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.
“Marker” 2013 was curated by Lagos-based Bisi Silva, who selected to work with five West African galleries for the exhibition:
- Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos
- Espace doual’art, Douala
- Maison Carpe Diem, Segou
- Nubuke Foundation, Accra
- Raw Material Company, Dakar
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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