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Brothers in Arms: Laboratoire AGIT’art and Tenq in Dakar in the 1990s

Performance of the Laboratoire AGIT’art, Dakar, 1989. Photograph: El Sy
Clémentine Deliss discusses the Senegalese artist groups Laboratoire AGIT’art and Tenq, reflecting upon the paradoxes of writing a history of collective practices that reject fixed forms. In the beginning, in the mid-1970s, the Laboratoire AGIT’art was a fluid, free group of men and women. There was no formal organisation, no president and secretary or proper membership system. Instead people were called to meet. These meetings would take the form of an atelier or a workshop. Originally, they were held behind closed doors. The first theatre workshops happened in 1974, at Cap Manuel, and then much later in the courtyard of Gérard Chenet, the Senegalese writer and dramaturge of Haitian origin. But they also took place in public locations such as the Musée Dynamique or on the stage of the Centre Culturel Français of Dakar.