(Madrid, Spain, 1977)
As the writer Carlos G. Munté would say, “The human being is artificial by nature”. Paula Anta is a Spanish artist and photographer whose work focuses on the relationship between nature and artificiality and with the structures created by human beings.
Anta created her Khamekaye series in the Grand-Côte, a 150-kilometre stretch of the Senegalese coastline from north of Dakar to the mouth of the River Senegal. In this great area of beaches and dunes we find, from time to time, structures formed by branches, plastic, fishing nets and other objects. Rising up amid this huge expanse of sea, sand and vegetation, at first glance they seem to be shapeless, chaotic objects, bundles of branches and plastic that appear to have been expelled by the sea. However, these Khamekaye are in fact signs, great landmarks placed along the shore to mark places where there are villages farther inland. They serve a very specific purpose, and have a practical, domestic raison d’être. They are not located in random positions. They make the locations of villages visible, both from the sea (there are busy fishing zones all along this coast) and from the shore. Khamekaye is a word meaning, precisely, landmark in Wolof, one of the most widely spoken languages in Senegal, and it is used exclusively to refer to these beach signals.
However, the real discovery is the aesthetic, formal intent that lies behind these structures made of primitive found materials. The structures, then, are no longer abstract, but become sculptures, establishing a relationship with the place (the landscape) and with local culture (history, society, the economy).