The 12th edition of Bamako Encounters Photography Biennial will be an opportunity to dedicate a retrospective in honor of, and to celebrate, the 25th anniversary of the festival.
The Ministry of Culture, in partnership with the Institut Français, is pleased to produce this international event. Created in 1994, Bamako Encounters is today the principal event dedicated to contemporary photography and new imagery in Africa.
Bamako Encounters is a platform for the promotion and visibility of photographers and video artists from Africa and its diasporas. It has helped to develop the career of many and for some has even given the opportunity to acquire an international stature. Bamako Encounters is for both the recognition and consecration of African photography.
As the previous editions, titled "Telling Time" (10th edition in 2015) and "Afrotopia" (11th edition in 2017) have shown, Bamako Encounters offers the possible for artists to process a subject with their inspiration, as well as aspirations; to draw out beauty, expression, reflection, and personal interpretation.
In the continuity of this editorial approach, the 12th edition will be devoted to the topic "Stream of consciousness", a literary metaphor calling for a deep, lyrical, vibrant reflection on the act of photography: its specificity, its prerequisites, its requirements, its transmission in a world of hyper-visibility and countless pictures.
The Niger River, in the vision of the curator of the exhibition, has a symbolic place in this year’s theme as the incarnation of this "stream of consciousness". He has even - boldly! - described it as the "cultural cornerstone of the continent".
The notion of dialogue between the continent and its diasporas dispersed throughout the world (Americas, Asia, Oceania, Europe) is also integrated into the festival as a pan-African approach.
We, my team and I, are very honored to be entrusted with the organization of this event of contemporary African creation. We will put all our energy and our know-how so that this silver jubilee of the Photography Biennial is a success.
Bamako Encounters is one of the most important events on the continent dedicated to contemporary creation, and a remarkable platform of visibility for the photographers and videographers of Africa and its diaspora who participate in the celebration of contemporary photography with professionals and the general public.
The exhibition spaces are part of an urban network including the National Museum of Mali, epicenter of the event, as well as the District Museum, the Medina Gallery, and the Institute Francais of Bamako. Many other exhibitions around the city will increase opportunities for visitors.
Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, independent curator and founder of SAVVY Contemporary, is the curator of this edition. By choosing to label this edition Streams of Conscience, he invites artists to imagine the artistic practice of a new "stream of photographic consciousness" in order to "reveal worlds of thought and circumstance, the historical and geographical dimensions that gave rise to photography ".
I want to thank all the partners who support us in the organization. Without their support, it would have been impossible to continue with the Biennale for all these years.
Lassana Igo Diarra
General Delegate of Bamako Encounters