Accepted Paper:

Painting Knowledge, Writing Art  
Catherina Wilson (Voice4thought)

Paper short abstract:

Co-creation is a knowledge production process. This paper analyses the painting performance held by an artist and an ethnographer in Congo in 2015 as an act of co-creation. It forces us to question the hierarchy between different types of knowledge production.

Paper long abstract:

Co-creation is the act of creating knowledge together. Art and anthropology are different ways to understand and interpret the world. They both entail processes of knowledge production/creation. Focusing on method, this paper describes the collaboration between a Congolese painter, Sapin, and a Belgian ethnographer in academic research. Inspired by the personal narrative of Mr. Henri, the painter and ethnographer decide to document Mr. Henri's life and through it, reconstruct a small chapter of the history of his town. Adding to previous ethnographic research, the painter and the ethnographer hold a painting performance in order to collect (other type of) data. A painting performance consists of one or more painting sessions in a public place that attract passers-by. Through his brushstrokes, Sapin tells a story and elicits reactions from the public. The canvas becomes, as such, a tool of communication and exchange. It is a method for data collection. Meanwhile the ethnographer observes, participates, interviews, converses and helps to organize the painting sessions. Through co-creation, art contributes to the arsenal of methods in ethnographic research. Co-creation also forces us to question and rethink the value of and hierarchy between different types of knowledge production. Finally, while underlining the importance of the process, co-creation leads to different types of research output (in this case academic, artistic, written and painted) and is able to disseminate knowledge beyond the walls of academia.

Panel P022
Doing, making, collaborating: art as anthropology