an exhibition pays tribute to the Sandaga market, an emblematic place of life in the heart of Dakar

an exhibition pays tribute to the Sandaga market an emblematic

In Senegal, at the Italian Cultural Institute of Dakar, an exhibition called “Dem Dikk, Via Vaï” pays homage from May 21 to July 14, 2024 to the Sandaga market, an emblematic place of life in the capital whose building was destroyed in 2020 . Presentation.

3 mins

With our correspondent in Dakar, Juliette Dubois

At Senegal, the postponement of the 15th Biennial of Contemporary African Art did not prevent many Off exhibitions from being held on the dates initially planned. At the Italian Cultural Institute, a group exhibition called “Dem Dikk, Via Vaï” (for “comes and goes” in French) pays homage to the Sandaga market, an emblematic place of life in the heart of Dakar.

The building was destroyed in 2020, but the vendors remained and the market inspired artists with its vitality. Between the works, the sounds of the market accompany visitors for a complete sensory experience.

I hope for those who visit the exhibition that we recognize the Sandaga market »

The Italian artist duo Jukai used materials found at the market for their work: concrete bricks and even dried flowers. It was the energy of the place that grabbed them, as Riccardo Pirovano explains: “ It’s chaos but you understand that it’s organized, in reality. Every time we go to Sandaga, we discover new corners. It’s like a wave that picks you up and carries you from one end to the other. »

The large Sandaga market is part of the personal history of many Senegalese people. This is the case for Djibril Dramé, visual artist: “ I realized that Sandaga was very close to me because my mother, in reality, worked in this little place called Roukhou Diskette, where young ladies and girls go to buy, to make themselves beautiful. And with her money, she fed us at home. »

He reinterprets his memories with archive photos, reused rice bags and videos. For curator Mohamed Amine Cissé, the diversity of the works makes the exhibition rich: “ And that’s why I talk about complementarity when we look at it as a whole. By adding up the elements – at least for the Dakar resident that I am – I hope, for those who visit the exhibition, that we recognize the Sandaga market. »

The Sandaga market, it took them two years to build it and one day to demolish it »

The transformations around the market and the city have also inspired Stefania Gesualdo, an Italian artist living in Senegal for more than 10 years. She presents several works, including a tapestry which represents the facade of the Sahelian architecture of the Sandaga market which has now disappeared, which she gradually unravels so that only the silhouettes of the sellers remain: “ It also gives a bit of the dimension of all this, ephemeral. It takes years to build a market. The Sandaga market took them two years to build and one day to demolish it. And so for me, it took me almost three months to make this tapestry and in one evening, and one day I think, I will see the facade demolished to try to reflect a little on that: the demolition and the violence of this process, the resistance of people who constantly adapt. »

She continues: “ The market still exists, even if its building is no longer there. And it exists thanks to the people in fact, to the people who developed the market around the site. I see the construction site as a place of transition because something was there and it is no longer there. But it will become something else again and the construction sites change their scope constantly, and people are constantly adapting. »

The exhibition continues until July 14.

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