Àsìkò: A History of Contemporary Art in Senegal in 5 Weeks

DAK'ART 2014, Dakar, Senegal
05 May 2014 - 07 Jun 2014

Àsìkò: A History of Contemporary Art in Senegal in 5 Weeks

Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh, 'S.A.F.P.A. (Six and Four:Prison Anxieties),' 2013. Installation detail, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Accra, 2013. Courtesy the artist.

CCA, Lagos presents in collaboration with Synergie Contemporaine, Dakar, Àsìkò, the fourth edition of its international art programme under the title A History of Contemporary Art in Senegal in 5 Weeks as part of the OFF at the 11th Dakar Biennale.

In 2010, CCA, Lagos began an innovative programme with the aims of filling a gap in the art education curricula in Nigeria and other African countries, which tend to ignore the critical methodologies and histories that underpin artistic practice. Using the format of part art laboratory, part residency and part informal art academy, over the course of 35 intensive days The History of Contemporary Art in Senegal in 5 Weeks will focus partially on technique and primarily on methodology, critical thinking, and the implementation of conceptual ideas as well as the development and role of curatorial practice.

At the end of the 2013 Àsìkò, The Archive: Static, Practice and Embodied held in Accra, the participants provocatively titled their final project, A History of Contemporary Art in Ghana in the Last Five Weeks. Was this gesture an attempt to indicate that the complex history of contemporary art practice in Ghana could be broached within the temporal period allotted—five weeks? Certainly such an elaborate history condensed and absorbed in the space of 35 days, or 840 hours, is subject to questioning. Despite its inevitable sentiments of reductiveness, the title nonetheless provided a space of examination and reflexivity, a space in which to dwell on the effects of time and its potential in tune with the central theme of “The Archive.”

For the fourth edition of Àsìkò, we move towards an open discursive model that allows the research interests of both the participants and the faculty to be highlighted. We will focus on and explore African and African Diaspora cultural production, examining its shifts and developments in recent years using the 11th Biennale of Dakar—namely its main exhibition—as well as the over 200 or so Dak’Art OFF exhibitions and public programmes as the point of departure. The programme will engage and examine the various aesthetic and contextual strategies deployed by artists, curators and scholars working across a diversity of forms including visual art, literature, cinema and dance and the critical and cultural theory that accompanies it.

Some of the questions that will be investigated include: What are the themes and issues that have concerned African and African Diaspora artists over the last few decades? How can diverse formats such as film, literature, theatre, dance and the visual art be used to develop a discourse that emanates from the continent? In exploring the richness and the multiplicities of our art and culture, knowledge of the past and the present will be used to engage current realities and alternative futures. This intent is couched in ideas such as those expressed by acclaimed Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop: “Whatever its meaning in the past, it [art] must help us today to solve our current problems, to adapt to our new living conditions. On political and social fronts, it should, without ever relinquishing its aesthetic ideal, put the burning issues of the day on the table…” Such an outlook accords us close interrogation of the various context of politics, culture, aesthetics, patronage, gender, and as well as the impacts of colonialism, post-colonial thought and globalisation on artistic practice across Africa.

In addition to its core programme Àsìkò includes the curatorial lab and the Global Crit Clinic that have become an integral component of the initiative. Begun in 2012 in response to an urgent need for more curators on the continent, the participating curators will be encouraged to develop their research methodologies, hone their proposal development as well as their critical writing skills, engage closely with artists from across the continent as well as with experienced professionals from around the world. In the third participation of the Global Crit Clinic, a pioneering project initiated in 2011—spearheaded by Kianga Ford and led with Shane Aslan Selzer—consolidates its role as an integral component of the project. The Global Crit Clinics are two-week intensive programmes rooted in the Fine Arts pedagogical studio critique, designed to serve international communities where emerging fine artists have limited access to rigorous, idea-based dialogue.

Àsìkò will be led by a distinguished visiting faculty of artists, curators and academics including Joseph Adande (BN), Jonathas de Andrade (BR), Lisa Aronson (US), Rashida Bumbray (US), Eddie Chambers (UK), Mimi Cherono Ng’ok (KN), Modibo Diawara(SN), Viye Diba (SN), Baba Diop (SN), N’Gone Fall (SN), Dominique Fontaine (CAN), Tamar Garb (SA/UK), Koyo Kouoh (CM), Simone Leigh (US) Moyo Okediji (NG), Nana Offoriata-Ayim (GH), Emeka Ogboh (NG), Olu Oguibe (NG), Wangechi Mutu (KN), Rosana Paulino (BR), Aura Seikkula (FIN), Mady Sima (SN), and Amadou Kane Sy (SN).

Facilitators for the Global Crit Clinic are Stephanie Cardon (US), Kianga Ford (US) (lead facilitator), Karyn Olivier (US) and Shane Aslan Selzer (US).

Nduwhite Ndubuisi Ahanonu (NG), Lassana Igo Diarra (MALI), Eza Komla (Togo), Taiye Idahor (NG), Kitso Lynn Lelliot (SA), Vasco Manhiça (MOZ), Rafiy Smith Okefolahan (BN), Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh (GH), Moses Serubiri (UG), Tito Valery (CM), Dana Whabira (ZIM) and Cliford Zulu (ZIM)

A History of Contemporary Art in Senegal in 5 Weeks has been conceived and developed by the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.

Project Curator: Bisi Silva 

Project Co-ordinator: Erin M. Rice

Dakar Project Advisor: Viye Diba

Àsìkò is part of the OFF programme of the 11th Dakar Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2014. 

Dak’Art 2014
Dakar, Senegal
T + 221 77 777 71 12




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