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Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien

Born 1990 in Paris, France
Lives and works in Paris

White Bay Power Station


Gaïsa – Maternity Goddess of Love #1, 2022
Organics Landscapes – Day #3, 2023
Gaïsa – Maternity Goddess of Love #2, 2022
#MAP 24, 2018-2021
mixed media, sewing, embroidery
Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from the Institut Francais and assistance from the Embassy of France in Australia
Courtesy the artist

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien borrows from the craft traditions and mythologies of her Akan and Caribbean Guadalupian heritage to cradle visions of femininity, the cosmos, and visual poetry. Inspired by the mythologies of the world including those of Africa, Asia, the Pacific, America and Europe her work bridges and underlines the commonalities between regions and continents that are far apart geographically, yet connected.

Weaving together assemblages made from raffia, cotton, vegetable leather, glass, shells, and copper, Manlanbien’s textile topographies are neither tapestry nor sculpture but something entirely new. She grew up between Côte d’Ivoire and Guadeloupe and France. She carried with her the crafts passed down from her mother, grandmother and the long matrilineal line of Akan women who preceded them on her father’s side.

Through her work, Manlanbien interrogates the relationship between traditions, mythologies, modern societies, and the people who live within and between them. Appearing as if it were a microcosm writ large, each weaving leans towards the cosmological yet remains deeply rooted in an embodied, material experience of the world.

As with a nest, where twigs and string are knit into vessels that protect entire lives, Manlanbien’s work shelters interconnected universes, stories and pluralities, giving them the space to sing in chorus.

Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien works across a variety of mediums including textile, drawing, sculpture, photography, painting, video-performance, engraving, and installation. She seeks to juxtapose diverse cultural elements, bringing them together to form new, syncretic pieces with additional layers of meaning. Interested in the complex relationships between notions of a universal popular culture, everyday life, and traditional handmade construction processes, Manlanbien creates physical encounters between industrial and artisanal materials. The artist speaks of her intention to create ephemeral, poetic narrations which are in perpetual renewal, resulting in tangible pieces which both ‘witness’ and ‘trace’ past diverse cultural histories. She sees her practice as an ongoing development and an exploration into the intersectional positionalities of women.


24th Biennale of Sydney (2024)

Ten Thousand Suns

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