NıCOLETTı presents Unknown Aquazone, a solo exhibition by Josèfa Ntjam (1992, Metz). Comprising
photomontage, sculpture and a video installation, Ntjam’s presentation responds to the context of the
Mediterranean region by exploring the sea as a zone of political disturbance and utopian burgeoning.
The exhibition features a new series of photomontages deriving from the visuals that Ntjam created to
cover the surface of a monumental aquarium commissioned by the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, for the
exhibition Anticorps (2020-21). Addressing questions of memory, History and fiction, the Unknown
Aquazone series weaves narratives drawn from mythology and the struggle for independence in Africa –
e.g. the Senegalese ritual of Kankurang or the Cameroonian writer and activist Marthe Ekemeyang
Moumié – with motifs evoking organisms living in the abyss.
Ntjam’s photomontages are paired with ceramic sculptures representing hybrid plants and aquatic deities
such as Mami Wata – a voodoo figure and fish-woman divinity venerated in much of Africa. Exploring
concepts of fluidity and becoming, Ntjam’s sculptures conjure metamorphic beings which unsettle the
modes of classifications of species at the origin of hegemonic discourses on identity and race in Western
Ntjam pursues a similar reflection in Myceaqua Vitae, a film telling the story of a bioluminescent organism
falling from space and giving birth to the ocean. Blurring the lines between science and fiction, Ntjam’s
film complements a display contemplating the role of mythology and utopia in contemporary politics of emancipation.