The Dakar Biennale is fairly young. Set up in 1989 with a first edition devoted to Literature in 1990, it will be definitively held on contemporary African art at its second edition which celebrated visual arts.
The 1992 Biennale is DAK’ART’s first edition. It didn’t at the onset, give the priority to the African artists but was, instead, concerned about encouraging the sharing of experience, approaches and speeches between artists and professionals from various areas and bringing thus a contribution to the reflection on contemporary art as well as promoting African artists.
In the light of the recommendation from the evaluation of DAK’ART 1992, and bolstered by the will expressed by the Senegalese government, the Dakar Biennale took sides in favour of African contemporary art from 1996 onwards. We had first of all, to assert our identity compared to the other Biennales of contemporary art.
We also had to widen the promotion possibilities for African artists who are weakly represented in big international art events. We finally had, as Africans, to create our own discourse on aesthetics and participate in the conceptualisation of the theoretical instruments for analysing and appreciating artistic proposals.
The Biennale of contemporary african art in Dakar is the only event of note on the continent to consecrate its selection in particular to living artists in and outside the continent.
It has enabled:
To valorize the creation of new models in the field of Arts.
To confirm or reveal new talents in the visual arts’ world as in the world of design and digital arts.
To create new approaches in the definition and the conceptual view of contemporary Art in Africa.
To show to a large audience coming from all over the world a creative and innovative Africa.
To create new parnerships among African creators and also between African creators and creators from other continents.
The biennale is created thanks to the will of both the Senegalese state which assumes the supervision and the local artists who since the seventies, have been organizing regular annual art exhibitions which bring to light the different shapes of the evolution of contemporary art creation.
The aim was to make of it a show-window of Art and litterature in Africa. After two editions, the decision was made to focus the event exclusively on visual arts and on design with a small-scale exhibition in textiles and tapestery. Nowadays, digital Arts take their place in DAK’ART. The tapestry and textiles show is no longer a part of the biennale of Art.