“Biennial of Dakar”

Dakar in the red hour

Until 2 June, the 13th edition of the Biennial of Dakar – Dak’art – is being held in Senegal. Over one month, dozens of artists and curators are getting the African capital to swing to the rhythm of contemporary art. An international-scale event reflecting growing interest in contemporary art on the African continent. Two years ago, the Biennial of Dakar paid homage to Léopold Sédar Senghor by choosing the theme “The City in the Blue Day”. In 2018, a new look at négritude is on the programme, with a change in colour to boot… This year, Dak’art is paying homage to Aimé Césaire and shifting to “the Red Hour”. The formula is poetic and socially aware: it is an invitation to evasion and anger. But could things be otherwise with Césaire? “The red hour” is an expression drawn from the play Et les chiens se taisaient, written in 1946. A text that broaches themes dear to the African author, such as emancipation, freedom and responsibility. A key event in African cultural life, Dak’art 2018 is placed under the dual banner of cultural and political affirmation. The event is being organised under the high patronage of the president of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall. In addition, the Biennale is being supported, at a rate of 75 %, by the country’s Ministry of Culture, headed up by Abdou Latif Coulibaly. A rate of State commitment that may well leave some in Europe or America wistful. Senegalese authorities have understood the importance of the cultural field in handling the issue of identity. Not so long ago, the Minister of Culture commented that the 2018 edition of Dak’art would be placed “under the double banner of consolidating achievements and innovation”. Its promotion of African creativity on an international scale thus allows the...

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