Since 2015, Cheikh Ndiaye has been painting the most famous theaters between Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and Dakar, Senegal, including their emblematic names: the Mansour, Liberté, VOG, Vox, ABC, Rio, the Medina, and Le Paris, et cetera. The artist’s obsessive paintings are without decorative or exotic intention. All of these movie houses stand, as if they were clichés of one another, as “realistic” representations of the chaos left behind by a foreclosed socialist utopia or a neo-liberal trash dump site; they interpellate the viewer/spectator. Cheikh Ndiaye’s paintings of old movie theaters are intriguing for more than one reason. They are as fascinating for the visual information they reveal as they are for what each painting seems to be hiding, or for the opacity it claims for itself. This essay provides a Glissantian reading of Ndiaye’s movie-theater paintings, not as transparent and nostalgic representations of iconic film houses, but as refigurations of landscape paintings. As Glissant puts it, landscape (le paysage) is not only a character on equal footing with the human and nonhuman species that occupy it in literature, paintings, and film; it has also become clear, for environmental and cultural reasons, that ignoring it risks undermining these art forms. Like Glissant, Ndiaye is revisiting the landscapes of closed movie-theaters for the purpose of reinvesting them with a new aesthetics, and a new way of visualizing the environment.

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