Dak’art, the South African
June 1 2012
It is the “big art event” time of the year with the Berlin Biennale, Manifesta, dOCUMENTA, Art Basel, Liste all taking place in a short timespan and on a rather smallish piece of Europe. Amidst all this, the Dakar Biennale, the only sub-Sahara African art biennale, celebrates its 10th edition with 42 artists from 21 African countries. A distinguishing feature of the Dakar Biennale is its OFF program, spread over no less than 180 venues in Dakar. The OFF program is not the obligatory “let’s open the doors now that a big art crowd is coming to town,” but an independent movement that functions as a catalyst for the art scene in Dakar and beyond.
Smaller, independent art spaces such as Kër Thiossane, organizing the Afropixel festival dedicated to new media art, or Raw Material Company, hosting another important independent space from the continent: the Cameroonian Doual’Art, are prime examples of this, as are the big exhibition in a former factory called La Biscuiterie, co-curated by Koyo Kouoh from Raw Material Company, and the tribute to the late Cameroonian artist Goddy Leye held at the French Institute. The art scene in Dakar is bound to flourish further, with singer Youssou N’Dour recently appointed Minister of Tourism and Culture. (Maaike Lauwaert)
The OFF program of Dak’art runs until June 10th, date on which we will launch KALEIDOSCOPE Magazine’s Special Summer Issue on Africa.