The Bamako Encounters – African Biennial of Photography launched their 12th edition in the Malian capital on Saturday November 30. Celebrating 25 years of existence, this edition marks a turning point in the history of the biennial with the new leadership of Lassana Igo Diarra as its General Delegate, and the Malian Ministry of Culture as main organiser of the biennial, in partnership with Institut Français.
Entitled Streams of Consciousness, the 2019 Bamako Encounters are conceived by Artistic Director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and a curatorial team comprised of Aziza Harmel, Astrid Sokona Lepoultier and Kwasi Ohene-Ayeh, joined by artistic advisors Akinbode Akinbiyi, Seydou Camara and scenographer Cheick Diallo.
The programme features 85 international photographers, visual artists, collectives and thinkers across exhibitions, screenings, performances, conversations and a wider public programme.
The preview days concluded with the announcement of the biennial prize winners in a ceremony held at the Musée National on Tuesday December 3.
Eight prizes were awarded to the following artists:
1. President of the Republic of Mali Prize – Khalil Nemmaoui (Morocco)
Honorary prize in recognition of artistic excellence, awarded by the President in his role of Coordinator of the continental organization Arts Culture and Heritage of the African Union bestowed upon him in February 2019 in Addis Abeba.
2. Centre Soleil d’Afrique Prize – Amina Ayman Kadous (Egypt)
Outstanding female artist from Africa whose work shows signs of promise and development.
3. Okwui Enwezor Prize – Abraham Oghobase (Nigeria)
In recognition of an artistic practice engaged in the philosophy and concept of reimaging, and contributing to, international artistic expression.
4. Bisi Silva Prize – Buhlebezwe Siwani (South Africa)
Awarded to research-based art practice, revisiting history, and demonstrating artistic excellence.
5. European Union Prize – Christian Nyampeta (Rwanda/Netherlands)
Outstanding lens-based media artist.
6. Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) Prize – Leonard Pongo (DRC/Belgium)
Presented to a young Francophone artist aged 25-35, developing an experimental practice.
7. Reseau Kya Prize – Amsatou Diallo (Mali)
Best Malian photographer
8. Seydou Keita Prize – Adeola Olagunju (Nigeria)
Best photographic creation at the 12th Bamako Encounters. Artist who appropriates critical thinking in the execution of work, exhibits an out-of-the-box approach, and is technically outstanding.
The nominees were selected from the list of artists who applied to the Bamako Encounters through the open call.
Members of Jury:
Arthur Kibbelaar, Collector and Diplomat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Uche Okpa-Iroha, Photographer and Founder of the Nlele Institute, Lagos, Nigeria
Dana Whabira, Artist and Founding Director of Njelele Art Station, Harare, Zimbabwe
President of Jury:
Christine Eyene, Artistic Director, 5th Biennale Internationale de Casablanca 2020, Morocco
12th Bamako Encounters – African Biennial of Photography: Streams of Consciousness
November 30, 2019 – January 31, 2020
Image: Khalil Nemmaoui, Air Twelve Land series, 2018-2019. Courtesy the artist and 12th Bamako Encounters.