Arts + Culture
Image via coraliecocorabadan's Instagram.

The 2018 DAK'ART Biennale Was a Creative Playground For African Artists

A look back at Senegal's biggest contemporary art gathering.

The dust has settled and Senegal has bid adieu to it's momentous 13th Dak'art Biennale. It proved to be the landmark event it's meant to be. From May 3rd to June 2nd, hundreds of works were shown and events took place in Dakar and surrounding areas.

The grandiose Ancien Palais de Justice stood at the center of the IN, like it did in 2016, with a number of paintings, photos, sculptures, videos and installations placed throughout its atriums and courtyards. IN artists' works called to mind a desire for unity, acceptance and home.

The OFF was the Biennale's playground, showcasing artists who didn't necessarily adhere to the Red Hour theme. Eclectic pieces were placed in hotels, restaurants, shops, by monuments, beaches, etc. The decentralization of art was awe-inspiring.




Press, creatives, merchants, art connoisseurs and visitors excitedly descended on the artistic hub. The works on display were a mélange of styles, subjects and materials.

It is important to note, there were realities evident in Dakar that I was not privy to upon my arrival in the city. Despite my excitement that its inhabitants were a critical part of this experience, I quickly learned that many of them had no idea this event was taking place. My driver and guide entered l'Ancien Palais de Justice dumbfounded by what was inside. They voraciously took in pieces much like I did.

Art can not possibly play a critical role in the life of someone who does not come from a realm of existence like my own.

With the Biennale, there are social, economic and political factors at play. Simon Njami, curator, was tasked with making a number of unconventional decisions. He re-trained a number of workers from 2016 to facilitate the events. A number of artists on display at the Biennale lived outside the continent, therefore needed to be offered visas; he did just that. He reached out to 50 percent of the artists on display. He opened the event up to more than just holders of African passports so as to foster new conversations around art and the continent and its growth. Contrary to popular belief, events of this magnitude do not take place in the country. It is not home to a contemporary art museum, it lacks galleries and activities around art are a rarity. I learned post this event, the country doesn't necessarily support the arts.

To truly examine the event, it must be looked at broadly so I bar these thoughts.

I focus on this. On my second day in Dakar, as I sat at a dinner table with a Nigerian entrepreneur, Senegalese singer, Congolese artist, Haitian-Senegalese artist, Cameroonian-Chadian artist and Cameroonian deejay I realized this is what makes this event powerful. Africa, it's diaspora and individuals who consume our work come together to partake in a number of powerful dialogues. We exchange ideas. We recognize that we are living at a time where there is widespread interest in the continent and that Africa's time is indeed now.

Myself and many others look forward to Dak'Art 2020.

Here are some highlights of the 2018 Biennale:

1. Ghanaian Godfried Donkor collage series Olympians, was an ode to Senegalese wrestling.


2. The Grand Prix Léopold-Sédar-Senghor award was given to Franco-Beninese photographer for her series on breaking free, rooted in examining how Africa is portrayed in the media.

3. Egyptian artist Ibrahim Ahmed's Only Dreamers Leave was an installation of fabric sails, serving as a representation of leaving home and migrating elsewhere.

4. At L'Île de Gorée, a place where the slave trade was orchestrated, Senegalese artist Soly Cissé presented Cotton Field.

5. Nathalie Mba Bikoro's Triumph of Seagulls was a celebration of female empowerment.

6. The home of one of Africa's most notorious sculptors, Ousmane Sow, was opened for viewing.

7. Gambian photographer Lena Nian opted for a black and white gallery on tribal unity.

8. At Espace VEMA, there was the Kraftsman exhibition where Senegalese creative Papi channeled energy through pigments.

*

Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.

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(Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Senegal Advance to the Round of 16 in the World Cup

They become the first African team to do so since Nigeria and Algeria in 2014.

Senegal have secured a place in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup after their crucial game against Ecuador on Tuesday. This has pushed the Senegalese team to the knockout round of the World Cup for the first time since they emerged at the quarter-finals back in 2002.

The crucial game, which had very high stakes, saw both teams contend for the win-or-go-home game. In the first half of the game, Senegal soared over its Ecuadorian opponents, who made several attempts to match their energy and intensity. The team played with seamless energy and expertise, and in the 44th minute, Ismaïla Sarr scored a ferocious penalty goal that further ignited the competition.

Somewhere around the 67th minute, Ecuador’s Moisés Caicedo equalized for his team. But then Kalidou Koulibaly, Senegal’s team captain, took home the winning goal, with shot that placed his country in the knockout round.


This is the first time in 20 years the nation has qualified for the round of 16 since 2002, when Papa Bouba Diop was among the legends representing Senegal at the World Cup. Diop passed away in 2020 and exactly two years to the day, and Koulibaly, who scored the winning goal, wore an armband with the number number 19, on it, which was Diop’s shirt number. Senegalese fans in the stands also wore shirts with the number on it as a tribute to the deceased Senegalese icon.

In spite of Sadio Mane’s absence from the game, the Lions of Teranga proved to be proficient enough to seamlessly handle the game and bring home the win. Ismaila Sarr and Koulibaly made their country proud by scoring the goals that solidified their place as the winners.

This means that Aliou Cisse’s team will most likely face England in the next big game and potentially bring them one step closer to bringing the big win home.

The Netherlands team beat host team Qatar 2-0 in Tuesday’s other Group A game, which ultimately eliminated the host team, who struggled throughout their stint in the football competition and had a hard time winning any points over the course of the three games that they participated in.

In a conversation with Aljazeera, Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse promised that his experienced side “would not overthink” the occasion.

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Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An African Renaissance In Matchday 2 of the World Cup

Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, and Cameroon delivered great performances in the second round of games at the Qatar World Cup.

The African teams represented at the World Cup this year have started thriving.

Morocco was the leading team with four points scored from the two games that they played. During Sunday’s game, they earned an upset 0-2 win when they played against Belgium, a team that many had a favorites to go far this year.

During the second minute of first half stoppage time, Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech fired a free kick into the net. After further analysis, the goal was disallowed, but the Moroccan team bounced back in the 73rd minute when Abdelhamid Sabiri scored a seamless free kick. Zakaria Aboukhlal later scored the second role, which would secure the teams win and mark its second win since 1998.

In their opening game, Walid Regragui’s Morocco team secured a 0-0 draw with Croatia in their opening game before surpassing Belgium in their second match, to put them on the brink of a potential first last-16 spot since 1986, according to The Sporting News.

In spite of the loss of Sadio Mane due to an injury, the Senegal team performed well, with Aliou Cissé's squad winning 1-3 over host team Qatar on Friday. The goals came from Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou, and Bamba Dieng, who all played a part in securing the big win.

In heated game that they played earlier today, Cameroon tied Serbia 3-3. At the 29th minute , Cameroon’s Jean-Charles Castelletto scored the first goal, and after Serbia countered with goals of their own, Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar and Maxim Choupo-Moting would add two successive goals, that would tie the game.

Ghana also scored an impressive 3-2 win against South Korea. During the first half of the game, Mohammed Salisu scored a goal in the 24th minute and Mohammed Kudus scored in 34th minute. The third goal was secured by Kudus again, who made it in the 68th minute.

This year, four out of the five African countries represented at the World Cup have African coaches, a reality that has not been the case in previous years.

According to a report from The New York Times, four out of the five African coaches this year started their careers in European football. Senegalese-born Aliou Cissé and Cameroon’s Rigobert Song are two coaches who crafted out a career for themselves in the renowned English Premier League. Morocco’s Walid Regragui and Ghana’s Otto Addo also had successful international careers before they began their coaching career. Out of all the African coaches, Jalel Kadri is a the only coach who played for his home country of Tunisia.

Ever since the World Cup began in 1930, 13 African nations have participated in the World Cup, but only Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) have reached the quarterfinal, with none of the teams ever making it to the semi-final round, so it will be interesting to see what African teams cross that thresh hold this year.


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(Photo by via Getty Images)

The Other African Footballers in the World Cup

There are five African teams in the World Cup, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were either born in Africa, or have African ancestry.

Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia are the five African teams in the World Cup in Qatar, but there are at least 54 players on other teams who were born in Africa or have African ancestry.

This is, of course, the result of the African diaspora, the movement of people from the continent towards the rest of the world. But the stories of how African players or their families got to the other side of the world are not always so stereotypical as one might imagine. The world cup, besides a month of football, is also a way to find out about how humans move through the world. Here are a few:

One of the most talked about stories in this tournament is that of Breel Embolo, who was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but represents the Swiss national team and refused to celebrate after scoring against his country of birth last week. Embolo scored the only goal in the 1-0 Switzerland victory. It was the first goal he ever scored in a world cup, and the video of it went viral. But it wasn’t because of his technique, it was because he refused to celebrate.

Embolo moved to France when he was six years old because his mom, who had separated from his dad, went to study there. She met a Swiss man and married him, and the family eventually moved to Switzerland when the now Monaco forward was still a kid. So when he scored for his adopted country against Cameroon, he decided to stop and hold his arms up while his teammates celebrated around him.

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Music
Photo: Adama Jalloh.

Watch Stormzy's 'This Is What I Mean' Video Featuring Amaarae, Black Sherif & Ms Banks

Michael Ebenezer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr. popularly known as Stormzy recently recruited a star-studded entourage of artists to feature on the music video for “This Is What I Mean.” The record features Amaarae, Black Sherif, Ms Banks, STORRY and Jacob Collier.

Following the release of his third studio album This Is What I Mean last week, Stormzy worked with his video team to bring the song to life.

The body of work consists of 12 tracks and also features appearances from Debbie, Sampha,, and more. The new album's single, "This Is What I Mean," is a P2J, Knox Brown, Joel Peters, and PRGRSHN-produced joiny that fully highlights Stormzy’s music ingenuity.

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