Contemporary Photography in Bamako and Dakar

Exhibition and documentation project - supported by the TURN Fund

Elise Fitte-Duval, La lutte traditionell, 2009

Contemporary photography from Mali and Senegal has drawn increasing attention from the international art world since the 1990s. Especially vibrant scenes have developed in the metropolitan cities of Dakar and Bamako where numerous photographers are combining the genres of street, press and studio photography with their own pictorial traditions and aesthetics. Other forms of documentary photography also play a significant role in society, for example, for presenting information to the illiterate and conveying traditions and tales. In fact, an entire market has developed around these applied areas of photography. However, there are very few professional training and financing structures in place to promote artistic photography based on a Western model. As a result, photographic art projects are usually conceived as international projects. This allows the artists to work in an environment of competing expectations, negotiating between tradition, their own personal goals and the demands of the Western art market.

The project featured important works and voices of leading protagonists in the Malian and Senegalese photography scenes. Directed by art historian Bärbel Küster, the large-scale photo exhibition at the Stadthaus Ulm presented video interviews with the photographers Emmanuel Bakary Daou, Fatoumata Diabaté, Malika Diagana, Harandane Dicko, Omar Victor Diop, Elise Fitte-Duval, Mamadou Gomis, Boubacar Touré Mandémory, Angélina Nwachukwu, Amadou Sow, Djibril Sy and Ibrahima Thiam. The interviews and photographic works shed light on the artists’ self-image in periods of social and political turmoil in Senegal and Mali.

TURN – Fund For Artistic Cooperation Between Germany And African Countries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund (external link, opens in a new window)


Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste

Am Weißenhof 1

70191 Stuttgart (external link, opens in a new window)