Press Release

Rencontres de Bamako / Bamako Encounters: Streams of Consciousness

30.11.2019 – 31.01.2020
Professional Days: 30.11. – 03.12.19
Various venues in Bamako, Mali

Rencontres de Bamako, the historical and internationally renowned Biennale for Photography and Video Art on the African Continent, is proud to announce the artists who will contribute to its 25th anniversary edition. Titled Streams of Consciousness, after the eponymous 1977 music album by Abdullah Ibrahim and Max Roach, the Biennale will employ multiple understandings of how such streams can be used as photographic tools. Tools that can potentially bridge the African continent with its various diasporas, in addition to conveying cultures and epistemologies. Conceived by Artistic Director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and a curatorial team comprised of Aziza Harmel, Astrid Sokona Lepoultier and Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh, joined by artistic advisors Akinbode Akinbiyi, Seydou Camara and scenographer Cheick Diallo this edition is an invitation to think about the artistic practice of photography as a stream of consciousness, as well as think of photography beyond the tight corset of the photographic. The moment of a snapshot emanates from a flow of thoughts and associations reflecting the photographer’s inner voice, which is unavoidably and constantly in motion.Curated by Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (SAVVY Contemporary, Dak’Art Biennale 2018, documenta 14), who is the Biennale’s Artistic Director, the theme is an invitation to think about the artistic practice of a photographic stream of consciousness in order to reveal the worlds of thoughts and circumstances, the universe of historical and geographical dimensions that gave birth to the photograph. The Niger River acts as a point of departure, serving as a literal and figurative Stream of Consciousness that moves through vast lands, each with its own stories to add to the flow. The Stream of Consciousness posits a reconsideration of ‘Africa’, which has long ceased to be a concept limited to the geographical space of the continent. Africa as a planetary, flowing concept relates to people of African origin, that are spread all throughout Asia, Oceania, Europe, the Americas and the African continent. The Biennale will unite their histories in a Stream of Consciousness by way of photography and video art.

An exhibition told in four verses
The Pan-African exhibition, at the heart of the Biennale, is a selection of the best artistic proposals from more than 300 entries received after an open call stating the theme of the Biennale. Roughly sixty artists from all over the African Continent and diasporas will showcase their contributions to what promises to be an event that will resonate both locally and internationally. The artists, who were carefully selected by Bejeng Ndikung and his curatorial team, will regale, invent, testify, reveal and re-imagine the artistic practice of photographic streams of consciousness with their own language: that of the image. Four chapters have arisen from the artist selection, each of which will take the spectator on its own distinct narrative stream of consciousness. The chapters are named after verses taken from a poem, featured in the prelude of The Dilemma of a Ghost, a play written by Ama Ata Aidoo.

The sudden scampering in the undergrowth
On Presence of the Invisible, the Remote, and other Ghostly Matters

For the mouth must not tell everything
On Politics and Poetics of Ecosystems

We came from left, We came from right
On Displacement, Errantry and Diasporas

The twig shall not pierce our eyes
On the Possibility of Hope and the Future as Promise

Public program, film program and complementary exhibitions

This anniversary edition of Rencontres de Bamako will also be accompanied by a rich public program, consisting of artist talks, performances and discursive events. Fables of Time, the film program of the Biennale, takes political and ideological histories into account and acknowledges the ambivalence of the moving image— i.e to be able to function in service of poetry, conformism and politics. The Biennale will also be accompanied by an extensive reader with contributions from Dominique Malaquais, Olivier Marbeouf, Teju Cole, Omar Berrada, Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, Bongani Madondo, Simon Njami, Nontobeko Ntombela, Denise Ferreira Da Silva, Sorana Munsya, Nacira Guénif-Souilamas, Seloua Louste Boulbina, Thulile Gamedze, Chantal Edie, Sada Malumfashi, Renée Mboya, Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Athi Mongezeleli Joja, Zoe Samudzi, kąrî’kạchä seid’ou, Olu Oguibe, Christine Eyene, Salah Hassan, Maï-Do Hamisultane-Lahlou, Kangsen Feka Wakai, Safiya Sinclair, Vladimir Lucien, Tsitsi Jaji, Kwame Dawes, Viola Allo, Clifton Gachagua and Chris Abani.

Several thematic exhibitions will complete the Biennale’s program. Special consideration is given to collective practices to address the possibility of creating communities that complement each other in practices of perception and capturing, the possibility of collectively telling our own stories through images, the possibility of arguing for the fact that in society we are divisible entities that together make up a larger collective as opposed to the idea of the individual which means indivisible, or the tiniest unit of society. A full overview of the complimentary exhibitions will be announced later this year.

African photography through a female lens
For the first time the Biennale will focus on female perspectives from all over African world. Photography has hitherto been a male-dominated field, as one can observe both in exhibitions and publications. This, of course, has little to do with the lack of female talent; rather it is a reflection on the patriarchal structures still eminent in the field of photography, that keeps women out of the spotlight. This edition will focus on presenting the perspectives of African female photographers to both a local and international public.

List of participating artists of Streams of Consciousness

Selected Artists
Ibrahim Ahmed (Egypt/USA), Nirveda Alleck (Mauritius), Emmanuelle Andrianjafy
(Madagascar), Roger Anis (Egypt), Yannick Anton (Canada), Afrane Akwasi Bediako
(Ghana), Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroon), Jodi Bieber (South Africa), Milena Scherezade,
Carranza Valcárcel (Peru), Cédrick-Isham (France), Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia), Collectif
Orchestre vide – Yohann Quëland de Saint-Pern & Myriam Omar Awadi (France), Amsatou Diallo (Mali), Moustapha Diallo (Mali), Dickonet (Mali), Adji Fatou Amdy Dieye
(Italy/Senegal), Fakhri El Ghezal (Tunisia), Badr El Hammami (Morocco), Yagazie Emezi
(Nigeria), Theo Eshetu (Ethiopia/Italy/ The Netherlands/ United Kingdom), Fototala King
Massassy (Mali), Abrie Fourie (South Africa), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Eric Gyamfi
(Ghana), Yasmina Hajji (France), Halima Haruna (Nigeria), Fanyana Hlabangane (South
Africa), Renée Holleman (South Africa), Adama Jalloh (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone),
Maxime Jean-Baptiste (France), Amina Ayman Kadous (Egypt), Mansour Ciss Kanakassy
(Senegal), Mouna Karray (Tunisia), Godelive Kabena Kasangati (DR Congo), Bouchra
Khalili (France/Morocco), Kolektif 2 Dimansyon (K2D) – Edine Celestin, Fabienne Douce,
Reginal Louissant Junior, Moise Pierre, George Harry Rouzier, Mackenson Saint-Felix
(Haiti), Nicène Kossentini (Tunisia), Kitso Lynn Lelliott (Botswana/South Africa), Keli Safia Maksud (Kenya/Tanzania), Harun Morrison & Helen Walker (United Kingdom)
Santiago Mostyn (Sweden/Trinidad/Zimbabwe), Khalil Nemmaoui (Morocco), Yvon Ngassam (Cameroon), Antoine Ngolke-do’o (Cameroon), Christian Nyampeta (The
Netherlands/Rwanda), Abraham Oghobase (Nigeria), Adeola Olagunju (Nigeria), Léonard
Pongo (Belgium), Nader Mohamed Saadallah (Egypt), Amadou Diadié Samassékou (Mali)
Mara Sanchez Renero (Mexico), Ketaki Sheth (India), Buhlebezwe Siwani (South Africa),
Selasi Awusi Sosu (Ghana), Mohamed Thara (Morocco), Dustine Thierry (Curaçao/The
Netherlands), Boubakary Touré (France/Mali), Hamdia Traoré (Mali), Andrew Tshabangu
(South Africa), Guy Woueté (Cameroon)

Association des Femmes Photographes du Mali (AFPM (Mali), Collectif Orchestre vide
(France), Collective 220 (Algeria), Iliso Labantu Photography Collective (South Africa),
Invisible Borders (Trans-Africa), Kamoinge (USA), Kolektif 2 Dimansyon (K2D) (Haiti),
MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora (Pan-Africa), The Otholith Group
(Ghana/India/United Kingdom)

Solid Rocks
Felicia Abban (Ghana), Akinbode Akinbiyi (Nigeria), Jihan El Tahri (Egypt), Armet Francis
(Jamaica), Liz Johnson Artur (United Kingdom), Deborah Lewis (USA), Eustaquio Neves

Special Projects
Theaster Gates (U.S.A), Fatima Bocoum (Mali), Nakhana Diakite Prats (France/Senegal),
Riason Naidoo (South Africa), Ismael Ndiaye (Mali), Françoise Huguier (France), John
Fleetwood (South Africa)

Curatorial Team
The 12th edition of the Rencontres de Bamako – African Biennale of Photography under the artistic direction of Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung will be co-curated by Aziza Harmel, Astrid Lepoultier and Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh with Akinbode Akinbiyi and Seydou Camara as artistic advisers, as well as the renowned Malian designer and architect Cheick Diallo as scenographer.

About Rencontres de Bamako
Founded in 1994, the Rencontres de Bamako, is organized by the Ministry of Culture of Mali with the support of the Institut Français. Since its inception, the Biennale has been the first and main international event dedicated to African photography and video on the continent, and remains an essential event for contemporary art. A platform for discoveries, exchanges and visibility, the Biennale is an essential place for the revelation of African photographers and the diaspora, a time of exchange with the Malian public and professionals around the world. This year’s edition of Rencontres de Bamako will further underline the importance of culture when it comes to nation-building and establishing Pan-African identities. Lassana Igo Diarra, founder and Director of Galerie Medina (Mali) and Editions Balani’s, is the General Delegate of the Rencontres de Bamako. Under his directorship the production and printing of the artworks will slowly but surely move to the African continent (as opposed to France).

Exhibition Chapters

Chapter 1: The sudden scampering in the undergrowth

On Presence of the Invisible, the Remote, and other Ghostly Matters

  1. Adji Dieye
  2. Amina Kadous
  3. Fanyana Hlanbangane
  4. Mouna Karray
  5. Dickonet
  6. Eric Gyamfi
  7. Halima Haruna
  8. Nirveda Alleck
  9. Nicène Kossentini
  10. Theo Eshetu
  11. Buhlebezwe Siwani
  12. Nidhal Chamekh
  13. Amadou Diadié Samassékou
  14. Guy Wouete
  15. Kitso Lynn Lelliott

Chapter 2: For the mouth must not tell everything

On Politics and/or Poetics of Ecosystems

  1. Adeola Olagunjus
  2. Rahima Gambo
  3. Afrane Akwasi Bediako
  4. Christian Nyampeta
  5. Fakhri El Ghezal
  6. Antoine Ngolke-do’o
  7. Abraham Oghobase
  8. Badr El Hammami
  9. Ibrahim Ahmed
  10. Léonard Pongo
  11. Renée Holleman
  12. Yasmine Hajji
  13. Moustapha Diallo
  14. Abraham Hercules Fourie
  15. Bouchra Khalili
  16. Boubakary Touré

Chapter 3: We came from left, We came from right

On Displacement, Errantry and Dispersal

  1. Amsatou Diallo
  2. Mohamed Thara
  3. Emmanuelle Andrianjafy
  4. Godelive Kasangati Kabena
  5. Harun Morrison & Helen Walker
  6. Andrew Tshabangu
  7. Adama Jalloh
  8. Yagazie Emezi
  9. Yannick Anton
  10. Mansour Ciss Kanakassy
  11. Ketaki Sheth
  12. Mara Sanchez Renero
  13. Milena Scherazade Carranza Valcarcel
  14. Jean-Pierre Bekolo

Chapter 4: The twig shall not pierce our eyes

On the Possibility of Hope and the Future as Promise

  1. Keli Safia Maskud
  2. Dustin Thierry
  3. Khalil Nemmaoui
  4. Cédrick-Isham
  5. Fototala King Massassy
  6. Hamdia Traoré
  7. Roger Anis
  8. Yvon Ngassam
  9. Jean-Baptiste Maxime
  10. Jodi Bieber
  11. Nader Mohamed Saadallah
  12. Selasi Awusi Sosu
  13. Santiago Mostyn

Further Readings:

Concept Note by Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

On Thought Streams, Networks and Short Circuits by Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh