Green energy company powers Madagascar's first contemporary art non-profit

Hakanto Contemporary, sponsored by the eco-friendly Filatex group, is directed by the artist Joël Andrianomearisoa

Artistic director Joël Andrianomearisoa at the new contemporary art venue in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo

A company focused on renewable energy and sustainable development is backing the first non-profit contemporary art space in Madagascar, the island nation off the coast of East Africa. Hasnaine Yavarhoussen, the chief executive of the eco-friendly Filatex group, is sponsoring Hakanto Contemporary, located in the capital Antananarivo, through his company’s endowment fund.

“For the first time, a homegrown Malagasy company is contributing in this way, rather than companies from France, the former colonial power,” says a spokeswoman for the project.

“This will be beneficial to the local economy long term,” Yavarhoussen tells The Art Newspaper. “We also need policies at government level, because there are no laws regarding cultural sponsorship, in order to harness the potential that it could bring.”

The 300 sq. m venue is directed by the artist Joël Andrianomearisoa, who represented Madagascar at last year’s Venice Biennale. The inaugural exhibition, entitled Here we reach all the dreams of the world (until 2 May), includes works by nine Malagasy artists. “The artists produced new pieces related to dreams: Madagascar dreaming of a better future and the world,” Andrianomearisoa says.

Future shows will include a selection of young Malagasy artists, focusing on the island’s post-colonial history, in May, and the first exhibition of the late Malagasy photographer Ramily, opening in September.

“Hakanto Contemporary is an exhibition space, but also a platform for experimentations, residencies and conferences,” Andrianomearisoa says.