Things to do at the 2018 Dak’Art Biennale

The African contemporary art scene is bustling with excitement as the Biennale of Contemporary African Art opens May 3rd until June 2nd, 2018, in Dakar, Senegal.

Working with the general theme “The Red Hour”, culled from Aime Cesaire’s play ‘And the Dogs were Silent’, the Biennale will present works promoting freedom and emancipation under the direction of Simon Njami, the 13th Dak’Art Biennale Artistic Director.

The international exhibition for this year is titled “A New Humanity” with works by seventy-five artists. Guest curators working on other main exhibitions are Alya Sebti, Marisol Rodriguez, Marianne Hultman, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, and Cosmin Costina. Each of them will curate a collective show with 3-5 selected artists.

Interesting programs and exhibitions both in the main and OFF Dak’Art have been put together for a robust contemporary art experience. Here are a few to look forward to:


3rd May, 9:30 am: Official opening ceremony by His Excellency the President of the Republic to the National Grand Theater:

  • Awards granted by the International Jury
  • Opening exhibitions of national pavilions

4:00 pm: Opening of the International Exhibition in the former palace of the Prime Minister

4th May, 9:00 am: Opening Ceremony of the Meetings and exchanges at UCAD

5:00 pm: Opening of the exhibition of guest curators at the Musée Théodore Monod sis instead Soweto.

Evening: First of Madiba Opera, the musical at the Grand Theatre

5th May, 9:00 am: Workshops of meetings and exchanges, Ifan Cheikh Anta Diop Museum Place Soweto;

11:00 am: Opening of the House Museum Ousmane Sow to Yoff; by invitation only.

1:00 pm: Opening of the exhibition Carte blanche to DARB the House Veterans’

Evening: Gala dinner with ministers and guests, by invitation only.

6th May, 2 pm: Visit the Museum Leopold Sedar Senghor

7th May, 5:00 pm: Opening of the Fode Camara exhibition at the National Gallery.

11th & 12th May: Mega concerts with national and international stars on the old palace site; Permanent Animation Biennale Village, with many local talents; various performances throughout the Dakar region.


These are events and exhibitions by individual artists and independent artistic platforms organized around the central event. Listed below are a few to attend or follow.

Photo Damir Assad

Des Silences qui hurlent

May 6 2018: Hotel Terrou-Bi

May 8 2018: Hotel Oceanique

Exposition Peinture et Mixed Media Collage

Thierry Gandour et Fatme Fauaz

May 3 – June 2, 2018

Hotel Terrou-Bi, Dakar

Jeunes d’afrique

Aurel Yahoudeou and Yanick Folly

Curator: Dieudonne Alley

May 4 – 10, 2018

Galerie Yassine, Hotel Keur Gainde, Dakar

Suba Biennale

Monument de la Rennaisance

May 3 – 6, 2018

Hotel Sokhamon 

Exposition Peinture et Mixed Media Collage

Thierry Gandour et Fatme Fauaz

May 3 – June 2, 2018

Hotel Terrou-Bi, Dakar

New York to Dakar

Art Mix Media

Jean Lebreton

May 4 – 28, 2018

A l’Hotel le Relais, Dakar

AFRICAN ART BOOK FAIR: May 3 – 6, 2018

The art journal AFRIKADAA, in partnership with the Dakar Biennale, announces the third edition of the African Art Book Fair (AABF). The event will take place between May 3rd and May 6th as part of the 13th annual Dakar International Contemporary Art Biennale.

Venue: Douta Seck Cultural Center

At the book fair, the Centre for Contemporary Art in collaboration with the African Art Book Fair will launch the publication Àsìkò: On the Future of Artistic and Curatorial Pedagogies in Africa. 

Also happening at the fair are two specially curated projects, panel discussions and workshops.

Specially Curated Projects

Exhibition: “Make it Yourself’”

Curators: Pascale Obolo, Yves Chatap

Artists: Rita Alaoui, Dimitri Fagbohoun, Marco Godinho, Katia Kameli, Mischek Masamvu, Raffaella della Olga, Nadia Valentine, Ekatarina Vasilyeva, Guy Woueté, Pape Tegne diouf

The Gallery of Small Things (GoST)

Curated by Bisi Silva, The Gallery of Small Things is an exhibition featuring over 40 established and emerging artists from Africa and the Diaspora presenting 75 works not more than 20 x 20 inches (50cm) in size in a variety of media. The conceptual and curatorial premise behind this itinerant pop up initiative is to create intimacy in an art world saturated with very large works that need us to move back in order to experience them. ‘Gallery of Small Things’ is an initiative of Bisi Silva Projects.

Panel Discussion

Open Talk: a space of expression dedicated to the presentation of a featured publication. Each independent publisher will be allowed to sign up for the opportunity to present their organization.

Aperitif performative reading with a selection of artists every day at 5 pm.

Workshop: workshop on the creation of the artist book by artist Nadia Valentine

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