16 May 2024 - 16 Jun 2024

Dakar Biennale 2024

Various venues


Under the general theme of “The Wake,” conceived by Madame Salimata Diop, Artistic Director, the next Dakar Biennale will take place from May 16th to June 16th, 2024. “The Wake” evokes an imminent transformation – personal, social, ecological, and economic – in a world confronted with crises related to climate change, societal changes, and environmental concerns, involving the necessity of change and the awakening of a generation. The theme of the biennale, “The Wake,” aims to bridge the gap between the past and the future by exploring the relationships between art, society, environmental changes, and history, particularly in the context of Dakar, ultimately positioning artists as sentinels of a new global narrative.

International exhibition

Fifty-eight artists from Africa and the Diaspora have been selected for the international exhibition, through the Selection Committee and invitations from the Artistic Director, including a graffiti artist who will work on a creation on the walls of the Former Palace of Justice. The international exhibition will thus revolve around the theme of this edition in an immersive journey, thanks to an intimate, narrative, and serious scenography. This selection embodies the extraordinary African creativity, with a diversity of mediums, techniques, and artistic universes. From drawing to virtual reality, through sound, sculpture, or photography, the selection process for the international exhibition has been guided by a commitment to inclusivity, seeking a balance that transcends borders and celebrates the rich tapestry of artistic voices. Artists from the African diaspora carry their experiences as Africans and Afro-descendants throughout the world, and will mingle with artists who live and work on the African continent.

The jury, composed of Mr. Kalidou Kassé and Mr. Ousmane Mbaye, members of the orientation committee, the three invited curators (Kara Blackmore, Marynet J, and Cindy Olohou), and the Artistic Director Salimata Diop, reviewed a record number of nearly 600 applications received.

Special exhibition: We’ll Stop When the Earth Roars

Curated by Dr Kara Blackmore, Marynet J. and Cindy Olohou, the special exhibition “We’ll Stop When the Earth Roars” will bring together the works of ten international artists around urgent issues related to the contemporary ecological crisis. This crisis, deeply unequal, affects most severely the places and populations that are least responsible for it. It stems directly from several centuries of predatory logic, where humanity considers the Earth as its property.

Designed and developed from the artistic and academic research of the exhibiting artist-researchers and collectives, this exhibition will offer Biennale visitors a journey that will guide them through the ruins of the concretisation of our cities, the deforestation of our coastal regions, erosion, extractions, toxicity, intensive ecocidal monocultures, and high-tech waste scattered in our landfills. In order to project visitors into the future through unifying imaginations, the exhibition will conclude with the voices of those who, hearing the roars of the Earth, work to remedy these injustices.

The National Pavilions

The 2024 Biennale also includes events in various spaces throughout the Senegalese capital. The Museum of Black Civilizations will host the National Pavilions. The Senegal Pavilion will be led by curator Abdoulaye Ndoye. Alongside the Senegal Pavilion, the United States is the guest country.

The Collectors Exhibition

This dynamism finds a particular resonance among art enthusiasts known as Collectors. An exhibition dedicated to them will be held as part of the 2024 Biennale. It will be curated by Commissioner Kalidou Kassé.

Two Tribute Exhibitions

Tribute to Anta Germaine Gaye
Curated by Salimata Camara

As a moment of sublimation, the Dakar Biennale is also a time to celebrate the remarkable figures who daily contribute to the memory of visual arts in our country. This year, at the Douta Seck Cultural Center, special attention will be given to the artist Anta Germaine Gaye.

Born in Saint-Louis, Senegal in 1953, this art education professor also holds a degree in Modern Literature from Cheikh Anta Diop University. Anta Germaine Gaye is a painter, sculptor, and teacher. Her favorite themes revolve around the aesthetics of women and impressionistic landscapes. Her artistic approach has revolutionized the codes of the traditional glass painting called “SUWEER” in Senegal. Her workshop, “IRON and GLASS,” serves as a space for research and skills transmission.

Tribute to Mouhamadou N’doye
Curated by Sylvain Sankalé

At the National Art Gallery, under the direction of curator Sylvain Sankalé, an exhibition will pay tribute to the late visual artist Mouhamadou N’doye, also known as N’doye Douts. N’doye Douts passed away on June 9, 2023, at the age of 50. He was a Senegalese plastic artist and videographer, born in 1973. He was part of the prestigious group of renowned artists trained at the National School of Arts in Dakar, where he graduated at the top of his class in 1999 after an impressive academic journey. He quickly gained recognition through workshops and biennials, and his short film titled “Train-Train Medina,” which depicts the fragile construction and deconstruction of a city on sand, garnered attention. His participation in “Africa Remix” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2005 marked a turning point in his career: he then exhibited worldwide, particularly in the USA, Europe, South Africa, and Korea.

Panel discussions

The Dakar Biennale also includes panel discussions. These will take place at the Museum of Black Civilizations and the Former Palace, over several mornings, each presenting two to three panels followed by exchanges with the audience. These panels will be presented in French or English. Conceptualized and structured by the curatorial team, they revolve around the theme of the Biennale. The meetings will proceed in the form of participatory roundtable discussions and artist performances in the afternoon, at the Former Palace of Justice.

Design Section

The 15th edition of the Dakar Biennale will also mark the return of Design in the main program. A Design section will be conceived and presented in the Ndary Lo space within the Former Palace of Justice, under the curatorship of designer Ousmane Mbaye.

Conceptual Note of the Design Section:

Design in Africa offers a rich and diverse landscape, with unique cultural influences and a fascinating history. It is important to trace this journey to the present day and examine all existing know-how, beyond craftsmanship, to establish sustainable industries and virtuous economic systems that will benefit everyone.

The continent’s demographic growth and the socio-economic challenges it entails require a transformation of this creative environment into a true industry. The designer’s reflection at this 15th Biennale of Dakar 2024 must therefore focus on this challenge. A large part of what we consume on a large scale in Africa is imported, creating economic dependence on other countries. It is necessary to work towards establishing sustainable industries on our Continent, focusing on design, creation, and material valorization. Design plays an essential role in this process, as it allows us to rethink production methods, promote innovation, and encourage the use of local inputs.

By developing sustainable industries and implementing these virtuous economic systems, we can create employment opportunities, strengthen our economic autonomy, and contribute to the growth and development of the Continent as a whole. Design will play a key role in allowing us to rethink existing practices, integrate sustainability, and stimulate creativity within African industries. It is therefore essential to highlight the importance of Design in Africa and to encourage collaboration between designers, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and industrialists.

Press release from Dakar Biennale

Image: Férielle Doulain. Current Waters. 2022. Tubing, wire, cords. Image courtesy of the artist and Dakar Biennale