Voyage à Dakar will be part of the group exhibition Sense of place in the Amsterdam Museum, from 11 December 2020 to 28 March 2021.
Sense of place is about people and their perception of a location. The culture of a neighbourhood, the quality of the living environment and processes such as migration, gentrification and the impact of the colonial past, affect the way people relate to a certain place and whether they can feel at home there.
Curator Imara Limon: “Sense of place begins with the awareness that urban culture consists of the experiences of people from many backgrounds, networks and traditions, that are in constant change. The Amsterdam Museum has a wide-ranging collection that offers insights into the city, but still does not sufficiently represent the high diversity of this place regarding both the city itself and its connection to the rest of the world. As a museum we have been engaging with this issue for some time now, and we enrich our knowledge and our collection by adding more perspectives of the city.”
The exhibition will feature works by over twenty-five artists from various disciplines and is organized together with leading artistic and cultural organizations across Amsterdam: De Appel, CBK Zuidoost, Compagnietheater, OSCAM, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, SEXYLAND and The Black Archives.
In collaboration with acclaimed Senegalese visual artist Camara Gueye I am working on a dynamic installation. Gueye will work in the multimedia installation Voyage à Dakar and will add an extra layer to my work with his paintings and drawings. In a performance he will work in the installation when the show is running.
We prepared a show at the residency of the Dutch embassy in Dakar during the Dakar Biennale. Unfortunately the Biennale was cancelled due to COVID-19, but I am happy that the Senegalese government takes the pandemic seriously and trying to be containing the spread of the virus.
For the upcoming show in Amsterdam Museum in December I am planning to collaborate with Gueye. Hoping he will be able to travel by then!
Unfortunately – due to COVID-19 – Camara Gueye can not come to Amsterdam. We are developing a project online and hope we can present that in March 2021.
Always good to be back in New York City! I am meeting Senegalese friends over a delicious thieboudienne (Senegalese rice with fish) in restaurant Baobab in Harlem. Researching and brainstorming on my upcoming show at the Dak’art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal, this coming May.
We are back in Amsterdam, continuing the research on Panafricanism and the post colonial era in Senegal, in collaboration with African thinkers, writers, visual artist and scientists. At the Fondation Senghor I received a beautiful comic book Once upon a time there was Senegal and Leopold Sedar Senghor:
At the roof top terrace of our home at Gorée Island, in Dakar, Senegal, I am working on the image editing for my book on the Amsterdam Dakar road trip. A photo book about connecting different worlds, migration, identity, education, parenthood and love. A beautiful graphic design by Rene Put. With contributions by African writers, philosophers and artists.
And wonderful news: the Mondriaan Fund gave a grant for the book publication.
Great news: I have received an artistic development grant from the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) to continue my work on connecting Africa and Europe, and specifically the Netherlands and Senegal.
The AFK jury says: “Your work is characterised by an authentic atmosphere, language and rhythm, both in narrative and in concept. Your work is both personal and universal: searching for identity and origin, parenthood and love.”
I visited the Cheikh Anta Diop University and the Senghor Foundation to research the visions of the great Senegalese intellectuals Leopold Sedar Senghor and Cheikh Anta Diop.
This weekend I am presenting “Voyage à Dakar” at “Regards sur Cours”, an art festival at Gorée island. I developed an installation in the library of a former colonial house, Keur Khadija, which is now used as a children’s home.
The children’s book “Leuk the Hare” written by Senegal’s first president Leopold Sedar Senghor, plays a special role in this installation: former school teacher El Hadji Mbengue, who lives at Gorée and grew up with the stories of Leuk the Hare, is reading the book.
This performance is combined with the projection of silent, poetic images of me and Noah Saliou who, together – against the migration flow – are crossing and connecting two continents.
It is interesting to present the work here in Senegal, where many people have mixed identities and shared their personal stories about Senegal, Africa and (be-)longing. Many people in Senegal know “Leuk the Hare” and shared their favorite stories. Also Noah Saliou’s grandparents came and loved to see the images and to hear the stories.
Three weeks ago Noah Saliou and me moved to Dakar, and this taxi made us feel at home; the same car as I drove from Amsterdam to Dakar. Noah Saliou started school here: a big challenge for him. But he is very courageous and I am so proud of him!
I will continue working on the Amsterdam Dakar road trip and start the research for a new project on the (post) colonial era in Senegal. We are both super excited!