Art Dubai 2013 explores West African “Cities in Transition” – picture feast

Artists from Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana and Senegal take centre stage in an exhibition linking the Emirates to West Africa.

Over 25,000 visitors and 75 exhibitors from thirty countries attended Art Dubai 2013, which took place at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, between 20 and 23 March 2013. This year, Art Dubai’s “Marker”, an annual exhibition of curated booths, turned the spotlight on West African cities.

Adama Kouyaté, 'Le transistor',1967,40 x 40cm. Image courtesy Gallery Carpe Diem

Adama Kouyaté, ‘Le transistor’, 1967, 40 x 40cm. Image courtesy Gallery Carpe Diem.

“Marker” 2013 was curated by Lagos-based Bisi Silva, who selected to work with five West African galleries for the exhibition:

These galleries collaborated with twenty contemporary artists from Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana and Senegal to produce booths showing multimedia works based around the theme of “Cities in Transition”.

Ablade Glover, 'Market Circles', 2009, 122 x 153cm. Image courtesy Nubuke Foundation and Ablade Glover

Ablade Glover, ‘Market Circles’, 2009, 122 x 153cm. Image courtesy Nubuke Foundation and Ablade Glover.

Dicko Harandane, 'On s'explose devant l'appareil photo', 2006, 40 x 60cm. Image courtesy Dicko Haradane and Gallery Carpe Diem

Dicko Harandane, ‘On s’explose devant l’appareil photo’, 2006, 40 x 60cm. Image courtesy Dicko Harandane and Gallery Carpe Diem.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Silva said that she chose the curatorial theme “Cities in Transition” to highlight the commonalities between West Africa and Dubai.

‘Cities in Transition’ is an appropriate theme for ‘Marker’ and Art Dubai considering that over the last half century both regions have witnessed an unprecedented evolution in the way in which people live. This manifests in the continuing transition from the nomadic and the rural to the more sedimentary and urban conurbations that we witness sprouting up around us with alacrity and the attendant consequences and impact on the environment.

Em'kal Eyongakpa, 'Rio dos Cameroes (Njanga wata)', 2011, still frm video. Image courtesy Em'kal Eyongakpa and Doual'Art

Em’kal Eyongakpa, ‘Rio dos Cameroes (Njanga wata)’, 2011, still from video. Image courtesy Em’kal Eyongakpa and Doual’Art.

Joseph-Francis Sumégné, 'Footballeur', 2012, 56 x 40 x 31cm. Image courtesy Doual'art and Joseph-Francis Sumégné

Joseph-Francis Sumégné, ‘Footballeur’, 2012, 56 x 40 x 31cm. Image courtesy Doual’art and Joseph-Francis Sumégné.

Taiye Idahor ,'Head' Series (No. 6), 2012, newspaper, film cartridge and acrylic paint on wood, 61 x 61cm. Image courtesy Taiye Idahor and Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos

Taiye Idahor ,’Head’ Series (No. 6), 2012, newspaper, film cartridge and acrylic paint on wood, 61 x 61cm. Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art  and Taiye Idahor.

Fair Director Antonia Carver, quoted in an Art Dubai press release, added that given the social and historical links between African and Emirati cultures, and the increasing interaction between the arts communities of the two regions, 2013 was a good year for Art Dubai to focus “Marker” on African art.

Charles Okereke, 'Red Alert', 2009, 68cm x 50cm. Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art and Charles Okereke

Charles Okereke, ‘Red Alert’, 2009, 68 x 50cm. Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art and Charles Okereke.

Emeka Ogboh ',Interludes', 2010, variable (sound installation inculding prints of sound waves). Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art and Emeka Ogboh

Emeka Ogboh, ‘Interludes’, 2010, variable (sound installation inculding prints of sound waves). Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art and Emeka Ogboh.

Karo Akpokiere, 'Lagos Mass Transit', 2010, 42cm x 59.4cm. Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art and Karo Akpokiere

Karo Akpokiere, ‘Lagos Mass Transit’, 2010, 42 x 59.4cm. Image courtesy Centre for Contemporary Art and Karo Akpokiere.

Talking to The Huffington Post, Silva said that while arts infrastructure and support in West Africa is still “embryonic”, Art Dubai 2013 offers the possibility of change.

Modern and contemporary art from West Africa remains under-represented internationally and the opportunity that ‘Marker’ affords is an appropriate platform that will contribute to its increasing visibility.

Henri Sagna, 'Un autre monde est possible', 2012. Image courtesy Henri Sagna and Raw Material Company

Henri Sagna, ‘Un autre monde est possible’, 2012. Image courtesy Henri Sagna and Raw Material Company

Ade Adekola, 'The Thirst Quencher - From the series Icons of the Metropolis', 2012, 183cm x 60cm. Image courtesy Ade Adekola

Ade Adekola, ‘The Thirst Quencher – From the series Icons of the Metropolis’, 2012, 183 x 60cm. Image courtesy Ade Adekola.

 CN/KN/HH

Related Topics: African artists, art fairs, Antonia Carver, art events in the UAE

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Art Dubai 2013 explores West African “Cities in Transition” – picture feast — 1 Comment

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