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Senegal 2016-2019


Between 2016 and 2019, I spent a month each year in Senegal. With the help of my Senegalese friend Mara Niang, who resides in Austria, I established connections with various cultural institutions in Dakar, including Maison de la Culture Douta Seck and Centre Culturel Blaise Senghor. During my first visit, Mara introduced me to local artists, and I stayed with Georg, a UN manager in Senegal. His apartment became my studio, with the rooftop terrace as my painting spot. In Dakar, I met Che, a local carpenter who was always willing to help. Alongside cultural center projects, I wanted to paint on the streets. One day, I mentioned to Che my interest in painting a nearby wall, and he promptly introduced me to the owner, who granted permission. This spontaneity in Dakar contrasted sharply with the bureaucratic hurdles of Europe, making it my artistic playground. For my stencils, I drew upon symbols emblematic of Dakar, particularly the iconic "car rapide." This Renault, originally designed for eight passengers in France, is transformed upon import to Dakar to accommodate up to 30 passengers, a vibrant representation of local transportation culture. I delved into the cultural significance of the Senegalese Simb Gaine and the Tirolese Spiegeltuxer. Both hold deep historical roots, symbolizing tradition and identity. It was amusing when I asked a few Senegalese about the painted image of the Spiegeltuxer. Their immediate assumption was that it depicted costumes from other African countries. It highlighted the proximity of traditional costumes across the world. In subsequent works, I grouped African masks from various countries, researching and compiling them into a single artwork. I was also intrigued by the African Renaissance Monument, constructed at great expense to symbolize the transition to a western system, yet ironically built by North Koreans known for their expertise in colossal statues. The local population in Dakar disapproves of the monument due to its exorbitant cost and lack of benefit to the community. I depicted this statue on the stage of the " Centre Culturel Blaise Senghor," doubling the motif to depict it facing in opposite directions, satirizing the concept of the "Go West" mentality.

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