The CCCB opens its programme of exhibitions for the year 2004 with the show Bamako 03. Contemporary African Photography, an overview of the creative work coming out of Africa. After the exhibition Africas: the artist and the city (2001), with its in-depth exploration of African contemporary creation in its many expressive registers, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona takes a further look at the creative vitality of a region which despite its geographical proximity continues, for us, to be an unknown quantity.
In this case, the project centres on the world of photography and its central referent is the Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine de Bamako, a biennial that after five events has become consolidated as one of the continent’s foremost artistic meeting places. This year’s Rencontres took place in the capital of Mali from 20 October to 20 November 2003, under the direction of Simon Njami.
Thanks to an agreement with the organisers of the Bamako Rencontres (the Association Française d’Action Artistique, AFAA, and the Ministry of Culture of Mali), the CCCB will present a broad cross section of the most interesting proposals from the 2003 Biennial, along with printed and film documentation of previous editions. Pep Subirós was responsible for making the selection that has been brought to Barcelona.
The exhibition at the CCCB, based on the same sections as the Rencontres, presents in the region of 200 of the over 2,000 photographs that made up the latest biennial.
The core of the biennial is a major international exhibition comprising the images selected from hundreds that are submitted to Bamako. The photographs are selected on the basis of their quality and their relevance to the general theme of the event, which, in 2003, was ‘Sacred rituals, profane rituals’. In Barcelona we present the work of this year’s prize-winning photographers: Youssouf Nabil (Egypt), Roberto Stephenson (Haiti) and Pape Seydi (Senegal), plus a selection of individual projects that form part of the international section: Mohamed Camera (Mali), Uche Edochie (Nigeria), Sophie Elbaz (France–Algeria), Susan Hefuna (Egypt–Germany), Ingrid Mwangi (Kenya–Germany) and Nour-Eddine Tilsaghani (Morocco).
The show at the CCCB also includes the complete presentation of an exhibition from each of the biennial’s main sections:
From the National section, we have selected the Egyptian show for Barcelona, in which six photographers took part: Jihan Ammar, Lara Baladi, Hala El Koussy, Rehab El Sadek, Maha Maamoun and Youssef Nabil.
The monographic exhibitions present large selections of the work of established photographers. At the CCCB we will be able to view the work of the South African Santu Mofokeng, with its poignant view of the landscape.
From the section on the recovery of historical heritage, we present the work of the photographer Youssef Safieddine, from Senegal.
In this section, the Rencontres pay homage to recently deceased great photographers. The CCCB presents the work of Van Léo, the ‘Egyptian magician’ who immortalised the ‘Belles del Caire’ and who died in 2002.