Yasuke Kurosan, Never Twenty One, So Ava
This series of short films by dance artist Smaïl Kanouté deals with the impact of colonialism and the persistence of ancestral rites as an affirmation of identity. Yasuke Kurosan (2020), co-directed with Abdou Diouri, portrays the life of an African slave who arrived in Japan at the end of the 16th century and was granted the exceptional status of samurai. Never Twenty One (2019-20), co-directed with the ex-collective Racine, pays tribute to the young victims of gun violence in the USA whose lives have been prematurely stolen. So Ava (2021), co-directed with Henri Coutant, retraces the path of the slaves who, through their forced exile, spread their beliefs and rituals across the world.
Smaïl Kanouté graduated in graphic design before learning to dance in the streets of France, Brazil, Mali and Europe. Mixing dance and visual arts, his choreography becomes a painting of moving patterns in space. Gatherer of world stories and storyteller of social facts, his artwork is fuelled by artistic and multicultural inﬂuences. Through his art, he welcomes the audience to step into a new journey of self-discovery, by sharing his vision of beauty and humanity. Kanouté lives and works in Paris, where he has created his own company, Vivons. Never Twenty One is the ﬁrst work of a triptych questioning the Black community’s condition in different times and locations, and to a large degree dealing with the impact of colonialism and the persistence of ancestral rites as an affirmation of identity.