Dakar Biennial 2016 Announces Participating Artists Including Late Photographer Leila Alaoui

The 12th edition of Africa's oldest biennial opens in May.

Mehdi-Georges Lahlou, 72 (virgins) on the sun iInstallation view at Dak'art 2014
Photo: Robin Riskin © Mehdi-Georges Lahlou via facebook.com/dakartbiennale/

Dak’Art, the Dakar Biennial has announced its participating artists for its upcoming 12th edition in the Senegalese capital in May 2016.

Curated by French luminary Simon Njami, the biennial will include 65 artists from all over the African continent, including work by the late French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui, who was murdered in a terror attack in Burkina Faso last week.

Dak’Art—Africa’s largest biennial—will include presentations from artist form Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, amongst others. The biennial also includes artists from African diaspora countries such as France and Italy.

The biennial sees its role as one of promoting artists in Africa who don’t usually receive this kind of platform. “Dak’Art objectives are to expand the possibilities of promoting African artists poorly represented in major international art, but also for Africa to develop its own speech on aesthetics and to participate in conceptualization of theoretical tools for analysis and appreciation of artistic proposals.” they state on their website.

Njami sees it as his mission to bring the biennial up to date and into touch with the contemporary art world. “[My task is to] bring to life this old lady, make it alive, seductive,” he told Senegalese daily La Soleil as reported by Le Monde Afrique.

Simon Njami <br> Photo: via wikipedia commons

Simon Njami
Photo: via wikipedia commons

There has been much hype surrounding the contemporary art scene in some African countries, namely Nigeria and Ghana. Collector and construction tycoon Marwan Zakhem recently announced the opening of gallery 1957 in Accra where there’s a growing scene with many invested in facilitating its growth.

Meanwhile, Congolese art collector and businessman Sindika Dokolo has launched a worldwide campaign to return to the African continent African art that currently resides in Western Institution and auction houses.

With international art fairs such as the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair and the Armory Show’s 2016 Focus section dedicated to both African diaspora art and art from international African perspectives, the art world is certainly opening up to the number of existing artists and creative communities in the continent.

Art events like the Dak’Art, and the African Biennale of Photography Bamako Encounters, in Mali can only on strengthen this.

Here’s the list of participating artists by country:



1. Henri Sagna

2. Mohamadou Ndoye

3. Arebenor Omar Yacine Bassene

4. Mbaye Babacar Diouf


5. Gouwendmanegre Hippolythe Sama


6. Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya


7. Yoyo Gonthier

8. Dalila Dalleas Bonzar

9. Yassine Balbzioui

10. Julien Greuzet

11. Nabil Boutros

12. Badr El Hammani

13. Fatima Mazmouz


14. Maurice Pefura

15. Annette Mathieue

16. Jean-Pierre Bekolo

17. Billi Bidjocka


18. Safaa Mazirh

19. Amira Parree

20. Leila Alaoui


21. Délio Jasse


22. William Wambugu

23. Ingrid & Robert Mwangi/Hutter

24. Mimi Cherono Ng’ok


25. Lavar Fredlin Munroe


26. Kala Euridice Getulio


27. Nana Poku


28.  Yara Mekawei

29. Yasmineel Meleegy

30. Youssef Limoud

31. Moataz Nasr

32. Heba Amin


33. Bronwgn Katz

34. Nandipha Makhubalo Lindwe

35. Simon Gush

36. Moshekwa Langa

37. Tracey Rose

38. Kemang Wa Lehulere

39. Anne Historical


40. Abdulrazaq Awofeso

41. Modupeola Fadugba

42. Victor Ehikhamenor

43. Folakunle Oshun

44. Otobong Nkanga


45. Moridja Kitenge Banza

46. Magema Michele

47. Pume


48. Wanja Kimani

49. Theo Eshetu

50. Aida Muluneh


51. Héla Ammar Ep Ben Becher

52. Mouna Karray

53. Yesmine Ben Khelil

54. Mouna Jemal Siala

55. Jellel Gasteli


56. Monica Sofia


57. Franck Fanny (Abd-Bakar)

58. Francois-Xavier Gbré

59. Gopal Dagnogo

60. Watts Ouattara


61. Samson Kambalu


62. Ala Kheir


63. Joel Andrianomearisoa


64. Kader Attia


65. Aime Ntakiyica

Dak’Art will on view in venues throughout Dakar, Senegal, from May 3 – June 2. 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics