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Canada in Abidjan

In 2024, the Canada Council for the Arts will be back in Abidjan, supporting a delegation of presenters and performing arts professionals from across Canada, led by the Festival Afropolitain Nomade (in French). Canada’s participation is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate pluralism, diversity of cultural expression, and the ties between Africa and its diaspora. It is also a remarkable opportunity to develop renewed artistic dialogue between Canada and West Africa and across the continent.

This new initiative builds on hybrid projects proposed in 2022, to further stimulate relations between Canada and the arts sector in Côte d'Ivoire. This commitment follows in the footsteps of the fruitful exchanges generated by the 2020 edition of MASA, with Canada as guest of honor.

At a glance: Canada’s presence at the MASA 2020

In 2020, Canada was the guest country at the Marché des Arts du Spectacle d’Abidjan (MASA) / Abidjan Performing Arts Market in Ivory Coast. MASA is Africa’s largest performing arts market. Taking place every two years, it brings together artists and arts professionals from Africa and elsewhere in the world. From March 7 to 14, MASA was showcasing Canada’s vibrant and diverse arts sector on the stages and streets of Abidjan.

The Canada Council for the Arts is proud to have funded and coordinated Canada’s participation as guest country for MASA 2020 in collaboration with its partners, Global Affairs Canada, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Québec Government Office in Abidjan and Canadian Heritage.

With its international commitment, the Council raised the profile of Canadian artists and arts organizations, making sure they had the opportunity to share the best of the arts created in Canada with global audiences. 

MASA attendees enjoyed a wide range of diverse Canadian artists and artistic disciplines. From March 7 to 14, 15 groups and artists handpicked by MASA’s selection committees presented their work on the stages and streets of Abidjan. The following were part of MASA 2020 official programming:

Benoît Davidson (storytelling)

Bonjay (theatre)

Collectif PiL’Histoire de Pi (theatre)

IlamNÉNÉ (music)

Joujou Turenne, Joujou Turenne raconte Mandela (storytelling)

Kando (graffiti)

Magdala (music)

Maliciouz (graffiti)

Théâtre CatapulteManman la mer (theatre)

Théâtre Cercle MolièreL’Armoire (theatre)

Théâtre Motus, GANOU-GÀLA, la traversée (theatre)

The Shuffle Demons (music)

UmurutaWhen Rwanda Meets Brazil (music)


Zab Maboungou / Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata (dance)

Canada’s presence at MASA was supported by a series of activities throughout the week. Organized with and by our partners, the activities further raised the profile of Canadian arts and culture at MASA.

Planned activities included creative installations by the ATSA and Mique Michelle at the Canada Kiosk, a conference and workshop held by Marie-Eve Huot and a conversation about art institutions and decolonization between former Canada Council for the Arts CEO Simon Brault and MASA Director General Professor Yacouba Konaté.

Three delegations of Canadian arts professionals were supported by Canadian Heritage, CINARS and the Canada Council for the Arts. In addition, market development opportunities were created through strategic networking events such as meetings between arts organizations, jam sessions between Canadian and African artists and a special festive event hosted by the Canadian Embassy in Ivory Coast.