Egyptian video artists and photographers in Mali's Bamako Encounters biennial exhibition

Ahram Online, Tuesday 20 Sep 2011

The 9th Bamako Encounters will present photography and video works by artists from across the African continent, including five from Egypt, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability

Nyani Ouarmyne

The 9th Bamako Encounters, an African photography biennial scheduled to take place later this year in Bamako, Mali’s capital city, will showcase contemporary visual art - including photography and video projects - from across the African continent. The event, which will take place between 1 November, 2011 and 2 January, 2012, is organised by Mali’s Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the French Institute.

Participating artists will represent countries from across Africa and the African Diaspora. Egypt will be represented by photographers Amr Fekry and Nermine Hammam, while Khaled Hafez, Amal Kenawy and Ahmed Sabry are scheduled to present video works.

Over the years, the Bamako Encounters have become a major event in Africa’s cultural calendar, developing into the premier pan-African event for local photographers, both on the continent and abroad. The event also provides participants with exceptional opportunities to meet one another, as well as international photography professionals such as gallery owners, exhibition curators, collectors and journalists.

Showcased around the world, the exhibits have helped raise the profile of African photography, portraying both its creativity and dynamism in an international forum.

The Bamako Encounters have also helped promote the emergence of national and regional African photography events. Largely as a result of the work presented at past Bamako exhibitions, the medium of photography has now become one of the most talked-about contemporary forms of artistic expression in Africa.

This year, the event takes as its theme the ongoing search for a sustainable world, and, at the close of the event, participants plan to draft a "status report" on the issue of global sustainability. The theme of this year’s encounters met with widespread approval, pointing to African artists’ strong social and political commitment to the issue.

Ecological concerns, formerly limited to a small circle of experts and visionaries, are now part of everyday life in Africa. Global warming, the depletion of mineral and food resources, deforestation and water shortage are today at the centre of many local discussions and debates.

Economic liberalism, based on the Western model of a consumption-driven society, has served to vastly improve productivity and development in many areas. It has also, however, widened the gap between rich and poor and, in some cases, had an adverse impact on the local and global environment.

The wide variety of themes and languages employed by artists in this year’s event will provide a general overview of contemporary African visual art, both on the continent and abroad. It is also expected to portray both the effervescence and ongoing renewal of the African photographic scene, highlighting in particular the emergence of a new generation of artists currently in the process of inventing their own unique means of expression.

In a tribute to contemporary African visual arts, annual French photography fair Paris Photo is scheduled to host the Bamako exhibitions in the French capital from 10 to 13 November.

Artists presenting photography works:

From Ghana: Nana Kofi Acquah; Nigeria: Akintunde Akinleye, Uzoma Anyanwu; Tunisia: Sophia Baraket, Hichem Driss, Faten Gaddes, Lotfi Ghariani, Mouna Karray; Equatorial Guinea: Arturo Bibang; South Africa: Lien Botha, Hasan et Husain, Pieter Hugo, Sabelo Mlangeni, Daniel Naude, Joe Ractliffe, Thandile Zwelibanzi; Mali: Drissa Coulibaly, Mamadou Konate; Ivory Coast: Raymond Dakoua, François-Xavier Gbre, Emmanuel B Daou; Mali-Ivory Coast: Fatoumata Diabete; Senegal: Omar Victor Diop; Zimbabwe: Calvin Dondo, Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi; Morocco: Ymane Fakhir, Khalil Nemmaoui; Egypt: Amr Fekry, Nermine Hammam; Martinique: Elise Fitte-Duval; Angola: Délio Jasse; Algeria: Bruno Hadjih; Democratic Republic of Congo: Kiripi Katembo, Francis Kodia, Armel Louzala; Togo: N’Krumah Lawson Daku; Mozambique: Mário Macilau; Benin: Fabrice Monteiro; Libya: Jehad Nga; Nigeria: Charles Okereke, Adolphus Opara; Burkina Faso: Nyaba Léon Ouedraogo; Ghana: Nyani Quarmyne; Haiti: Roberto Stephenson; Ethiopia: Michael Tsegaye

Artists presenting video works:

Mali: Bakary Diallo; Benin: Dimitri Fagbohoun; Cameroon: Em’Kal Eyongakpa; Egypt: Khaled Hafez, Amal Kenawy, Ahmed Sabry; Algeria: Katia Kameli; South Africa: Brent Meistre; Kenya: Grace Ndiritu; Madagascar: Rina Ralay-Ranaivo

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