BISO BIENNALE 2023: Burkina Faso Welcomes Sculptors from Different Parts of the Continent

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Founded by photographer Nyaba Léon Ouédraogo and dealer Christophe Person in 2018, the 3rd Biennale Internationale de Sculpture de Ouagadougou (BISO) has become a remarkable celebration of contemporary crafts and art in Africa. This year, the BISO Biennale is an extraordinary showcase of sculptures that truly define what it means to be African, and it is taking place from September 4 to November 4, 2023.

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Doni Doni,2023-Abou Traore, BurkinaFaso Bronze sculpture. 16x16cm

Embracing African Artistry

The theme for this year’s event is “The Fire of Origins,” inspired by Congolese author Emmanuel Dongala’s work. The showcase delves into profound questions of Africanness, Afrodescendence, the Black Atlantic, and the Global South. It is a journey through art that explores identity, heritage, and cultural interconnectedness, making it a significant cultural event in Africa and its diaspora.

Curated by Louise Thurin, the art fair delves into complex definitions of Africanness and blackness, using the novel as a guide to capture the spirit of resistance against colonial rule through art. Sculpture is acknowledged as a profound expression of Africa’s artistic heritage, establishing itself as the regenerative fire of art on the continent.

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Contemporary sculptures. Image courtesy of  BISO Biennale Internationale de Sculpture de Ouagadougou.

A Diverse and Vibrant Showcase

The BISO Biennale features diverse artists from the African continent, enriching the cultural tapestry of the event. Participating artists include talents like Rachel Marsil from France/Senegal, Boukaré Bonkoungou from Burkina Faso, Evans Mbugua from Kenya, and Steeve Bauras from Martinique, France, among others. Their creations breathe life into the theme of origins and cultural interconnectedness.

Eminent personalities such as Abdoulaye Konaté from Mali, Barthélémy Toguo from Cameroon, and Gauz from Ivory Coast serve as the juries for the event, adding to the prestige of the showcase.

The Heart of the Event

The BISO Biennale takes place at the FESPACO headquarters in Ouagadougou, providing an ideal backdrop for this artistic extravaganza. With free admission, the event welcomes art enthusiasts and fosters a sense of unity and appreciation for the diverse expressions of creativity.

The 3rd Biennale Internationale de Sculpture de Ouagadougou (BISO) – “The Fire of Origins” stands as a testament to the power of art in preserving heritage and igniting conversations about identity and belonging. Through the sculptors’ hands, the fire of origins continues to burn brightly, illuminating paths to a more interconnected world.

Sculpting Hope in Burkina Faso

The International Biennial of Sculpture of Ouagadougou chisels an art of hope in Burkina Faso. It provides a platform for artists to showcase their work in a supportive environment and to exchange experiences and skills with other artists. This interaction between artists and the public enhances the dynamism of the city’s artists’ organizations and their global perception.

Apart from the exhibition, BISO also organizes numerous events and OFF exhibitions in the city of Ouagadougou, arranged by Studio Hamed Ouattara. This includes various workshops, exhibitions, and art centers that are open to the general public.

BISO’s mission also extends to increasing access to art and culture for the public. During the event, various educational workshops are set up, which are open to a young audience who may sometimes be far from culture. These workshops are led by local artists and some artists welcomed in residence within the framework of the event.

The International Biennial of Sculpture in Ouagadougou is a celebration of African artistry, heritage, and cultural diversity, showcasing how art can be a powerful force in bringing people together and preserving the essence of Africa’s origins.

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