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close this bookThe Courier N° 126 - March - April 1991 - Dossier: AIDS - The Big Threat / Country Report: Burkina Faso (EC Courier, 1991, 96 p.)
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Exhibition of contemporary Senegalese art

Current trends in the Senegalese art world are illustrated in the work of more than 60 artists at this exhibition in Brussels’ Central African Museum in Tervuren. The collection, on display here since November, was brought in at the initiative of Belgium’s French-speaking Community and the Ministry of Culture and Communications in Senegal. It follows a similar event at the Arche de la Fraternitn Paris recently and, of course, harks back to the Grand Palais exhibition of 1974.

Every generation of contemporary Senegalese art is represented in these 150 works. There are pictures, from naif paintings through figurative canvases and modern abstracts to arrangements under glass, and there are tapestries, weaving, collages and conventional and junk sculpture.

Djibril Ndiaye’s, ‘Baay Jagal’, for example, is a skilful three-dimensional combination of wood and rope.

The Sahel is present in the motifs and colours of Amadou Snow’s naij’ Coptic memory’, while the influence of Pierre Lods and his Plastic Research Workshop is apparent in the distribution of material, creation of a liberating atmosphere and maintenance of creative tension in ‘Titleless II’, an oil on canvas by self-taught Amedy Krbaye.

The lyrical abstraction of ‘the message of space, of the deep, of plants and of music’ of Souleymane Keita’s ‘Tutsi Massacre’ is also the hallmark of Moussa Baidy Ndiaye’s ‘Tabaski’, while another ‘Titleless’ abstract, by Seydou Barry this time, gives movement and a particularly acute meaning to values in its choice of colour. However, Moussa Tine’s highly expressive ‘Drought’ brings us firmly back to figurative art.

And of course let us not forget the many more works, which, as French Museum Curator Pierre Gaudibert points out in the introduction to the catalogue: ‘plunge into tradition and make the ancient heritage theirs, yet embrace the technology and art of the West’

D.D

From Kinshasa to Harlem...

Wheels of fortune (toys from Kinshasa) and Margins in the capital (painted shutters and walls in Harlem and the Bronx, photographed by Clovis Prst) Cooption par l’Education et la Culture and La Papeterie, Brussels, 12 January-10Febrnary 1991

Popular art from the melting pots of peoples and societies of the cities of today was brought to the Brussels public in this double exhibition of toys from Kinshasa and paintings from shop blinds and walls in the Bronx-a fine illustration of how popular culture relates to art in the modern world.

Toys from Kinshasa. Wire, cans, sheet metal and tyres... junk, in fact, is the stuff of these original creations born of the imagination and observation of children from Zaire and all over Africa. These toys are ever more sophisticated, faithfully reproducing symbols of modern life, a -makeshift-expression of the technological and consumer society erupting into cycles, cars, buses, trains, planes and helicopters, all with their running boards and their seats, their rear-view mirrors and their occupants.

Since the early 1970s, the creativity of Kinshasa’s children has led to the emergence, and professionalisation, of a new craft tradition among adults-although the frontier between the child and the adult craftsman has never closed.

Margins in the capital. Walls make cities and this exhibition is a poetic reading of the picture which they, with their coverings of graffiti and writing and pictures in which trompe l’oil and illusion deceive the eye, give of the city.

D.D.