Swiss participation at Dak’Art Biennale [Dakar]
Initially intended to take place in 2020, the 14th edition of the Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal is now taking place from 19 May to 21 June 2022. The theme of this biennale focuses on the urgent need to contemplate and reinvent new models. The curatorial statement expands, “The new global geopolitical structures are redrawing the maps with a propensity to rebalance forces, and are thus compelling African states to grapple with antagonistic internal dynamics. Civil society activism for more justice and equitable sharing of resources, emerging civic awareness, advocacy for a knowledge review, calls for monetary autonomy and revaluation of legacies, variable geometry ecological and social challenges place the African continent at the crossroads of new interrogations.
At this year’s biennale, our office is pleased to be supporting the premier of a new project by Uriel Orlow, Botany of Death, Botany of Life, developed over the past few years through a series of residencies and in collaboration with local partners. In addition to this, the Zurich office of Pro Helvetia is supporting two other projects that include the participation of Swiss artists.
Black Rock Senegal presents BLACK ROCK 40, a group exhibition that seeks to celebrate cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary platforms that contribute to creative production in West Africa. This will be Black Rock’s inaugural exhibition to feature work made by the 32 artists who have participated in the artist-in-residence programme between 2019 and 2021. Their work will be presented alongside a selection of artworks made by artists and artisans who live and make work in Senegal and who have been central to the first two years of the residency. Swiss artist, Laurence Bonvin, will be one of the participating artists-in-residence in BLACK ROCK 40. She will present the medium-length film Ghost Fair Trade that she worked on with Cheikh Ndiaye while in residence at Black Rock Senegal. On the site of the Senegal International Center of Foreign Trade (CICES), the Dakar International Trade Fair has taken place annually since 1974. This film introduces viewers to a masterpiece of architectural modernism through this key event as well as other commercial, political, and cultural events that lend a sense of rhythm to the venue, contrasting with the day-to-day stillness. Step by step, a narrative unfolds that reveals invisible presences, evoking the site’s complex history – where animism, independence, and postcolonial heritage intertwine.
Checkpoint Dakar is a multidisciplinary exhibition by Francois Burland, Audry Cavelius and Stanislas Delarue, co-produced with local partner Yataal Art. The project develops on from an earlier edition in Switzerland, co-created with a group of young people forced into exile and focusing on their experiences, stories and memories. Through a series of interactive creative workshops developed and hosted by established artists, the participants developed material relating to their personal stories. In Dakar, the project will be co-created during a three-week residency working with local residents, refugees and returning migrants. They will engage with the stories of young migrants living in Switzerland and their relatives who remained in Senegal. Through creative workshops, the Dakar group will develop new visual translations relating to stories of migration in the form of murals, photographic portraits and other media.