Dak’Art. Biennale de l'Arte Africain Contemporain
Dak’Art, the Dakar Biennale of Art was devised in Senegal in 1989 as the Biennale de Dakar des Arts et des Lettres but – after an edition committed only to literatures, the Biennale des Lettres in 1990 – was achieved in 1992 as the Biennale Internationale des Arts de Dakar. Its creation is influenced by Leopold Sedar Senghor’s ideas: between 1960 and 1980, he was the first President of Independent Senegal and was always a passionate promoter of African art and culture. Under his government the nation developed a flourishing cultural context that will later lead to the birth of Dak’Art which, from its second edition in 1992, is exclusively dedicated to visual arts. This essay describes history, management and organization of its editions, until 2014, analysing some artists and artworks as case histories. The study identifies therefore the characteristics of a Biennale that is purposefully Pan-African, committed to giving visibility and prominence to African contemporary art, which is still poorly represented in the international art system.
Keywords: Senegal • Dak’Art • Art Biennial • Leopold Sedar Senghor • Contemporary African Art