“Art, minorities and majorities” symposium – Dakar, 2-3 July 2003


The modernity of art has appeared unimaginable without the demands of new contents that pretended to obliterate the existing forms by disqualifying them as academic decay.

The history of art and criticism reveals, however, that more than once these changes have consisted in returning some styles to a favour that was formerly denied, a phenomenon that is accelarating since the post-modern break.

One of the strongest and most recent consequences of this linear change is verified by the necessity felt by the Occident to redistribute the centers of artistic and cultural productions – so, more undoubtably, than the centers of decision-making – at a worldwide level.

In face of this indisputed current reality, one must however retroactively pose some analyses and statements that generate a dialectic evaluation of the situation. How do these shifts from a deciding majority to a producing minority, take place, and in the reverse, how and why are such swings regulated ? According to what strategies and therefore what processes, do forms and styles seem to become obsolete there and gain in recognition here ?

Which speculative directions do such an operational dialectic point to, between the “art of the others” and the “other art”? What kind of accompaniying commentaries does criticism make about the esthetic minorities, and how does it redistribute them relative to the already defined majorities ?

How is it possible to escape from such a relational game, and how to deconstructe it, how to demonstrate it in order to make clear the conditionnings of a before and after of these shifts. Shouldn’t one therefore interrogate oneself about the cultural currents, contexts, and realities that aspire and pretend to express themselves outside of such procedures ?

Programme Dakar, July 2nd – 3rd, 2003

July 2nd
SESSION 1. Art criticism vs artistic minorities and majorities

9h30 :
Introduction by Henry Meyric Hughes (President of AICA) and Abdou Sylla (President of AICA Senegal)

10h30 – 13h30 :
- Djadji Iba N’Diagne (Senegal): “Who is able to criticize contemporary African Art?”
- Rasheed Araeen (United Kingdom): “Modernity, Modernism and the future of Art in Africa”
- Salah Hassan (Sudan/United States): “NKA and contemporary African Art Criticism”
- Barbara Murray (Zimbabwe): “Writing about Art: the Rule of an Art Magazine in promoting contemporary African Art ”

Moderated by Jacques Leenhardt (France)

SESSION 2. Art of the Others and Others Art

15h00-18h30 :
- Emma Bedford (South Africa): “Fresh from South Africa: supporting Young Artists”
- Haydee Venegas (Puerto Rico) : “Search of Identity-Alterity-Travestism”
- Tanela Boni (Ivory Coast): “On the Image of the Woman in the Work of some contemporary African Artists”
- Nadira Laggoune (Algeria) : “Specifity and Reality of Algerian Art today”

Moderated by Ramon Tio Bellido (France)

July 3rd
SESSION 3. Art of the Others and Others Art

9h30 – 13h00 :
- Christophe Domino & Dominique Abensour (France) : “Black Strategies: about the Works of some Artists in Europe since 15 Years”
- Meskerem Assegued (Ethiopia): “Artistic Panorama in Ethiopia: majoritian and minoritarian Commitments”
- Ola Oloidi (Nigeria): “An History of Art Movements in Nigeria”
- Heie Treier (Estonia) : “Ethnofuturism— grass-roots level politics”
- Célestin Badibanga ne Nwine (Democratic Congo) : “Out of Heart of darkness”

Moderated by Christian Chambert (Sweden).

SESSION 4. Which Alternatives for which relational Procedures?

15h00 – 18h30 :
- Kunle Filani (Nigeria) : “Museology in Nigeria”
- Yacouba Konate (Ivory Coast): “Africa and the big european events”
- Elona Lubyte (Lituania) : “About Parallels”
- Ousseynou Wade (Senegal) : “Dak’Art, an African Biennial”
- Henry Meyric Hughes (United Kingdom) : Conclusion

Moderated by Krydz Ikwuemesi (Nigeria).

With support from:

UNESCO, AFAA/programme afrique en créations, Getty Grant Program, Prince Claus Foundation and Dak’Art.