'Incorruptible' Documentary Looks Inside Artist-Led Youth Movement During Senegal's Tumultuous 2012 Election

'Incorruptible' is a new political documentary from director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi focusing on Senegal's tumultuous 2012 elections.

Incorruptible is a new documentary feature from director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Touba, Youssou N'dour: I Bring What I Love) that traces events surrounding Senegal's tumultuous 2012 elections. The 90-minute film goes behind the scenes of the Y'en A Marre movement, which formed in opposition to ex-president Abdoulaye Wade's attempts to remain in power for a third term. Led by Senegalese artists, activists and journalists, Y'en A Marre was particularly influential in garnering voter interest among the youth. The documentary follows the main players of the election period (in which 14 candidates ran for president), including the incumbent President Wade, opposition candidate Macky Sall, music superstar Youssou N'dour, and the Y'en a Marre movement.

The film, which debuted yesterday (June 9) at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in London, will be making its North American premiere on June 14th at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Watch the trailer, featuring an original new track from Akon, and see below for the film's official synopsis. Keep up with Incorruptible on Facebook and Twitter.

In a country where 70% of the population is under 30, the Y'en a Marre (Enough is Enough) movement caught fire. After 12 years of corruption and nepotism, of high food and gasoline prices, of constant power outages, and schools shuttered because of striking teachers, the constitutional crisis had become the last straw for the people of Senegal. 14 candidates ran for President.Engaged with other youth movements around the world, Y'en a Marre learned hard lessons from the Arab Spring, and responded to the situation in Senegal by calling for the restoration of accountable representative democracy. Senegal's rich cultural tradition fed a movement – led by these artist activists to register over 300,000 new voters, and rally people to the polls. More people voted in this election than ever before in the history of an independent Senegal.
Macky Sall, the candidate who ran on a platform of reform and anti-corruption, won. Y'en a Marre now wrestles with how to hold the newly elected President to his campaign promises. The film explores this transition and the question: after you unite against something, what do you then unite for? In a time where democracy is under siege in many parts of the world, Incorruptible offers a positive, hopeful example while at the same time honestly examining the sustainability of a peoples' movement, and the role that youth are taking in shaping the future of their own country.

News Brief

Youssou N’Dour and El Anatsui Break Records as they Win Prestigious Japanese Award

They are the first artists from their respective countries to win the prestigious award.

Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour and Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui are the first artists from their respective countries to win the prestigious Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award.

Now in its 29th year, the Praemium Imperiale is presented by the imperial family of Japan for outstanding contributions to the development, promotion and progress of the arts. The prize is awarded for painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre and film.

Soviet and American dancer, choreographer, and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov was honored for being one of the best dancers of all time, while Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat became the first Iranian woman to receive the price.

N’Dour says winning this award means the world to him. “I am overwhelmed and surprised at the same time,” the artist said in an email to OkayAfrica. “I feel very touched and honored to be the Music Laureate. I have a very special relationship with Japan and it is a country I admire a lot for many reasons. Winning this prestigious prize from Japan gives me a wonderful sense of pride and joy.”

N’Dour went on to say that this award is for the whole of Africa, just like his album Africa Rekk. “It is also a message to African youth to believe in themselves and the continent,” he said.

Youssou N’Dour with Hisashi Hieda, Chairman of Japan Art Association and Fujisankei Communications at Praemium Imperiale press announcement in New York City September 12. Photo: Ron Glassman

Anatsui feels honored to be in the company of artist hes ha long admired. “The connection to Japan is also especially meaningful,” says the artist in an email to OkayAfrica. “In 1995, I first showed in Japan as part of the 8th Osaka Sculpture Triennial, and I participated in the 1998 9th Osaka Sculpture Triennial, where I received the Bronze prize. In 2010, a survey of my monumental work toured Japan and through that I really got to know the country and the various and impressive cultural institutions and museums. I enjoyed participating in group exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum and at the 21st Century Museum of Art in Kanazawa, and know I will always maintain a strong connection to the country.”

His Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi, honorary patron of the Japan Art Association, presented each laureate with a specially-designed gold medal and a testimonial letter. The prize carries with it 15 million yen (approximately $136,000).

El Anatsui. Photo courtesy of artist.

Previous winners of the Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award include Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Arthur Miller, Seiji Ozawa, Renzo Piano, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, Ravi Shankar, Cindy Sherman, and Stephen Sondheim.


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