At the Dakar Biennale, the city itself is the most colorful canvas

Dakar, Senegal — FOMO season in the capital of Senegal.

Even when attending the opening of this year’s Dakar Biennale exhibition, he yells at the artwork and envy the costumes people find, but he may miss a better scene somewhere else. I have. What’s happening — now! — Can I participate in the other 5 openings scattered around this seaside capital?

This is a (fun) challenge faced by the lucky people in Senegal at this year’s Biennale. This Biennale has become one of the largest and arguably the coolest contemporary art events on the African continent.

The BiennaleOpened last month and lasting until June 21st, it is the pinnacle of the city’s vibrant cultural calendar. ArtistCollectors and trendsetters around the world.

However, experiencing art in Dakar is easy and exciting at any time of the year. Art and style are embedded in everyday life here, and people who are locked out of all the offers of the Biennale for time and money can easily modify the art by just taking a walk in almost every direction. ..

The sandy streets outside my apartment are collages or reliefs, newly created every morning with footprints, motorcycle skids, and floating bougainvillea flowers. The guard’s rattling chair made of worn-out canoe shards is still life. Fruit sellers use mangoes and baggy umbrellas to create installations.

You don’t need a party to find beautiful costumes. Old Friday, after spending 10 minutes on the street corner, people wearing avant-garde sunglasses, pointed slippers, funky heels, and shiny vagin rainbow-colored damask cotton robes. The tabrow is guaranteed.

The Art on display Great at this year’s old Palais de Justice. However, people roam the ruins of half the building itself (quiet courtyards, central courtyards, falling ceilings) and are visited by as many people as they see the curator’s recommendations. Here, coup plotters, potential assassins, and opposition politicians tried until cracks began to appear in the concrete walls of the building’s Brutalist. Abandoned in the early 1990s.

But 24 years later, in 2016, the door was finally reopened and became the new home for the main exhibition at the Biennale.

The feeling of meandering through the hall is something you often encounter in Dakar. It’s especially the feeling of riding a splattering yellow taxi, where the radio is blunting Sufi chanting as you barrel down the seaside boulevard of Dakar, Cornish. On the left is the pale sea that runs for miles through the tanned palm leaves. On the right, prayer calls echo from nearby and distant mosques.

It’s a city I still call my hometown, a feeling of sweet nostalgia while I’m still alive.

But the city is changing every day. The sound of construction machinery, the glare of building lighting, and the cargo of trucks of cement loaded on trucks all ensure the transformation of Dakar, which can appear hourly, and the fruit trees of flat-roofed apartments. The garden suddenly sprouts in a palm tree orchard. I was standing just recently.

Therefore, those who really deserve to feel nostalgic about Dakar are those who know the city with much less traffic, pollution, property speculation and an uninterrupted line of sight to the sea.

The theme of this year’s Biennale, Ĩ’N daffa in Serer, means to forge in English, but it seems appropriate. Outside the art gallery, Dakar metalworkers are busy building new cities out of rebar.

An apartment tower is planned at the entrance to the plateau in downtown Art Deco and Neo-Sudanese architecture. Huge structures dominate the center of the city.

Block-shaped glass and concrete building monsters rise to the outskirts of a small residential area in a low villa. One is a lighthouse and the other is two hills covered with Soviet statues built by North Koreans giving the area its territory. Name — Mameres, which means “chest”.

The changes the city is experiencing are reflected in the work of the artists who live here. Some of them Usman MbayA former fridge repairman turned into a luxury furniture designer, working off the street and literally watching the city grow around them.

In the rapidly calm area of ​​former street artist Ngor, Saadio, Currently with commercial success. He showed me his latest work, the fun riots of scooters and Nescafe canvas, radio and cats and colors, all part of the daily Dakar tapestry. He shook his arm in one of the recent paintings of a policeman stopping a taxi driver.

“It’s traffic and pollution,” he said, and a little time to notice that this wasn’t just part of the painting, but its title, its overall theme, and why he painted the block-shaped building black. It took gray.

Biele’s success and the city’s wider art scene are part of what is driving the construction and gentrification boom that is creating the new Dakar.

However, there is no doubt that the city will not change beyond recognition. Even though it was covered in gray stains, the Sadio canvas was flashing his and the city’s trademark colors many times.

And even with all the changes, it would be difficult to completely eliminate Dakar’s natural tableau. A street hawker that sews between the posh and the carriage is reflected in a large gold-framed mirror for sale, with a screwdriver, handle, or bridle in hand.

You can see the silvery sea in the sky next to the second floor, especially when the dry, dusty winds of the Harmattan season are blowing. Also, the huge pumice-like coastal volcanic rocks go nowhere. It gave the artist a workspace. Kehin Dewiley Its name: Blackrock Senegal..

And no matter how many developments we see, what remains is the twisted paper around the black-eyed bean sandwich (the city’s classic breakfast food). Sometimes newspapers decades ago, sometimes children’s homework, voting.

I miss the Biennale party circuit. But then I’ll be able to roam the Palais de Justice alone again, the flashy people are gone, because of the old Dakar dose, we all may eventually feel nostalgic ..

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