As The 10th Edition of Bamako Encounters Draws Near
by Ladun Ogidan
Renowned curator and Director, CCA, Lagos, Bisi Silva has recently been appointed Artistic Director of the 10th edition of Bamako Encounters themed TELLING TIME. Founded in 1994, Bamako Encounters is collaboratively produced and organised by Mali’s Ministry of Culture and Institut Français. The biennale is the first and principal international platform dedicated to African photography and lens-based media on the continent. In pursuance of its objective to promote and assess photography-based practices from local and international perspectives, Bamako Encounters operates as a platform for presenting artwork and cultivating professional relationships among artists, curators, art historians, collectors, and the public more broadly.
For this year’s edition, Silva plans to investigate the complex and multifaceted relationship between images and time, taking both the country’s rich tradition of storytelling and its recent political upheavals as points of departure. Speaking in a recent interview, “Since my first visit to Bamako in 2001, the city has animated my understanding of photography’s vital role in exploring notions of time—be it from an aesthetic, political, or theoretical perspective. The Bamako Encounters is the most important platform for African photography and I am honoured by the opportunity to draw on the working relationships with artists and organisations in the city, as well as from across the continent, that I have built over the years. I plan to develop a robust programme that highlights local practices, and situates them within continental and global contexts.”
The Executive Director of the biennale, Samuel Sidibé has also stated, “The forthcoming edition of the biennale marks the tenth anniversary of this important event. We look forward to both working with Bisi Silva on the realisation of her exciting vision for the next biennale, and to the possibilities the event offers for future generations of African photographers.”
The call for applications is open to lens-based practitioners from Africa and the Diaspora, from 15 January to 30 March. For application information visit: www.rencontres-bamako.com.
Bisi Silva co-curated The Progress of Love, a transcontinental collaboration between the Menil Collection, Houston; Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Missouri; and CCA, Lagos (2012–13), J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Moments of Beauty, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2011); and the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Greece; Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty (2009). She was one of the curators for Dak’Art Biennale, Senegal (2006). A frequent participant in international conferences and symposia, Silva has published in journals and art magazines including Artforum, Third Text, TheExhibitionist, and ArtsouthAfrica. Most recently, she edited the comprehensive monograph, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, published by CCA, Lagos (2014). Bisi Silva sits on the editorial/advisory boards of Art South Africa, N.Paradoxa: International Feminist Art Journal, and ContemporaryAnd. Silva was a member of the international jury for the Pinchuk Art Centre’s Future Generation Art Prize (2014), as well as the 55th Venice Biennale (2013).
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