By Lauriane Noelle Vofo Kana with AFP
From May 19 to June 21, the Biennale of Contemporary African Art will feature fifty-nine artists, including four collectives, from twenty-eight countries among which 16 African nations. This year’s theme “Ndaffa (Wolof for forge), hints at the construction of new models.
By the seafront, the West Corniche of Dakar welcomes intriguing pyramids and unique art pieces for the Biennale of Contemporary African Art. Organizers are overjoyed because the 14th edition, which starts on Thursday, will go down in history as being the first during which artists displayed their works out of museums and galleries and the first to take place after the Covid-19 outbreak.
” I lived for 4 years with these artists who were shortlisted since the selection remained unchanged and we discussed and the works of art were sometimes quoted on quote enhanced, sometimes they were changed, art director El Hadji Malick Ndiaye explains. That’s how we progressively worked hard to get ready for this edition. The return of the festival also brings back reunions; it’s the celebration of art because the pandemic put us all to the test, it created difficulties and faced us with great challenges.”
The Biennale art director put 17 artists on a mission to create monumental works. This one features dozens of sculpted faces with closed eye. Shoes lined up around the mausoleum-like pyramid, fall into the sea. It is an attempt by Senegalese artist Yakhya Ba to portray the tragedy of illegal migration that affects many African families.
Passer-by Oulimata Diop was captivated: “This work stood out to me so I asked to know which artist made it. It appealed to me, I saw a lot of figures, a lot of shoes, either coming from the sea, going back to it or going away, so I got goosebumps and now I have tears in my eyes.”
Nearly 300 exhibitions visible in the Senegalese capital and on the islands of Ngor and Gorée are on the program of the Biennale of Contemporary AFRICAN Art. Ousmane Dia checks his art installation entitled 343 which is displayed near the University Cheikh Anta Diop. The cannot wait for the public to discover his work but beyond that, he is happy to see African art shine: “I think that for African artists the Dakar Biennale is really an excellent showcase to also try to move the barometer of contemporary creation a bit.”
The international exhibition will feature fifty-nine artists, including four collectives, from twenty-eight countries around the world among which 16 African nations. This year’s theme is “Ndaffa (Wolof for forge) and it hints at the construction of new models. The fourteenth edition of the Biennale of Contemporary African Art will end on June 21.