chapter
17 Pages

Introduction

ByUgochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Thomas Fillitz

The Biennale of Dakar, Dak’Art, was created in 1989 by the government of Senegal to promote the latest examples of contemporary art in Africa. Dak’Art’s emergence in 1989 was dictated by a confluence of social, political and economic factors. Dak’Art’s emergence and growth in the 1990s coincided with the expansion of the international art world beyond the Western hemisphere. The emancipatory vision embedded in postcolonial criticisms has shaped the political agendas of biennials such as Dak’Art. The concept ‘cultural institution’ orients the study of the Biennale more to art-related aspects in their intersection with the mandates of cultural politics. The effect of the economic shift was profoundly felt by Senegalese artists and the entire cultural sector. It disrupted a state system that had supported and provided subventions for artists while acquiring the bulk of their works. The chapter also presents an overview on the key concepts discussed in this book.