Smail Kanouté is a French-Malian multifaceted artist based in Paris. He belongs to a young generation currently renewing visual codes and aesthetics in all possible disciplines. With Company Vivons! –founded in 2016– he develops performance projects, more personal choreographic artworks, dance-videos and short films. He’s currently working on a dance web-docu-series project. 

Smail Kanouté graduated from the ENSAD (National School of Decorative Arts), and he learned dance in the streets of France, Brazil, Mali and Europe. “Choreo-graphist” –as he calls himself– he is both a graphic and silkscreen designer, a visual artist and a professional dancer. His numerous and diverse collaborations in fashion, design, video and performing arts reflect his prolific creativity.

The definition of the motif is at the heart of his artistic search and generates every new production. His pictorial works and performances are therefore recognisable by expressive motifs which compose an alphabet, both modern and abstract. Mixing dance and visual arts, his choreography becomes a painting of moving patterns in space.

Gatherer of world stories and storyteller of social facts, his artwork is fueled by artistic and multicultural influences. Identity as a work in progress vs. inheritance is at the core of his work. Through his art, Kanouté welcomes the audience to step into a new journey of self-discovery, by sharing his vision of beauty and humanity.

Never Twenty One is the first piece of a triptych questioning the Black community’s condition in different times and locations, and to a large degree dealing with the impact of colonialism and the persistence of ancestral rites as an affirmation of identity. Yasuke Kurosan – inspired by the Black Samurai’s life, and So Ava – a re-interpretation of voodoo dances, will be the second and third pieces. Each project develops into a short-film and a full choreographic performance.