Exterior view of RAW MATERIAL COMPANY, Dakar, 2011. Courtesy RAW MATERIAL COMPANY
RAW MATERIAL COMPANY is a center for art, knowledge, and society established in Dakar in 2008. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, commissioning, knowledge sharing, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation for and growth of African artistic and intellectual creativity. The underlying rationale of its program is the firm belief in visual arts as a potent tool capable of shifting views and igniting engagement in art practice as a viable path for social and political transformation. The program is trans-disciplinary and is equally informed by urbanity, literature, film, architecture, politics, fashion, cuisine, and diaspora.
The core of RAW MATERIAL COMPANY is its resource center, RAWBASE, which offers a sustained discursive program through artist talks, portfolio review sessions, master classes, symposia, lectures, panels, round-table discussions, and research presentations. RAWBASE aims to establish an extensive library and archive on contemporary art, with an emphasis on African and Africa-related practices. The facility is directed toward a national and international, educational and research audience.
Additional operational tools are RAW Gallery, a 100-square-meter exhibition space, and RAW Residency, a residential facility for artists, curators, and writers specializing in photography, video, and art in the public space. La Compagnie, a rooftop bar and restaurant, rounds up the concept of an independent space for art practice and critical exchange.