Une carte postale de Filipa César

Powell and Owl, 2011. Courtesy Filipa César

Powell and Owl, 2011. Courtesy Filipa César

L’artiste Filipa César signe cette belle carte postale, sous forme d’un timbre à l’allure markérienne, découvert à Bissau. Cette trouvaille a été à l’origine de son projet « Luta ca caba inda » (La lutte n’est pas finie), montré au Jeu de Paume en 2012-2013. Depuis, Filipa a continué de travailler sur le processus de décolonisation en Guinée-Bissau, pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest colonisé par le Portugal pendant presque cent ans, en se concentrant notamment sur la figure centrale du leader indépendantiste Amílcar Cabral. Son dernier film, Mined Soil (2014) revient sur les liens entre la recherche menée par Cabral au Portugal en tant qu’ingénieur agronome et le processus d’indépendance guinéen. T.C.

Sunny day in Bissau, dry season. I found this stamp at the post office this morning. It is involved by an image of an owl on a green vegetation background, and it has a Baden-Powell portrait printed on. Below Powell’s writing hand a transparent white strip creates the surface for the word “Guiné-Bissau”. Baden Powell is printed on a golden background and he is staring at whoever would look at it. I can see my blurred eye reflected when I try to look at the date 2005 and the fleur-de-lis in relief. The sun reflects on the golden surface and I enjoy the blindness produced by the flare. I’m puzzled about the elements on this stamp. On a GDR’s stamp from 1978 one can find Amílcar Cabral. In 2005, Baden-Powell on a Guinea Bissau’s stamp. Powell was a general of the British Army in colonial times and the founder of the Scout Movement. The wood badge that is hanging on his scarf was appropriated from the necklace of the king Dinizulu that Powell pursued in his fights against the Zulu. Such necklaces were known as “iziqu” in Zulu and can only be worn by a warrior who has killed an enemy in battle. Powell appropriates the wooden beads from his enemy’s necklace as a symbol for bravery. But who appropriates Powell as a symbol for Guinea-Bissau? Powell and Owl. War and cinema. The two reasons that brought me to Bissau; to follow the traces of my father; to meet the students of Chris Marker. My father was here during his military service between 1967-69 and Marker was here in 1979 teaching cinema. All these thoughts coalesce in one stamp, in suspended move, unsent. Now the sun is gone, no more light reflection on the golden stamp.

Filipa César, Bissau, February 7, 2011


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