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Rencontres de Bamako Photography Biennale - Nov 30 2019 to Jan 31 2020 in Mali

From a media release:

The 12th Rencontres de Bamako
Streams of Consciousness
Bamako Encounters Photography Biennale
Various venues in Bamako, Mali
November 30, 2019 to January 31, 2020


The 12th edition of Bamako Encounters Photography Biennial will be an opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival. The Ministry of Culture, in partnership with the Institut Français, is pleased to produce this international event. Created in 1994, Bamako Encounters is today the principal event dedicated to contemporary photography and new imagery in Africa. Bamako Encounters is a platform for the promotion and visibility of photographers and …
Curatorial team, clockwise from top: Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Photographer: Alexander Steffens), Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh (Photographer: Kofi Kankam), Astrid Sokona Lepoultier (Photographer: Moussa John Kalapo), Aziza Harmel.
Organized by the Ministry of Culture of Mali with the support of the Institut Français, Bamako Encounters is the principal event dedicated to contemporary photography and new imagery in Africa. Internationally renowned, Bamako Encounters is a platform for discoveries, exchanges, and visibility.

Sites: Musée National du Mali, Palais de la Culture – Amadou Hampate Ba, Mémorial Modibo Keita, Conservatoire des arts et métiers multimédias Balla Fasséké Kouyaté, Galerie Médina, Musée de la Femme – Mousso Kounda, Institut Français du Mali.

Bamako Encounters, 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.

Conceived by Artistic Director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and a curatorial team comprised of Aziza Harmel, Astrid Sokona Lepoultier and Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh, with 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 to consider 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.

Titled Streams of Consciousness, after the eponymous 1977 record by Abdullah Ibrahim and Max Roach, the Biennale will employ multiple overstandings of how such streams can be used as photographic tools. Tools that bridge the African continent with its various diasporas, in addition to conveying cultures and epistemologies. ‘Africa’ has, after all, long ceased to be a concept limited to the geographical space called Africa. Africa as a planetary concept relates to people of African origin, the I & I, that are spread over the world in Asia, Oceania, Europe, the Americas and the African continent.
Charles Okereke, Homeward, Mali, 2010. Invisible Borders Trans-African Project. Courtesy of Rencontres de Bamako.
The exhibition will apply the notion of streams of consciousness as a metaphor for the flux of ideas, peoples, cultures that flow across and with rivers like the Niger, Congo, Nile or Mississippi. This edition of the Biennale listens carefully to remoteness, and invisible matters, hitherto erased voices and images, and celebrates politics and poetics of (in)animate ecosystems.

It expands on the role of collectives in African photographic practices, and the possibility of collectively telling our own stories through images, arguing for the fact that in society we are not individuals, but dividuals: divisible entities that together make up a larger collective.

In an effort to go beyond the frame of photography as a visual experience, this Biennale will engage with the textuality, the tangibility, the performativity and above all the sonicity of photography. The sonic properties of photography are envisioned as streams of consciousness wherein the photographic and phonographic intersect. How can we understand the lyricism of the photographic in that space of cognitive flux? The stream in streams of consciousness is a spectrum that encompasses the conscious and unconscious and forms a space in which the notions of consciousness and unconsciousness collapse into each other.

Roughly eighty-five artists from all over the African continent and diasporas will showcase their contributions.

An exhibition told in four verses.

Four chapters have arisen from the artist selection, each of which will take the beholder on their own distinct stream of consciousness narrative. 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

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