I'm just back from an inspiring trip to the Dakar Biennale of Contemporary African Art. Guided tour through my favorite exhibitions...
So many exhibitions showing the artistic vitality of the continent...
When I attended my first Biennale of Contemporary African Art in 2004, it was mostly to have a good time with friends. If I had been told that I would return 14 years later for business reasons, I would have never believed it!
On Thursday, May 3 2018 started the 2018 13th edition of the Dakar Biennale, also called "Dak'Art". A permanent feature in the Senegalese cultural calendar which introduces a month of cultural and artistic diversity. This year the theme is "l'Heure Rouge" (the Red Hour) in tribute to Aimé Césaire.
There are the "In" exhibitions with 75 artists from 33 nationalities. And then the "Off" ones, lasting a month with about 250 events. These 2 major axes are completed by exhibitions of contemporary art, including sculpture, painting, photography, and ephemeral creations, throughout the capital and by many concerts taking place in the venues where all these works are showcased.
Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit as many exhibitions as I wished, but among those I attended, here are the 3 that delighted me the most.
1st favorite exhibition: the Foultitude exhibition...
In the city center of Dakar, not far from the port, the gallery Arte presents the "Foultitude" exhibition with the internationally known Nigerian painter, Ben Ibebe.
His paintings are captivating thanks to the unique impasto technique that gives each work of art an almost three-dimensional surface adding character to bright colors and geometric composition. Ben Ibebe essentially paints scenes from the everyday life.
Sculptures of Zinkpe and Kifouli and Wabi, Beninese artists, are also in display during this exhibition.
2nd favorite exhibition: the "Braiding connections" exhibition...
In the lively and popular district of the Medina, the Ousmane M'baye Design showroom with the exhibition "Braiding connections" (or "Tresser des liens" in French) is a must seen. This exhibition is a reflection between the design of Ousmane M'baye and the braid art of Murielle Kabile in its perpetual evolution.
This collaboration between a metal designer and a hair artist is surprising and audacious but ultimately very successful.
To find out more about Ousmane M'baye, find his universe on Kelen Art website.
3rd favorite exhibition: the "I am Black and White" exhibition...
Back to the center of Dakar, with the exhibition "I am black and White" bringing together the work of 5 women who used the black and white theme on their beautiful creations and showcased them in the space of a recently renovated house. The theme of black and white is an eternal combination they knew how to handle with art. They thrived to bring a unique artistic take on the eternal Black and White combination.
An harmonious staging, clean lines and an original design make the success of this beautiful exhibition.
The exhibition features Faty Ly's tableware, Oumy Sène's beaded mirrors, Begay Downes and Shoon Diop's design furniture, and Lena Nian's photographs.
And, among all the exhibitions that I unfortunately did not have time to visit, here are the two I really regret not seeing:
Ousmane Sow's house which shows the main artworks of the artist on a surface of more than 1000 m2. This is the sculptor's own house, who died in 2016. He himself named it himself The Sphinx, a mythical figure from Egypt, that inspired him the design of this house built in the 1990s.
Lastly on the side of the corniche, the Bridge exhibition, in the Villa Rouge, offers an exhibition packed with incredible talents including photos of Alun B. Click here to discover his photos Kelen's website.