Meschac Gaba worked as a self-taught artist in Benin until coming to
the Netherlands in 1996 for a working period of two years at the Rijksakademie.
In Benin he made collages from circular-shaped leftovers of banknotes.
Gaba’s aim was to depict the lack of purchasing power in Africa
with these collages.
At the Rijksakademie he developed and further pursued his themes in
a conceptual direction and laid the basis for his fictitious Museum
for Contemporary African Art.
In his art Gaba reflects on the cultural colonisation of Africa by
the west and brings the differing cultural identities up for discussion.
In his work he uses money (“valueless” money from Benin
and western banknotes from the paper shredder in the Nederlandse Bank),
with gold-painted rocks and ceramic chickens in a freezer. In this
way he creates an image of barter trade in relation to money as an
instrument of payment. He points to the lack of any real economic balance
in the world and the functioning of capitalistic neo-colonial structures.
He does this with great humour.