DAK’ART 2016 is now open

Biennale de Dakar

DAK’ART 2016
12th Edition of the Biennale de Dakar
The City in the Blue Daylight

Dates: 3 May – 2 June 2016
Artistic Director: Simon Njami


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.


The international exhibition: Re-enchantments

The title of the main exhibition is closely related to the overall theme of the biennial which invites artists, and above all Africans, to invent new ways to re-enchant the world and the continent. Africa, the practical dream of a liberated Africa, responsible for herself, the dream of a continent whose sons sang and danced the freedom recovered at independence, caught in the spell of a future to be reinvented, has had its ups and downs. Some have been disillusioned, others have lost, in their gaze, this enwhich alone can give the strength to change things. The re-enchant-ment is the reintroduction of new energy, a new creativity, a new mo-mentum. List of the artists below.

A Tribute to the Senegalese art-ist: Issa Samb aka Joe Ouakam (Sénégal)

And Tributes to: Great artists have passed away in the course of the past months: Ou-mar Ly (Sénégal), Souleymane Keita (Sénégal), Amadou Sow (Sénégal), Ismaïla Manga (Sénégal), Sidy Di-allo (Sénégal), Leila Alaoui (Maroc-co-France) and Kiripi Katembo (DR of Congo). The biennial will bestow upon these artists the recognition they deserve.

Carte Blanche

The first Carte blanche will be offered to the Doual’art space in Cameroon, in tribute to Didier Schaub. Last year, Didier Schaub, co-founder and artistic director of the Doual’Art space, left us. Since the early 90s, Didier Schaub and Marilyn Douala Bell, his wife, have been promoters and defenders of contemporary creation in Africa. It is a tribute to their pioneering commitment and through them, to the work produced by private organizations across the continent, that is given.

Invited Curators

Dakar capital of the world is the principle that underlies this section, as it does that of the invited countries section. The Senegalese capital must become the place where con-temporary spaces are discovered and appreciated that even Europe has not had the curiosity to explore. By inviting people who, thousands of kilometers away, are asking the question of art with the same terms that it is debated on the continent, we are expanding the range of possibilities by breaking the frustrating North / South dichotomy that has prevailed for too long. We intend to assert the international character of Dak’Art, its openness to the world, to mutual exchange and confrontation. For this, six curators from four continents will be invited to propose an exhibition of three te artists who would globally reflect the theme of the 2016 edition. We will ensure that these exhibitions are financed by the countries of origin of the guest curators. The invited curators, their projects and the participating artists are:

Nadine Bilong (Cameroon)
Title: Le Manifeste de la Cité dans le jour bleu
With: Jean-François Boclé, Fred Ebami, Myriam Mihindou, Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe & Albert Morisseau Leroy, Barthélémy Toguo.

Orlando Britto (Canary Islands)
Title: About denaturalizations, cartographies and legends
With: Idaira del Castillo, Marc Lata-mie, Valeriano Lopez.

Solange Farkas (Brazil)
Title: Crossings
With: Sonia Gomes, Daniel Lima, Thiago Martins de Melo, Paulo Nazareth, Moises Patricio.

Valentina Levy (Italy)
Title: The witnesses of the invisible
With: Stefano Canto, H.H. Lim, Emo de Medeiros, Chai Siris.

Sumesh Sharma (India)
Title: India’s search for power 1966-1982
With: Yogesh Barve, Kemi Bassene, Zied Ben Romdhane, Judy Blum, Ouso Chakola, Martin Chramosta, Samit Das, Julien Froment, Pisurwo Jitendra Suralkar, Raphaël Jul-liard, Naresh Kumar, Saviya Lopes, François Mazabraud, Aurélien Mole, Charlotte Moth, Somnath Mukherjee, Seema Nusrat, Amol K Patil, Maithu Perret, Chloé Quenum, Fazal Rizvi, Mithu Sen, Janek Simon, Eric Stephany, Sawangwongse Yanwghwe.

Sujong Song (Korea)
Title: Hybrid / Metamorphosis
With: Wang Qingsong, Phan Quang, Noh Suntag, Pradeep Thalawatta, Anida Yoeu Ali.


Co-curated by Simon Njami and Delphine Calmettes, this programme has been designed to build a network throughout the city and re-enchant popular places which up until now had been left dormant. La Corniche, on which we plan to install shipping containers that will be artist studios and in-formation kiosks, the Market, the Place de L’Indépendance whose hotel’s facade could be revitalized by graffitists and many other places will be invested to give each Dakarois, and beyond that each Senegalese, the opportunity to participate, each in his or her own mea-sure, in this celebration of African creativity. We plan to move some 0f the immobile railroad cars from the station on the Avenue … where these unconventional places will be invested by artists and will also serve as information kiosks.

States of Opacity SYMPOSIUM

This symposium is curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose and Mara Ambrožič. Alioune Diop had opened the conference of Black writers and artists held at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1956 with these words: “After Bandung, the first most important event for non-European consciences, the 1st World Congress of men of black culture is the second event of the decade.” [Alioune Diop, Présence Africaine, n°8/9/10, 1956]

It is up to us to awaken this useful dream through the precious tool that is the Dakar Biennale. We must return to the beginning of things, not to reproduce a pale and outdated copy, but to update the terms of the debate and forge the weapons of a creative sustainability of re-enchantments.

With: Kader Attia, N’Gone Fall, Kodwo Eshun, Jorge Fernandez Torres, Cheryl Finley, Henriette Gunkel, Srećko Horvat, Aliocha Imhoff, Joasia Krysa, Achille Mbembe, Doreen Mende, Miran Mohar, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, Bisi Silva, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Ivor Stodorovky, David Zerbib.


Many artists have, quite rightly, expressed the desire for information on international events, market movements, copyrights, etc.

Two workshops are organized for young Senegalese professionals:
– A workshop dedicated to Cultural mediation, directed by Dagara Da-kin, to introduce them to the exhibitions of the Biennale. They will thus become the mediators for the local and international audience to the art works.
– A workshop dedicated to the Art critic, directed by Frédérique Chapuis. During the opening week, a daily newspaper will be produced by the participants of the workshop.

For the full list of participating artists and more info see: