Anri Sala

b. 1974, Tirana, Albania. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

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Anri Sala, Lakat, 2004, installation view, Weighted Words, 2012 at Zabludowicz Collection, London. Photo: Tim Bowditch
Anri Sala, Lakat, 2004, installation view, Weighted Words, 2012 at Zabludowicz Collection, London. Photo: Tim Bowditch

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Anri Sala's diverse practice concentrates on the sonic and visual aspects of political dislocation. His video installation Làk-kat depicts three Senegalese boys repeating words from the Wolof language related to black and white. The history of the Wolof language embodies the colonial influence and imposition that the Wolof people were subjected to for nearly 350 years, from the early 17th century, when the French established trading posts in the region that is now Senegal, until 1960, when the country declared its independence from France. One of the most curious and telling outcomes of the colonial era is the unique way in which the French language has infiltrated the Wolof language over the centuries. Wolof has evolved such that the words for colours are identical to their French counterparts, except for “white" and “black". These terms remain in the original Wolof, as do all their race-related connotations and metaphorical meanings.