« […] I attended the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal from the 23rd May to the 30th of the same month. The Biennale, which takes place every 2 years, is one of the largest and most renowned contemporary art shows in Africa with over 80 African artists selected to participate in the official Biennale. Alongside the official festival, there are over 200 other art exhibitions around Dakar – under the title of Dak’Art Off – showcasing even more contemporary art works… The highlights of the trip included visiting all the 4 galleries that housed the official selection and seeing for the first time, works by artists that I had only read in books. E.g: El Anatsui; Malangatana Ngwengwe. On Dak’Art Off, I was continually surprised by how far the exhibitions reached; from offices to restaurants to the beach front! Transforming Dakar into an art space. This was my greatest learning and inspiration; that contemporary art can be embraced by all parts of the society and incorporated into even mainstream settings like banks and insurance firms! Meeting artists from Dakar was also great and the opportunity to share experiences from Nairobi and the Kenyan Art scene…. On the 6th July, I will be having a presentation in Nairobi at the GoDown Arts Centre where I will share my experience in Dakar with Kenyan artists. I hope this meeting will spark conversation about our art making practice here in Kenya and also ignite others interest in attending Dak’Art 2008. From connections made in Dakar, I would also be very interested in seeing artists from Dakar have opportunities to attend our workshops and residencies here in Nairobi at Kuona Trust since there is much to share and exchange. Likewise, to see artists from Kenya go to Dakar on art opportunities. Finally, for Dak’Art 2008, it would be wonderful and it seems possible to have an exhibition of some Kenyan art works as part of the Dak’Art Off…The value of exchange is not only in terms of art making but also for exchange of culture. Dakar and Nairobi have completely different cultures and as such there is much to be shared…I am much more interested in Africa-to-Africa exposures, which I believe help in the growth of our own identity …I am glad to have been present for Dak’Art 2006. I would recommend for Kenyan artists and arts administrators to attend…Also, coming specifically from Kenya, the opportunity to live in a totally different culture is mind-broadening and positive. I found Dakar to be a peaceful town in which I felt safe; the people were ever helpful and often surprisingly kind…”
Grant Year : 2006
Mobility project to attend Dak’Art Biennale – the Biennale of Contemporary African Art, 7th Edition held from 5th May to 5th June 2006.
Type of Project
Departure : Nairobi (Kenya, East Africa)
Destination : Dakar – Senegal (West Africa)