Àsìkò 2014: 4th CCA, Lagos International Art Programme “A History of Contemporary Art
in Dakar in 5 weeks” | Dakar, Senegal
May 5 – June 8 2014
Àsìkò : Introduction
In 2010 the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos began an innovative programme
with the aims of filling a gap in the educational system in Nigeria and many African
countries, which tend to ignore the critical methodologies and histories that
underpin artistic practice. The programme comes out of the need to build local,
regional and continental support structures for art production, critical thought and to provide a conducive framework that encourages and advances the individual research and production of participants.
Using the format of part art laboratory, part residency and part informal art
academy, over the course of 35 intensive days “A History of Contemporary Art in
Dakar in 5 weeks” will focus partially on technique and primarily on methodology,
critical thinking, and the implementation of conceptual ideas. Àsìkò will be of
benefit to visual artists, art writers and curators interested in thinking through the
conception and execution of their practice, as well as those who are curious and want
to experiment with modes of practice and thought outside of the traditional modes of
working but not to its total exclusion.
2014 Programme in Dakar, Senegal
After two very successful programmes in Lagos, On Independence and The
Ambivalence of Promise in 2010 and History/Materiality in 2012, for the first time
in 2012 Àsìkò moved to another West African country Accra, Ghana taking on an
itinerant characteristic. In 2014 Àsìkò moves to Dakar and intends to go to
Mozambique in 2015 as a way of its continuous engagement with the rest of the
In Senegal, CCA, Lagos will collaborate with Synergie Contemporary led by artist and
professor Viyé Diba. A dynamic and varied programme will be initiated in
collaboration with key organisations and institutions in Dakar including the
University of Dakar, Dak’Art Biennale and the city of Dakar.
“A History of Contemporary Art in Dakar in 5 weeks”
At the end of the programme held in Accra in 2013, the participants provocatively
titled their final presentation, “A History of Contemporary Art in Ghana in the Last
Five Weeks.” Was this gesture an attempt to indicate that the complex history of
contemporary art practice in Ghana could be broached within the temporal period
allotted—five weeks? Certainly such an elaborate history condensed and absorbed in
the space of 35 days, or 840 hours, is subject to questioning. Despite its inevitable
sentiments of reductiveness, the title nonetheless provided a space of examination
and reflexivity, a space in which to dwell on the effects of time and its potential in
tune with the central theme of “The Archive.”
For the 4th edition of Àsìkò, we intend to move away from a definitive theme
towards a more open discursive model that allows the research interests of both the
participants and the faculty to be highlighted. We will focus on and explore African
and African Diaspora cultural production, examining its shifts and developments in
recent years using the 11th Biennale of Dakar – namely its main international
exhibition – as well as the over 150 Dak’Art OFF programmes as the point of
departure. The programme will take into consideration the various aesthetic and
contextual strategies and the professional techniques deployed by artists and
scholars working across a multiplicity of forms including visual art, literature,
cinema and dance and the critical and cultural theory that complements it.
Some of the questions we will investigate include: What are the themes and issues
that have concerned African and African Diaspora artists over the last few decades?
How can diverse formats such as film, literature, theatre, dance and the visual art be
used to develop a discourse that emanates from the continent? In exploring the
richness and the multiplicities of our art and culture, we will use our knowledge of
the past and the present to engage the alternative realities and possible futures. This
intent is couched in ideas such as those expressed by Cheikh Anta Diop: “Whatever
its meaning in the past, it [art] must help us today to solve our current problems, to
adapt to our new living conditions. On political and social fronts, it should, without
ever relinquishing its aesthetic ideal, put the burning issues of the day on the
table…” Such an outlook accords us close interrogation of the various context of
politics, culture, aesthetics, patronage, gender, and the impacts of colonialism, postcolonial
thought and globalization on artistic practice in Africa.
Curatorial Segment of the Programme
The programme will include the 3rd curatorial segment begun in 2012 responding to
an urgent and continuing need for more curators on the continent. During the 35 day
course, curatorial participants will be encouraged to develop their research
methodologies, hone their proposal development as well as their critical writing
skills, engage closely with artists from across the continent as well as with
experienced professionals from around the world. The curators will be challenged to
develop and engage new curatorial formats and strategies for the final programme
under experienced curatorial supervision.
The Global Crit Clinic
In 2011 the Global Crit Clinic, a pioneering project spearheaded by Kianga Ford and
led with Shane Alsan Selzer, took place in Lagos. The Global Crit Clinics are 2-week
intensive programmes rooted in the Fine Arts pedagogical studio critique, designed
to serve international communities where emerging fine artists have limited access to
rigorous, idea-based dialogue. In 2012 it took place in Accra and also served for the
first time as a curriculum module for the CCA, Lagos international art programme.
This was continued in 2013 in Accra as a module for “The Archive: Static, Embodied,
Practiced”. Global Crit Clinic will continue in Dakar in 2014.
Who Can Participate?
■ Applications are open to artists (including self taught artists) and emerging
curators from across Africa and the African Diaspora who have been professionally
active for at least 3 years for artists.
■ Artists can be working in any media – painting, sculpture, textile, ceramics,
photography, video and new media, performance art, writing, theatre and dance.
■ Emerging curators who can benefit from the close interaction with artists as well as
others who are interested in developing interdisciplinary methods of working. There
is the possibility to use the residency as well as the themes and issues as the starting
point to conceive of a final project (your CV should reflect professional curatorial and
writing experience since 2012).
■ Artists who have already participated more than once are not eligible to apply.
However we welcome applications from those applying to attend the programme the
■ All Participants must be available for the full 35 days. Please do not apply if you
can not attend the entire programme.
■ Àsìkò will be conducted principally in English. All Participants must have at least
a conversational level of English language.
To download an application form and information sheet visit the CCA, Lagos website: http://www.ccalagos.org/asiko-art-school
For additional information please contact Erin Rice: