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Defining himself as a “griot artist of the modern age”,  from one project or encounter to the next Princia Itoua constructs a nomadic artistic practice that questions the notions of migrant, exile, racism, memory, and identity, or displaced populations and the value of borders. A twofold stakeholder of these displacements, as an emigrant from Congo Brazzaville, who, far from rejecting this history, pursues it in his choice to become a nomadic artist, Princia Itoua does not intend to experience his various migrations from the point of view of a reality to be concealed so as to become better assimilated. He prefers to transform them into a research topic, culminating in poetic forms, in order to question the various elements of these concepts, while holding up a mirror to them: what are the conventional definitions of settler, migrant, acculturation, and so on, worth? Aren’t we all migrants? Based on what criteria does an individual become the coloniser of another person, place, or thing? Without ever denying the reality of racism and the fear of others in his approach, the artist turns more towards a search for the signs and traces of the migratory act in the numerous places he explores, mainly on foot. Princia Itoua temporarily inhabits these territories, building cabins there, studying the flora and fauna, and setting out to meet local residents. The search for these signs, both in the countryside and in urban areas, enables him to expose migratory phenomenon not as an anomaly, but as an activity constitutive of the life of living beings, irrespective of the causes (war, change of season, economic survival, desire for change, etc.). Throughout his work, we find a jumble of landscape sketches, passports and self-produced currencies, infertile lands, sculpture-borders, and precarious cabins . . . a whole corpus of artworks representing a certain desire to render exchanges and movements more fluid for all of us. The artist has created an alter ego named Kanye Mendel who is the bearer of the experience of his travels, voice, and projects, thus embodying a shifting form of poetry, at once retrospective and prospective – that of a world that can only evolve and progress through shared experiences stemming from the seasonal migrations of its populations.
Princia Itoua has chosen to reside in Lindre-Basse to create variations here on his concept of “Paysitant”, focusing on his current concerns regarding the interactions between the landscape and its inhabitants, the way in which the one transforms the other. Through his poetic approach, the artist wanders and simply lets these signs of perpetual migration come to him, such as the swamp of Lindre, emerging like a huge sea to traverse; the name “Lindre”, from the word “linter” meaning flat-bottomed boat, like that of the boat people; the enormous cranes’ nests, a site of temporary protection destined to be destroyed, which for him become sculptures; or the salt, which interests him in that it was an old form of taxation (the gabelle), but also as a precious and much-coveted resource. The artist consigns all of these findings in a logbook presented live on social networks each week, allowing him to share his way of inhabiting the Lindre territory in his own way and of poetically interpreting its landscape.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, griots are members of the cast of roving poet-musicians, the trustees of oral culture, and reputed to be in contact with the spirits.
 Translator’s note: this is a compound neologism, combining the words pays (country or land) and habitant (inhabitant).
Princia Itoua is a Congolese visual artist, born in 1989 in Congo-Brazzaville. He lives and works between Metz and Paris. The artist graduated from ESAL Metz where he obtained his DNSEP in 2017.