The Bamako Encounters, the African Biennale of Photography, are back after a four-year break due to events in Mali. The next edition, the 10th, will take place in Bamako from 31 October to 31 December 2015. The exponential increase in candidates for this edition (a total of 800 applications compared with 250 for the last edition) shows just how impatient artists on the African continent have been for the Encounters to return.
It cannot be said often enough that the Bamako Encounters provide a unique platform
for photographers in Africa and the diaspora. For more than 20 years, the Encounters
have displayed the work of these artists to a public not just confined to Bamako; it is a
public that includes visitors from all over Africa and the rest of the world. The Bamako
Encounters are a key agent in the emergence of African photographers. For many of them, it is a powerful engine for creativity, hope and dreams come true – the fact of being recognized and being able one day to make a living from their work.
The Biennal is also a unique window for my own country, Mali. We are proud to be hosts to artists and professionals from all over the world during Opening Week (31 October to 4 November 2015).
At the Musée National du Mali, the Musée du District, the Mémorial Modibo Keïta, the
Institut français in Bamako, and in various public areas, our guests will discover Bisi Silva’s artistic programme. Bisi Silva is artistic director for this 10th edition of the Bamako Encounters and she is ably supported by her associate exhibition curators, Yves Chatap and Antawan Byrd.
Bisi Silva’s theme for this anniversary edition is ‘Telling Time’. She invited participating
artists to reflect on the notion of time as a means of suggesting new ways of thinking
about the past, discussing the present, and imagining the future.
I should like to pay tribute here to the commitment and generosity of this independent
exhibition curator from Nigeria. It was she who created the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos), which has become one of the nerve centres of creativity on the African continent.
Bisi Silva chose to be accompanied by Antawan I. Byrd and Yves Chatap as Associate
Curators. I should also like to thank the Institut français, who have been our partners for 20 years and who are co-producers, with us, of the Biennale.
Thanks also go out to all the partners who have supported us in the organisation of the
Bamako Encounters. Without their valued support we could never have sustained the
Biennal through all these years.
Delegate-General for the Bamako Encounters