access to ABA digital shop

Where does this fit in?

The demonstration of the excellence of a part of humanity remains to be done in a context where the stigma of colonisation and slavery and racial prejudices still weigh on people's minds, making skin pigmentation both a problem and a solution, a strength and a weakness.

If Africa is the cradle of humanity, our link to it remains to be redefined. A balance must be found in the relationship.

This initiative must contribute to this change of consciousness: let us be proud of our differences, of what we are .

Art will be the channel, the prism, the catalyst, the soil, the support of this approach putting the artist and the human being at the heart.

2020/2021, the first Africa By Art actions and partnerships bring artists closer to market players and the public.

Several events and projects will mark this process from 2020/2021:

  • The opening of our website will officially inaugurate our activities in December 2021,

  • A major ABA-Africa By Art exhibition on the theme of "remissions" is planned for the first half of 2022.er semestre 2022.

  • The launch of partnerships with various galleries and companies.

  • Participation in the first events such as the artists' residence "La grande place" in Porto Novo, the Zangbeto festival in Guézin (January 2021). The opportunity to make our involvement in the promotion of African culture visible throughout the continent, as well as in Europe.

Today, the Africa By Art organisation is composed of people from all walks of life. Most of its members live in Africa and Europe. ABA has multiple expertises in different fields:

  • The organisation and support of events
  • Curating exhibitions,
  • Media,
  • Digital with web design, coding, digital marketing and branding.

Olivier Laurac Mbilia
Founder of Africa By Art