As a departure for Dak’Art 2016, with the title « The City in the Blue Daylight », Simon Njami chose an extract from a poem written by Leopold Sedar Senghor:
«Your voice tells us about the Republic that we shall erect the City in the Blue Daylight In the equality of sister nations. And we, we answer: Presents, Ô Guélowâr!»
Those verses inspire Simon Njami’s ambition for the Biennale: to make Dak’Art a «new Bandung for Culture».
The title of the pan-African exhibition is closely linked to the general theme of the biennale that invites artistes and beyond the artists all Africans to invent new strategies and aesthetics in order to re-enchant the world and the continent. That for me, how to translate the erection of that City in a Blue Daylight that Senghor was wishing for and that is yet to be build. Africa once had the useful dream of freeing it self from any form of domination. During the independences period, all countries chanted and danced, caught in the enchantment of a world to invent, relationships to forge. More than half a century later, some have been abused; others have lost that enthusiastic that was enlightening their gazes. That is the only drive capable of giving the strength to change things. The re-enchantment is the ability to instil a new energy, a new creativity, and a new driving force.
The equality of the sisters nations forces us, once we have declared the role of the Dakar biennale in Africa, to reflect on the strategies that could apply on a global level, to insure Dakar’s role in the development of a more balanced international art scene. If, indeed, Dakar’s role in Africa, in the transformation and dissemination of contemporary practices is crucial, thanks to President Senghor who understood the importance of culture of any development, the danger the Senegalese biennale might be face with is the replication of what is conceived in the West. If Africa remains our priority, we must, nevertheless, create some new tools of reflection and implementation of new ways and new ideas regarding theories, practices and production.
This is the reason why I have decided to invite guest curators from regions that are not explored enough, to rebuild new networks of communication and to exchange on social and curatorial experiences. These new dialogues, I believe, will bear fruits for the future. And set a space for new platforms of interactions.
As the only exhibition of its kind on the entire continent of Africa, a lineup of 65 artists have been selected to exhibit at Dak’Art in response to a global call for applications. The artists represent 20 countries from Africa and from around the world, including Senegal, Burkina Faso, USA, France, Cameroon, Morocco, Italy, Kenya, Bahamas, Mozambique, Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Portugal, Cote d’Ivoire, Malawi, Sudan, Madagascar, Algeria, Burundi.
For more information on the programme click here.