For 2013, Art Dubai invited Lagos-based curator Bisi Silva to select and work with galleries and artspaces located in West Africa. Silva’s programme was curated around the theme of ‘cities in transition’, with a particular focus on the work of dynamic, independent organisations and artists dealing with specific identities and localities.
Bisi Silva selected five spaces to participate in the fair and to work collaboratively with their artists to produce exhibitions for Art Dubai: Centre for Contemporary Art (Lagos), Espace doual'art (Douala), Carpe Diem (Ségou), Nubuke Foundation (Accra) and Raw Material Company (Dakar).
The artists that participated in Marker 2013 include: Ade Adekola, Karo Akpokiere, Soly Cissé, Harandane Dicko, Ndidi Dike, Amahiguéré Dolo, Em’kal Eyongakpa, Ablade Glover, Taiye Idahor, Abdoulaye Konaté, Adama Kouyaté, Boris Nzebo, Emeka Ogboh, Charles Okereke, Henri Sagna, Kan Si, and Joseph-Francis Sumégné.
Additionally Art Dubai's Arena Hall featured two large-scale textile installations by contemporary Malian artists, reflecting personal and political responses to Mali’s urban realities and traditional heritage. Both works – Aboubakar Fofana’s Obsessions, 2012 and Abdoulaye Konaté’s Power and Religion, 2012 (first commissioned by the Institute of International Visual Arts, Iniva) – made their debut in the UK and were exhibited internationally for the first time.
Bisi Silva is an independent curator and the founder/director of Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos), which opened in December 2007. At CCA, Lagos Silva has curated Fela, Ghariokwu Lemi and The Art of the Album Cover (2007); Ndidi Dike, Waka-into-bondage: The Last ¾ Mile (2008); Like A Virgin...(2009); J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere;Sartorial Moments and The Nearness of Yesterday (2010); All We Ever Wanted (2011); and Occupy Nigeria (2012).
As an independent curator, Silva has co-curated The Progress of Love, a transcontinental collaboration across three venues in US and Nigeria (2012 –2013); J.D. Okhai ‘Ojeikere: Moments of Beauty, Kiasma, Helsinki (2011); the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Greece, Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty (2009). In 2006 Silva was one of the curators for the Dakar Biennale in Senegal.
Silva has participated in international conferences and symposia and written essays for many publications as well as art magazines, and is on the editorial board of N Paradoxa, an international feminist art journal. She is also the guest editor of N. Paradoxa Journal Vol 31 on Africa and its Diaspora.
We would like to thank the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie for their support for Marker 2013.