Amary Sobel Diop

Country: Senegal

Apologie pour la paix (Apology for peace): aluminium plates taken from spray deodorants, copper wire, sewing, stitching, courtesy of the artist.

Tawakul Karman : 97 cm x 129
Aline Sitoe Diatta : 80 cm x 106 cm
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf : 103 cm x 129
Leymah Roberta Gbowee : 105 cm x 129 cm
Rigoberta Manchu Tum : 80 cm x 106 cm

A reality of the 21st century announces that the world will acknowledge women as we acknowledge reason. During the 20th and the 21th centuries, women began a fierce struggle for human rights. 
With Apologie pour la paix, Amary Sobel Diop pays tribute to the women of the past few decades responsible for a fragile peace, maintained through their actions: Her Excellence Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her compatriot Leymah Rigoberta Gbowee of Liberia, Burma’s Aung San Suu KYI, India’s Macedonian Mother Teresa, North Ireland’s Corrigan Mairead, Guatemala’s Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Yemen’s Tawakkul Karman, and Aline Sitoe Diatta of Senegal and the West African sub-region.
Among these remarkable personalities, the Biennale of Dakar chose to show a series of portraits, which include etched biographies of each individual.
The unique technique of stitched-assemblage, used to create each of these works, speaks to the need for uniqueness and to the coordination necessary to restore and to preserve a universal peace, called for by the artist.

Born in 1971 in Diourbel, Amary Sobel Diop lives and works in Senegal. He studied at the Ecole Nationale des Arts of Dakar and became an art teacher in 2009. He intended to be a committed artist as he deals in his works with topical issues such as deforestation, peace culture, restoration and preservation of African cultural heritage, empowerment and enhancement of women. With a rather special technique he calls assembly couture, he retrieves, sew, glue and paint materials to express feelings, emotions and convey messages.

View online : http://sobel12.skyrock.com


Africa’s Longest Running Biennial DAK’ART 2014 Coverage

The much anticipated 11th edition of Africa’s longest running contemporary art biennial, Dak’Art opened earlier this month on May 9th and runs until June 8.

Dak’Art 2014 Makes Contemporary African Art Visible on  Another Africa


All images courtesy of  © Aida Muluneh. All rights reserved.


Victor Ekpuk

Country: Nigeria

State of Beings (Totem) : installation, 220 x510x452x4 cm, acrylic vinyl and metal on wood panel and vinyl mat, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Fondation Jean-Paul Blachère, Apt, France.

State of Beings is a mixed media installation that combines painting and sculpture in equal measure. The sculptural portion of the work stands upright against the wall whereas the painting is primarily on the floor. The two connect through the continuous lines of Nsibidi, an ancient graphic system that is autochthonous to south-eastern Nigeria and the Ejagham area of northern Cameroon. The swirling script-like patterns of State of Beings are also based on Ekpuk’s own invented signs. The fluidity of the symbols creates continuity in the installation, merging the wall into the ground seamlessly. Conceptually, the installation is a totemic portrayal of the male-female binary as composite of the human condition. The two figures physically face each other. Their emotional and psychic connection is evident in the thick red line that runs across the work, from the head of the male figure to the head of the female.

Victor Ekpuk was born in Nigeria in 1964. In 1989 Victor received his Bachelor of Fine Art degree (BFA), Obafemi Awowolo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he first explored the aesthetic philosophies in indigenous African art forms like Nsibidi, and Uli. Their economy of lines and encoded meanings led him to further explore drawing as writing, and to the invention of his own glyphs. In addition to operating a painting studio in Lagos, he was also a prominent editorial illustrator/political cartoonist for Nigerian newspapers before moving to the United States in 1999. He currently lives and works in Washington DC.

Larry Achiampong

Often starting from the personal, with the I (like in classical narrative forms such as the Ayan of the Akan), then having it represent the many. In Larry Achiampong’s work, his Cloudface, embedded in his personal, but also the ubiquitous and recognisable iconography of West African homes in the Diaspora,  - the thick soft carpet, the glint frames, the patterned wallpaper, - becomes a form of protest, of marking out difference


Radcliffe Bailey

Country: USA

Style: Installation

Storm at Sea : installation, variable dimensions, 2007, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Radcliffe Bailey’s installation explores the Middle Passage with leitmotifs associated with black experience of the transatlantic slave trade. These elements — a ship, bobbing human heads, and the sea itself represented by piano keys— are heavily charged with symbolism and history in a contemporary context. On the floor they are put together to evoke a historical narrative, each of the elements command equal attention. The ship is cloaked in a glittery black paint to attend a cosmic dimension to the installation. The ship and heads are placed atop a tumult of piano keys. Piano keys are a recurring medium in Bailey’s work. Here they convey layers of meaning and experiences. The piano keys are both the waves of the ocean and the hypothetical splintered remains of a ship wrecked by the storm. They also represent the bones of all who were lost during the infamous transatlantic slave trade.

Radcliffe Bailey was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA in 1968. He obtained a BFA from Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, USA in 1991. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, USA. He considers himself forever a student of the “Then and Now”. Trained as a painter and sculptor, he utilizes the layering of imagery, culturally resonant materials and text, to explore themes of ancestry, race and memory. He believes that by translating his personal experiences, he can achieve an understanding of, and healing from, a universal history. His work is often made from found materials and certain pieces from his past and present. This includes traditional African sculpture, tintypes of family members, piano keys and Georgia red clay. Highly experimental artist who have enjoyed tremendous success,




Born in 1970 in Tangier, Mounir Fatmi lives and works between Paris and Tangier. His videos, installations, drawings, paintings and sculptures bring to light our ambiguities, our doubts, our fears and our desires. His work deals with the desecration of the religious object, of the deconstruction and the end of dogmas and ideologies.

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Olu Amoda

Country: Nigeria

Style: Sculpture

Sunflower : painted repurposed steel belt, spoons and mild steel, 205cm of diameter, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Art Twenty One, Lagos.

Olu Amoda’s Sunflower juxtaposes the strength of his medium—steel and metal spoons—against the softness of his subject matter—a sunflower. The contrasting medium and subject matter draw attention to each other. Amoda succeeds in representing intricate textures through this juxtaposition. In daily life, nails are meant to be as discreet as possible in holding things together. Amoda flags the usually inconspicuous material, using it as the chief component of this sculpture. Each nail is tiny but important, just like the hundreds of individual florets of an actual sunflower that can turn into seeds. Similarly, the spoons around the edge of the work are simultaneously discernible as individual objects and indistinguishable from the whole of the flower’s petals. The multiple and contrasting elements evoke a tension on one level and help to give the work its impressive symmetrical form on another level. It is this tension that gives vent to Sunflower’s social message. Amoda often repurposes discarded materials. Sunflower is no different. It is the perfect illustration of the transformation of inconspicuous materials into objects of beauty. The nails that make up the flower’s center were recuperated from containers that arrived at Lagos’s Tin Can Island port bearing luxury goods for the Nigerian elite and so-called growing middle-class. Sun Flower thus presents a subtle commentary on primitive consumerism as the new cool in Africa and how global neoliberalism masks Nigeria’s, and by extension, Africa’s lack of industrial agency.

Olu Amodais an internationally celebrated Nigerian sculptor, muralist, furniture designer, and multi-media artist whose iconic work using repurposed materials and metal expresses the very best of modern African sensibility.



Nidhal Chamekh 

Country: Tunisia

De quoi rêvent les martyrs? (What martyrs dream of ?): serie of 6 drawings, ink, graphite and transfer, 40 x 60 cm each, 2012/2013, © Nidhal Chamekh.

The serieDe quoi rêvent les martyrs ?, is a set of 18 drawings created during three periods, over the course of three years. The drawings showed here are the current states of this work. Combining various graphic techniques, they confront several visual registers, social and formal, ranging from expressiveness to scientific schemas.
Drawing is at the origins of art. It makes up the inconspicuous layer that hides beneath a painting, without ever disappearing, or behind a sculpture, a video, an installation, without ever falling into oblivion. For each and every artistic creation there is always a preliminary drawing. Thus we can say that a drawing is a beginning without ever being an end. And the beginning is exactly where Nidhal Chamekh wants to go with his drawing.
What goes through the mind of a human being so that he goes to adventure alongside death, to make a desired destiny? Like a journey for which we have already fantasized the ending, “We are beings to the end” (Martin Heidegger) left to death. Yet the destiny of a Man’s life carries down to an attempt to forget this obligation.
Against all reason, the martyr described in Nidhal’s drawing plans his meeting with death, he provokes it. That’s how these drawings come back to the beginning, the dream of a life that has become the dream of a death, to dissect it, to describe it, without ever understanding it or justifying it.

Born in 1985 in Dahmani, Tunisia,Nidhal Chamekhlives and works between Paris and Tunis. He is a visual artist and a painter. He studied in the Fine Arts school of Tunis and Paris and carries out his doctoral research at the Sorbonne. The popular districts of Tunis where he grew up and the persecution of his militant family will have a deep impact on his art. He began exhibiting his work at the age of 12, in Tunisia, and later in France and other European countries. His plastic research unfolds around the fragmented forms of reality and its possible languages. In his work, the figurative element remains clearly present but the subject is often blurry or almost absent.
His line, essentially fragmented, draws on all eras and confuses spaces and cultures. We could consider his work as a « sampler » of the chaos of history. It is about creating plans able to operate some « cross-sections » of the chaos, to constitute a kind of social and cultural archaeology to make perceptible the historical complexity of the images. It has to do with introducing the montage as a tool to see the social temporality and to collect in the same space the visual dislocation of the world.




Mahi Binebine

Country: Morroco

Style: Diptychs

Untitled : diptych, wax and pigments on wood board, 220 x 100 m each, 2012, courtesy of the artist.

The temptation to depict is a continuity in the work ofMahi Binebine. It is a temptation that he tries to resist. These are paintings that resist a figurative simplicity.
Settled between an undoubted presence and the continuous need to disappear, the paintings that he produces question an issue that is never asked: What remains of representation? Because when an artist paints, in many respects, he produces a remnant that falls into a relative eternity.
“Put what is already there before your eyes” said Abdelkbir Khattibi (Moroccan philosopher), about representation. When considering the work of Mahi Binebine, it is a question of what is already there that escapes reason. To say that this painting represents men or women would be to not examine it closely. Each body painted by Binebine refuses any kind of category. Asexual, unidentified, these “humans, hardly humans” figures live in lost geographies. The figures are suspended and set in to the memory of architecture, tangled together, these bodies link Eros and Thanatos in a disturbing ballet of dancing colours.

Born in 1959 in Marrakech,Mahi Binebinesettled there definitely in 2002 after long lived and worked in Paris, New York and Madrid. The career of this artist is atypical: professor of mathematics at Paris, he left teaching in the late 80s to devote himself to writing and painting and, more recently, sculpture.




Name: Ismaila Fatty

Country: Gambia

Working with fabric that is typically used for clothing and home furnishing, Ismaïla Fatty creates three sculptural wall hangings. In Trial with Jute, Fatty allows the medium to determine the creative process rather than working from a preconceived plan in order to understand the characteristics and capacity of this soft vegetable fiber used to make burlap. Trial with Jute is pivotal to the artist’s use of the material in later works. L’indisponible, which roughly translates to “the unavailable one,” explores Fatty’s heritage. For him, heritage is what gives a person his or her identity. Similarly, Spiritual Resurrection deals with the erosion of culture which is also the bedrock of identity formation. According to the artist, the work arose after a conversation about the lack of African language in academic curricula and the teaching of academic subjects in foreign languages. For the artist, it is difficult to transfer spirituality to younger ones using foreign languages.

Ismaïla Fatty was born in Thies in 1957 a Senegalese mother and a Gambian father. From 1974 to 1988, he worked in The Gambia where he re discovers Karabulo’s technique (textile batik dyeing technique ) and its extraordinary potential for experimentation. It is settled in Sweden since 1988. He created an art space, Husby Konst Och Hantverksforening in Stockholm (Sweden). He learnt Gambia’s oldest tie batik techniques from Sarahole immigrants from Mali and Guinea Bissau, knowledge he taught since 1988 in Sweden. During Husby-Dakar (2005-2009) workshop that he organized, wood sculptors, silversmiths and potters from Senegal and Sweden exchanged local techniques and cultural heritage. Between 2009 and 2013, he was artistic director of Workers’ Educational Association of Salongen, Stockholm.

View online : www.karabulo.se

The Dak'Art Edition

Sorry for the silence. We have been working hard to bring you the Dak’Art edition for this month, featuring the works and artists currently featured at the Dak’Art Biennale *currently ongoing at the Dakar biennial