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September 26 2016

Ségou’Art 2016 | The First Contemporary Art Fair in Mali

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This year, the Centre Culturel Kôré, in partnership with Arterial Network through its African Creative Cities project, organised the first contemporary art fair to be held in Mali that launched over the weekend of the 23rd to the 25th of September 2016 in Ségou, with a strong focus on their opening theme “The Promotion of Contemporary Art from Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Young Talent.”

The list of artists included: George Camille (Seychelles), Cheick Diallo (Mali), Amahiguere Dolo (Mali), Ludovic Fadaïro (Benin), Houda Ghorbel et Wadi Mhiri (Tunisia), Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), Dany Leriche et Jean-Michel Fickinger (France), Abdou Ouologuem (Mali), Piotr Pucylo (Poland) Sira Sissoko (Mali) and Sinaly Tangara (Mali).

From the 20th of September, artists Wadi Mhiri & Houda Ghorbel (Tunisie), George Camille (Seychelles), Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), Amahiguéré Dolo (Mali) and Ludovic Fadairo (Benin), along with Ségou’Art Director and Arterial Network Chairperson, Mamou Daffé, worked together to create an art installation. Gourds were painted and strung together to represent the continent of africa, before being floated on the river Niger.

One of the main events of the festival was the international seminar on the promotion of contemporary art from Africa. For decades African creatives have been relying on a market outside of the continent, and even then, their work rarely finds buyers. Young artists are faced with the difficulty of securing solid career prospects if they choose to stay in Africa. So how can the African creative industry respond to the need to stimulate local consumption of artistic works? This topic led the discussions in the first part of the seminar. The second part of the seminar was devoted to discussing individual interventions by national and international contemporary artists, along with their successes and lessons learned, including the directors of the six major African contemporary art biennales on the continent: Daudi Karungi (Kampala Art Biennale, Uganda), Amine Kabbaj (Marrakech Biennale), Professor Yacouba Konaté (MASA), Mamou Daffé (Ségou'Art), Samuel Sidibé (Bamako Encounters) and Ousseynou Wade (former director of the Dakar'Art Biennale).

The opening ceremony took place on Friday night, in the presence of some of the greatest African artists and professionals of contemporary art from around the world. Ségou was declared the capital of African contemporary art for the duration of the fair by Malian authority.

During its first edition, Ségou’Art gave awards to celebrate the continued excellence of contemporary African artists. The First Prize was awarded to Géraldine Tobe (Democratic Republic of Congo) with runner up winners, Saafa Mazirh (Morocco), Pascal Konan (Côte d'Ivoire), Mohamed I. Diabagate (Mali) and Mamadou A. Keita (Mali).

To read more about #Ségou’Art2016, click here.

Click here to see an interview with Elena Micheletti (Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy) by Walaha Webtv on the “Promotion of Contemporary African Art."

Photo Credit: Walaha Webtv and Ségou'Art

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