With its diversity of cultures and stunning natural beauty, it's perhaps no surprise that Africa has always been a hub of art and culture. At a series of events in Dakar, Senegal, the contemporary art of the continent is taking centre stage.
Held every two years, the Dakar's 13th Biennale of Contemporary African Art is returning to the Senegalese capital. Taking place over a month from May 3 to June 2, the event - also dubbed Dak'Art, features a total of 75 artists from a range of 33 countries.
As the Biennale of Sydney has an extraordinary exhibition space on Cockatoo Island, so the Dakar Biennial has the incredible Ancien Palais de Justice on Cap Manuel overlooking Dakar Harbour. Opened in 1958 by the High Commissioner of the French Republic in French West Africa, the vast Modernist building is constructed around a central plaza supported by 99 huge columns and an open courtyard, wherein is planted a 'Tree of Justice - a large mango tree. Abandoned in 1992 after cracks in the structure led to fears of its imminent collapse, it lay untouched - as if frozen in time, with rooms full of desks and files - until the organizers of the 2016 Dakar Biennial persuaded the Senegal Government to allow its use for that year's exhibition. In 2017 the Government formally transferred the building to the Ministry of Culture as an exhibition space. #dakarbiennale #dakart
Coming after the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York this month, Dak'Art showcases modern art from across the continent, connecting established and rising artists to enthusiasts both at home and abroad.
This year's theme is 'The Red Hour', which Simon Njami, the curator of Dak'Art 2018, describes as "the coming of age. It is the moment When one emancipates oneself from what has-been by transforming it and giving it a new strength. It is the hour of metamorphosis and transformation."
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