2024 Dakar Biennale Postponed to November 7th

2024 Dakar Biennale

Senegal’s Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture has announced the postponement of the fifteenth edition of the Dak’Art Biennial of Contemporary African Art. Originally slated to run from May 16 to June 16, this year’s event will now take place from November 7 to December 7. Organizers have cited the need to ensure an exceptional artistic experience and are awaiting optimal conditions for the event to unfold, maintaining its status as one of the country’s premier art happenings.

The announcement, made on April 24, comes just over two weeks before the scheduled opening, causing adjustments for attendees who had already purchased tickets and made travel arrangements. According to Le Quotidien d’Art, approximately five hundred off-site exhibitions remain unaffected by the postponement. The decision is attributed to both uncertainties in the political climate and logistical challenges in event preparation.

Senegal’s recent presidential election, resulting in the victory of Bassirou Diomaye Faye, occurred amidst a backdrop of societal unrest and political tension. The election, marked by mass protests, underscores the challenges faced by the country’s democracy. Faye’s election victory reflects the sentiments of a significant portion of the population, particularly among the youth demographic.

Preparations for the Biennial, which typically commence months in advance, faced delays, including logistical arrangements for transporting artworks and venue setup. The former Palais de Justice, serving as the Biennial venue since 2016, lacked necessary preparations even before the election period. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding financial transparency, with reports of discrepancies in event spending.

Since its inception, the Dak’Art Biennial has been a significant platform for showcasing contemporary African art, attracting global attention and contributing to the recognition of African artists on the international stage. Notable talents such as Ibrahim Mahama, Emo de Medeiros, and Nnenna Okore have gained exposure through the Biennial. The 2024 edition, curated by Salimata Diop under the theme “The Wake,” promises to address pertinent political, ecological, and societal transformations, with a spotlight on Dakar.

The postponement reflects the commitment of Senegal’s cultural authorities to ensure the success of the Biennial under optimal conditions, despite prevailing challenges. With the new dates set for November, anticipation grows for an impactful and transformative artistic experience during the rescheduled Dak’Art Biennial.

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