Friday, 5 October 2007

Finally we all meet in Bamako - the Contact Zone

Finally on sunday 30th of september the virtual contact of the past 12 months became a live one as all participants in the exhibition, Contact Zone:Contemporary Artists from North and West Africa meet in Bamako. For most of the North African artists it was their first visit south of the Sahara this vast expanse of land that had constituted a barrier - physically and psychologically - to a better understanding and interaction between North and West Africa despite over hundreds of years of contact which peaked during the trans-saharan trade in salt and gold between the 10th and 15th century.

Khaled Hafez, Bisi Silva and Mamadi Seydi standing in the middle of Seydi's work. (1st pic) Artists making a point with curator Bisi silva (2nd pic)

Even though many of the Museum's technical team were observing the Kareem, they carried out their work dilligently and professionally and those of us from West Africa especially from Nigeria and Ghana were quite impressed as we lamented the fact that in our countries nothing much would have happened without some small change passing hands. Anything short of that and you would be in serious trouble.

Ghanaian Koffi Setordji taking some pics. Nigerian Amuche Ngwu-Nnabueze being interviewed for a programme.

After a long day installing works in the scorching heat of Bamako, what next but to get some food and catch some nice loooong iced drinks. We headed to blah blah blah a cafe restaurant apparently frequented by the trendy bamakorois but as this is the Ramadan season and monday the place was almost deserted. As anyone who hangs out with artists knows this was not a deterrant.

Koffi, Amuche and Edorh chilling. Koffi dancing with Dalel

Artists Khaled, Ammas and Hassan with curator N'Gone Fall.

Artists Shortlist for third Artes Mundi Prize announced

Artes Mundi is delighted to announce the nine artists shortlisted for the third Artes Mundi Prize. They are: Lida Abdul (based in Kabul and California); Vasco Araújo (lives and works in Lisbon); Mircea Cantor (lives in Romania and Paris); Dalziel and Scullion (artist duo based in Scotland); N. S. Harsha (lives and works in Mysore, India); Abdoulaye Konaté (based in Bamoko, Mali); Susan Norrie (based in Sydney, Australia) and Rosângela Rennó (lives and works in Rio de Janeiro).

The selected artists' work debates many of today's big issues. Man's destruction of the environment, AIDS' destruction of man and the problems of marginalised societies are just three of the issues reflected upon. We hope it will make for a very stimulating and thought provoking exhibition next year when the Artes Mundi 3 Exhibition opens on 15th March 2008 at National Museum Cardiff.

This third selection was made by independent curators Isabel Carlos from Portugal, the Artistic Director of the Sydney Biennale in 2004 and Olabisi Silva from Nigeria, who co-curated the Dakar Biennale in 2006. “Our aim was to select exciting, emerging artists who provoke and debate the fundamental questions of life and art,” said Carlos.

Take a look at some of the work by the shortlisted artists on our new website at or follow the links below.