chapter  Chapter 9
20 Pages

The Making of a Canon: Historicizing Contemporary African Art at Dak’art

WithUgochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi

Dak’Art affords the opportunity to analyse the changes in the topography of contemporary art in Africa through a biennial that was created specifically for that purpose. Works at Dak’Art reflect gradual formal and conceptual shifts in the art of African artists since 1992. In June 1993 the Ministry of Culture and the Biennale Secretariat organized a week-long evaluation panel sponsored by the European Union to address the issues and criticisms that had arisen at Dak’Art 1990 and Dak’Art 1992. Exhibited at Dak’Art 2000, the black-and-white photographs are of the artist’s post-mastectomy body, addressing the possibility of the heroic female nude. The works featured in Dak’Art’s exhibitions since 2000 show the interesting dialectic of the local and the global, a defining element of the contemporary. Several works of Dak’Art have addressed the existential conditions of contemporary Africa.