Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Dakar Biennale turns a fresh page

Dakar - The 2014 Dakar art Biennale has veered off its beaten part to showcase the works of artists who have never taken part in the biannual art fiesta.

This edition is curated by three creative minds whose task included selecting from a list of these never seen before artists on a global scale.

A total 65 names were selected from a large pool of about 7 000 artists by curator Ugochukwu “smooth” Nzewi, who argued they reflected the theme of  the 2014 edition which is "Producing the Common."

This year the African and non-African diaspora artists who have been part of the Dak’Art biennales since its inception in 1992 have increased in number, thereby presenting a challenge to home grown inventive talent.

The alternative space being provided at Dak’Art for artists not selected for the exhibition has also evolved to a more coordinated place where artists can be part of the event without being in the main show.

The official opening, which was held at the Grand Theatre in Dakar on Saturday, had the prime minister of Senegal, Aminata Toure representing the Senegalese president, Macky Sall, and ministers of culture from Senegal, Morroco and Algeria.

Nigeria’s Olu Amoda won the Great Prize Léopold Sédar Senghor for producing the best work among selected artists. He was joint winner with Algeria’s Driss Ouadahi.
The curators for this year’s edition include Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, who is originally from Nigeria and is an artist, curator, and art historian of African Art at the Hood Museum Dartmouth College in the United States. He took charge of selecting artists from African countries south of  the Sahara.

Elise Atangana is a Paris based independent producer and curator and was responsible for the selection of Diaspora artists, while Algerian curator, Abdelkader Damani, selected artists from North Africa.

The Dakar Biennale started in 1989 as a biennale alternating literature and art, with the first edition in 1990 on literature and the second on visual art.

In 1996, it was renamed the Dakar Art Biennale and became devoted to contemporary African Art. In 2000, the Senegalese government became a permanent supporter of the biennale. 

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