The School of Mutants

All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other


1 February - 28 March 2024


Blenheim Walk Gallery

Visiting hours

10:00am-4:00pm Monday to Saturday

Exhibition preview and performance: 1 February 2024 5:00pm-7:00pm

Join us for a performative reading from 6:00pm-6:30pm on the opening night of the exhibition. Artists Hamedine Kane and Stephane Verlet-Bottero will recreate the plea speeches from the Bamako movie and invite the audience to join this act of collective re-enactment.

Location: Blenheim Walk Gallery, Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk, Leeds LS2 9AQ

The School of Mutants is a nomadic collaborative platform for art and research, initiated in Dakar, Senegal, in 2018. It develops multidisciplinary inquiries on the role of universities and educational infrastructures in the process of forming collective national identities in post-independent Senegal and West Africa. Taking the form of installations, field work, films, archive research, publications, public assemblies and collaborative learning, the project aspires to mobilize spaces for the production, transmission and pluralization of knowledge in a non-hierarchical way. Engaging with sociocultural, ecological and aesthetic mutations of the real the artistic process reflects on African futurism, anti-imperialist ecologies, and the legacy of Afro-Asianism, non-alignment and Southern solidarities.

The project is inspired by the University of Mutants, an ephemeral learning space founded in Gorée, Senegal, in the late 1970s fostering non-hierarchical teaching and epistemic decolonization. The project hosted scholars from across Africa, Latin America and Asia, at a historical moment of increased Southern solidarity. Taking as a starting point the history of post-independence utopia in Senegal, The School of Mutants invites us to speculate on alternative futures through engaging with experimental pedagogical utopias.

All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other, 2022

The installation 'All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other', 2022 is a replica of the main scene of the film Bamako by Abderrahmane Sissako (2006). Set in the courtyard of Sissako’s childhood home in Mali, the scene depicts a fictional trial in which the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are judged for their neocolonial economic policies on the continent, and the continued assault against the sovereignty of Africa’s peoples.

The recreation of the scene through sculptural language forms a critique of the Third World discourse, one invented by the West as epistemological category to reinforce forms of economic and cultural imperialism. As a response, the artists create a composition of wood sculptures, hand-painted colourful school chairs, textiles, books, ceramics, everyday objects, archival materials, video works and an atmospheric sound piece in which the narrator reflects on the topic of epistemic liberation. In this re-interpretation, the focus of the court shifts from the reclaiming of material sovereignty to the fundamental question of restitution of knowledge.

The installation performs an inquiry into the conditions under which such a trial of the globalised capital system can lead to processes of restitution. In that respect, the oversized, legal gowns act as symbols of justice but also power, posing the question of whether institutions can be judged and on what terms. Their formal typology is challenged and reappropriated with added sew-on patches of everyday fabrics, life vest remains as physical traces of suffering bodies, and digital prints of film stills from African liberation cinema in resonance with Sissako’s work.

All Fragments of the Word Will Come Back Here to Mend Each Other was created by The School of Mutants members Lou Mo, Boris Raux, Valérie Osouf, Hamedine Kane, Stéphane V. Bottéro, with the participation of Mansour Ciss. It was commissioned in 2022 by the 12th Berlin Biennale.

About The School of Mutants

Collective works by The School of Mutants have been presented internationally in biennales and institutions such as at 14th Dakar Biennale; 4th Autostrada Biennale; 12th Berlin Biennale; Centre Pompidou Metz; 35th Ljubjana Biennale; 14th Kaunas Biennale; Het Nieuwe Instituut; 12th Taipei Biennial; 7th Oslo Triennale; Fondation Luma; Le Lieu Unique; CIAP Vassivière; Sheffield DocFest.

The School of Mutants has had residencies at RAW Material Company, Kër Thiossane, Art Explora–Cité Internationale des Arts, Bamboo Curtain Studio. It has received fellowships and awards by Norval Sovereign African Art Prize, Het Nieuwe Instituut, MGLC/Ljubjana Biennale of Graphic Arts.

Poetry reading event

26 February 2024 5:00pm-6:30pm
Location: Blenheim Walk Gallery, Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk, Leeds LS2 9AQ

You are invited to join us for a poetry reading event on crossovers between art, law and justice issues. The event is co-created with Leeds Arts University students and Nicola Dale, BA (Hons) Fine Art Senior Lecturer, and Leeds-based performance artist Jamal Gerald.

Film screening: Bamako

28 February 2024 8:00pm
Location: Hyde Park Picture House, 73 Brudenell Rd, Leeds LS6 1JD

We are delighted to collaborate with Cinema Africa on the screening of the film Bamako dir Abderrahmane Sissako. The film will be introduced by filmmaker and member of The School of Mutants, Valerie Osouf. Click here to book your place.

Panel discussion

13 March 2024 5:00pm-6:30pm
Location: Blenheim Walk Gallery, Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk, Leeds LS2 9AQ

Panel discussion with Lou Mo, Aoife Larkin, Dr Rebecca Wade and Dr Marianna Tsionki. The panel will reflect on the connections between international and local innovations on art pedagogies inspired by The School of Mutants project, Leeds Arts University archive and Maurice de Sausmarez archive.

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