In September of 1960, Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001)—poet, philosopher, statesman, and cofounder of the loosely conceived Négritude movement in Paris beginning in the 1930s—became president of the newly independent Republic of Senegal. Over the next two decades, Senghor devoted considerable resources to the arts,1 including the creation of a government-supported cadre of modern visual artists known as the École de Dakar. To date, virtually all who have studied the state-funded École de Dakar, for reasons that are in many ways logical and compelling, have read its core fabric as quintessentially nationalist. This reading first became prevalent among critics who faulted Senghor for subordinating the École's production to what they saw as his Négritude philosophy-cum-nationalist ideology (Pataux 1974, Samb 1995 , Ebong 1991).2 More recently it has been taken up by pioneering scholars who argue generally that École artists preserved their integrity even while relying on state patronage (Sylla 1998, 2006; Harney 1996, 2002, 2004; Grabski 2001, 2006, 2013).3 Yet the École de Dakar also stands to be explored for its international and transnational dimensions, which confirm art historian Elizabeth Harney's important observation that Senghor aimed to cultivate “supranational (i.e., pan-African and humanist) models of community” (2004: 50).4 Whereas nationalist readings suggest a decisive rupture with the French and a mandate to build Senegalese identity, I contend that cross-cultural collaboration and worldly participation lay at the core of Senghor's enterprise.
In pursuing this argument, careful distinctions must be drawn between, on the one hand, notions of mid-twentieth-century territorial nationalism in Africa (aiming to transform colonies into independent nation-states), and on the other hand, two closely related terms: “international” (usually denoting interactions between states), and “transnational” (applying especially to phenomena existing across national borders and/or transcending allegiance to any one state). Readers familiar with Négritude but unfamiliar with the École de Dakar may not be surprised by a wider conceptualization of the École, given that Négritude is well known as a pan-African movement aimed at building broad solidarities.
Nationalist readings have nevertheless been explicit in the existing literature and are on some levels persuasive. While curator Ima Ebong stressed that “Senegalese art … from its inception, was incorporated into a national agenda” (1991: 199), art historian Joanna Grabski stated more directly that “the visual propositions of the first generation of modernists responded to Senghor's call for a national art” (2006: 38). And in Harney's thesis, “Senegal's artists have engaged with the histories and practices of modernism and have participated in attempts to link a new aesthetic to the project of nation building” (2004: 4). These readings all feature Senghor using art to enhance post-independence Senegalese nationality—presumably by encouraging people who had long identified as Wolof or Serer or Haalpulaar to prioritize national belonging and by showcasing productions of Senegalese national culture to the rest of the world.5 Such readings are logical insofar as Senghor is well known to have retrofitted black nationalist Négritude with a Senegalese nationalist function in the 1960s (Markovitz 1969, Diouf 2003, Diaw 1993), and insofar as post colonial African nation-states faced a common challenge of forging cohesion among disparate cultural groups (cf. Askew 2002, Hess 2006, Straker 2009, Ivaska 2011, McGovern 2013).
Yet in considering Négritude as a prelude to the École de Dakar, it is important to recall that Senghor's agenda always included cultivating an African presence within global modernity and what he called Civilisation de l'Universel (Civilization of the Universal) (Senghor 2003 , 1963, 1966b: 16; Mouralis 1988: 5; Edwards 2001: 47–48; Jachec 2010; Diagne 2011; Wilder 2015: 51–64). Senghor's Négritude, in other words, took root in diaspora consciousness, but it also aimed to interfere with Eurocentrism on its own terms. Building on this essential but sometimes overlooked aspect of Senghor's project, I will argue that the École de Dakar was significantly international: Its core mandate involved facilitating cultural diplomacy with foreign national governments and societies. I will also argue that the École was transnational: Many of its members laid claim to multiple (often French and Senegalese) cultural elements and artistic traditions—if not by birth, then by education, travel abroad, or appropriated forms and techniques.
To ground this claim visually, let us briefly consider Afrique (Africa, c. 1976, Fig. 1), a tapestry composition by the École de Dakar artist Ansoumana Diédhiou (1949–1990s). Although Diédhiou hailed from Senegal's lush southern Casamance region (Merceron 1966: 9) and may have been meditating on that landscape here, it is clear that his totalizing title, along with the depicted jungle flora, could easily evoke exotica for audiences viewing the continent from afar. Meanwhile, the composition's geometric patterns, strong lines, extreme flatness, sleek aesthetic, and bright colors link it to an international visual language of modernist abstraction. Diedhiou's artistic strategies in these ways both belonged to, and exceeded the scope of, Senegalese culture.
By taking Diedhiou's Afrique as a point of reference, layers of internationalism and transnationalism can be seen embedded in the discourses, institutional histories, and artistic practices that were most relevant to the École de Dakar during decolonization. To paint this picture in broad strokes: Senghor in the 1950s championed francophone West African federation as preferable to fracturing the region into disparate independent territories; Dakar's national art school was established under the Mali Federation (1959–1960), Senegal's short-lived union with French Sudan (now Mali); many influential figures at the national art school in the 1960s and 1970s either received training in France or were themselves French; and works by École artists often circulated through channels devised by Senghor's culture ministries for the purpose of reaching audiences of diverse national backgrounds and to offer signature gifts of state to foreign dignitaries. Overall, Senghor sponsored modernism in his country not so much to galvanize the Senegalese as to project the image of a sophisticated and fully modern Africa around the world. The École was arguably conceived to reimagine, through art, Senghor's longstanding yet ultimately thwarted political dream of an African federation existing within multiple global communities wherein black cultural contributions would be highly valued.
Following especially on Frantz Fanon's (1963 ) well-known critique of Négritude as elitist and ineffectual, scholars and critics have tended to disparage Senghor for his longstanding ties to France and have often framed African modernism in relation to the postcolonial national cultures that Fanon championed. While in certain ways justified, these positions, as applied to Senegal, miss the pragmatism in Senghor's elite-driven cultural politics, whereby modern art was envisioned to build international bridges through high-profile channels. In a present scholarly conjuncture featuring proliferating discourses on “global” modernisms and contemporary art,6 it is worth investigating how Senghor—a distinguished twentieth-century figure by any standard—engineered Senegalese modernism to operate across borders.
BROADER AMBITIONS FOR THE NATION
At the Second Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Rome (1959), Senghor famously stated that,
[W]riters and Artists must play, and are playing, a leading role in the struggle for decolonization. It is their place to remind politicians that politics, the administration of the Polity, is only one aspect of culture, which, starting from cultural colonialism in the form of assimilation, is the worst of all (1959: 293; italics in original).
With these words, Senghor highlighted the importance of creative expression to decolonization. And yet, for Senghor in 1959, decolonization did not, in an ideal scenario, equate to replacing the colonial territory with the independent nation-state. Beginning with the work of Ruth Schachter Morgenthau (1964), some historians of French West Africa have shown that the narrative of an inexorable and instantaneous national independence at the territorial level is one that has become dominant only in retrospect (Foltz 1965, Chafer 2002, Schmidt 2011, Cooper 2014, Wilder 2015).7 In a recent landmark study, Frederick Cooper notes how nearly every major political player native to the region through at least the mid-1950s sought to transform the colonial empire into one or another mode of federation or confederation of African states linked, in Senghor's terminology, both “horizontally” to one another and “vertically” to France (2014: 188). In 1959–1960, federal nationality remained a clear option for Senegal and French Sudan in the form of the Mali Federation until a complex concatenation of events drove each territory toward its own, isolated independence.8
Other statements by Senghor serve to throw processes of decolonization into further relief. As quoted by Cooper, Senghor's worries about the prospects for maintaining the French Community of the fledgling Fifth Republic led him to write, in October 1959: “Nationalism, I acknowledge, is an illness. It conquered Europe in the nineteenth century, Asia in the first half of the twentieth century; it now gnaws at Africa” (Cooper 2014: 346–47).9 As articulated here, Senghor in the 1940s and 1950s did not tie advocacy for African rights and self-governance to demands for complete political autonomy. His anti-colonialism, in other words, avoided pivoting on the false promise of territorial nationalism, which risked engendering what he called “balkanization,” or the division of independent Africa into small, economically and politically weak states (Cooper 2014: 237). Though the potentials of supranational political unions were (and remain) contested, Senghor's bet was that a West African federation joined in confederation with France would give the region greater power and leverage in world affairs, while obliging France to make continuing concessions to its former colonies.
By 1966, well after the collapse of both the Mali Federation and the French Community, Senghor's best-known statement addressing the “national” character of Senegalese art still defined the African nation as something transcendent of what it had become:
We must then be a nation—that which we were long before independence. But we must still find the most precise tools to express, within the diversity of individual temperaments, our community of thought and feeling. In short we must find a national style and technical modern methods in line with our times.
We have that national style which is a symbiosis between French imported technology and our traditional culture. By “traditional culture” I understand, here, the Atlantic features of north West African culture (1977 : 11–12).10
Senghor here references some of the key elements picked up later by scholars to characterize Senegalese artistic production: shared identity, a recognizable style, imported techniques and media applied to African forms and subject matter. At the same time, it is impossible to overlook his characterization of the nation as existing “long before independence” and of national style as a complete “symbiosis” bringing together local culture and “French imported technology.” These phrases point to a need to adjust our understandings of postcolonial Senegalese modernism to align with Senghor's own lofty “nationalist” vision. For Senghor in this context, “nation” referred to African states preceding the artificial boundaries drawn by colonization. Senegal's contemporary “national” culture would hark back to those precolonial times, while also appropriating French technological elements. This articulation of an enduring West African artistic style can be read as transnational in time and space. It also mirrored Senghor's ideal of a West African federation that would retain strong connections between territorial states and between those states and France.
TRANSNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND PRACTICES
Clues to the École's character also emerge from the annals of state-sponsored art institutions whose general histories are now well known, but whose transnational dimensions stand to be examined in greater detail. A first bit of evidence derives from the name of the “school” itself, which today has come to connote the generation of Senegalese modern artists who worked under Senghor's patronage. In fact the name does not seem to have been coined by Senghor or the Senegalese, but rather by France's first minister of cultural affairs, André Malraux, on April 1, 1966, in a speech inaugurating the Tendances et Confrontations exhibition at the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar (Grabski 2001: 53; Sylla 2006: 119).11 No written or recorded trace of Malraux's speech has been found, but the ideas undergirding the label are fairly straightforward. On the one hand, Malraux sought to offer Senegalese visual modernism a place alongside the artistic traditions best known in Europe. On the other hand, Malraux could only manage to distinguish Senegalese art by relating it back to French modernism and the so-called École de Paris. As art historian Hannah Feldman has noted in an essay on Malraux's musée imaginaire, “Malraux's pretension toward a global aesthetic order” was “still organized from the point of view of France” (2014: 26).
To situate the development of the École itself, it is useful to begin with a brief prehistory of art education in late colonial Senegal. Although a private Conservatoire de Dakar had trained many West African performing artists during late 1940s through the 1950s (Sylla 2006: 159), and although the French colonial administration in 1953 instituted a network of cultural centers which immediately played a role in supporting local artistic activities (Nedelec 1997), no studio art program had existed in Dakar during these years.12 By the mid-1950s, a handful of African painters had exhibited at the French Cultural Center and other venues, but these artists remained in the minority among a larger number of French artists participating in the private and loosely organized Académie Africaine des Arts Plastiques.13
Following the 1956 Loi-Cadre (Framework Law) granting semi-autonomy to the territories of French West Africa and the founding of the Mali Federation within the French Community in early April of 1959, a decree signed on April 22, 1959, created a federal arts school, the Maison des Arts du Mali.14 Housed largely within the Théâtre du Palais on Avenue Roume in downtown Dakar, the school was mandated to serve the full federal territory.15 As outlined in the decree, the school was to comprise five sections: an Arts Plastiques (studio art) section; a section devoted to researching and teaching what were referred to as arts nègres (“black arts”); a section where classical disciplines (including music and dance) were taught; a film section; and a cultural affairs section.16 Archival evidence suggests that music and theater dominated the school at this point, while studio arts, dance, and cinema attracted less interest, and the arts nègres and cultural affairs sections had yet to be established in practice.17
Around this time (probably in early 1960), the Saint-Louis-born painter Iba Ndiaye (1928–2008) returned from France to head the Arts Plastiques section (Fig. 2).18 Ndiaye's colleague in the first configuration of the section was Papa Ibra Tall (1935–2015), a prominent painter, illustrator, and draftsman from Tivaouane who had also spent time studying architecture and art in France in the late 1950s (“Interview avec Papa Ibra Tall,” 1962: 62; Diouf 1999: 97, Cochrane 2011: 380).19 Shortly after the Mali Federation collapsed in August 1960, the Maison des Arts du Mali became the École des Arts du Sénégal. During the 1960–1961 academic year, the two artists, Ndiaye and Tall, worked together in the Arts Plastiques section, with Tall overseeing an introductory class while Ndiaye taught life drawing.20 The earliest students in Arts Plastiques included Doudou Diagne, Alioune Badara Diahkhaté, Ansoumana Diédhiou, Mar Fall, Mor Faye, Silman Faye, Souleymane Keita, Pathé Mbaye, Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane,” Ibrahima Ndiaye, Mamadou Niang, Eugène Sané, Mamadou Sène, Moustapha Touré, and Mamadou Wade, along with two French students resident in Dakar, Catherine Sollier and Dominique Merlin.21
In the fall of 1961, personal disagreements between Ndiaye and Tall prompted the latter to found a new studio section known as Recherches Plastiques Nègres (Fig. 3), whose first students were Amadou Ba, Ibou Diouf, Ousmane Faye, and Mamadou Cheikh “Modou” Niang, followed by Papa Sidy Diop and Seydou Barry.22 In this section, Tall was also eventually joined by an influential French assistant, Pierre Lods (1921–1988). Lods was a mathematics teacher and amateur painter who had founded the so-called Poto-Poto School of modern painting in Brazzaville as early as 1951 and whom Senghor had invited to Dakar to teach art.23 The overall mission of the École des Arts in the early years, as stated in an introductory pamphlet published by the Senegalese government, was to train students to master “universal artistic techniques while applying them to traditional sources of African inspiration.”24
According to this document, the École des Arts at this time reflected a twin emphasis on “universal” and “African” concerns (cf. Senghor 1964 ). “Teaching” sections in music, dance (Fig. 4), theater, and Arts Plastiques apparently remained predominantly academic and Western in orientation, while the “research” division (comprising the Recherches Plastiques Nègres and Recherches Musique Africaine sections) ostensibly favored indigenous forms and idioms (even though a photograph from the music section features musicians with a West African kora as well as a Western saxophone, piano, and sheet music; Fig. 5).25 A third studio arts section, the Section de Formation de Maîtres d'Education Artistique (also known as the Section Normale d'Education Artistique), was added in 1965 under the direction of Frenchman Philippe Bonnet.26 This section, which trained artists to work as art teachers, may have leaned toward classical pedagogy, given its French leadership in Bonnet and other faculty members. Its earliest students included Bocar Pathé Diong, Mor Faye, Chérif Mané, Omar Ngalla Faye, and Massène Sène.27
Scholarly accounts of Senegalese art education have widely identified two opposing pedagogical currents: a classical beauxarts training directed by Ndiaye in the Arts Plastiques section, and a fully spontaneous, laissez-faire approach pervading the Recherches Plastiques Nègres section under Tall and Lods.28 This formula demands to be complicated on several counts. It is true that Ndiaye held academic training in high regard, and he evidently looked askance at the noninterfering approach as a kind of essentialism or “primitivism” that assumed inborn creativity among Africans (N'Diaye 1977; Ndiaye quoted in Klotchkoff 1983: 49; N'Diaye and Kaiser 1994: 53–54). But Tall, even though he did not embrace academicism and sought to instill free expression, saw Lods's noninterventionist pedagogy as lacking in rigor. As Tall recalled of the moment when he learned that Lods would be joining his section: “I said, ‘I don't want anything to do with the Poto-Poto brand. Poto-Poto has an air of being undisciplined. I don't want Poto-Poto in the École de Dakar.'”29 Tall accepted Lods in the Recherches section only on the condition that Lods recognize his authority as the sections founder and director.30
As for Lods, he undoubtedly subscribed to certain race-based notions of “African” creativity. He stated in 1967, for instance, that, “Since almost all Africans are powerful artists, one can choose [as students] the ones who have multiple strengths: imagination, facility, a sense of composition and of the harmony of colors” (Lods quoted in Hossmann 1967: 38). Still, it seems excessive to say of Lods, as Abdou Sylla has done, that “he didn't teach, thus had no teaching method” (2006: 131). Several testimonies report Lods advising his students in matters of composition, color, and technique (Diouf in Hossmann 1966: 37; Hossmann 1967: 37; Tati-Loutard 1978: 27–28), although he may have offered less in the way of technical and conceptual guidance than did his colleagues.
Further, Iba Ndiaye was not solely responsible for academic training at the École des Arts. Ndiaye, a painter who studied with the Russian-born sculptor and painter Ossip Zadkine in Paris and whose personal style bore influences from Rembrandt and Soutine, among others, was undoubtedly a crucial figure (Fig. 6), as he was the senior instructor in Arts Plastiques (“Iba N'Diaye” 1962: 36–37; Merceron 1966: 8–9). But we have no reason to believe Ndiaye's colleagues were less influential, even though their names have not appeared in published accounts of Senegalese art pedagogy. In fact, Ndiaye led the section but he initially taught only drawing.31 Two French professors, Gaffier and Voigny, meanwhile also taught drawing in Arts Plastiques in the early 1960s, when painting was the domain of several other instructors from Europe, including one Mrs. Kaiser (d. 1961), and Michèle Emmanuel (who taught briefly in 1961–1962).32 Outside of painting, another Frenchman, Pierre Delclaux, taught tapestry weaving to a pair of Senegalese students—Samba “Vieux” Mané and Thierno Touré—from 1961 through 1963 on a small loom imported from France.33 There was also a Professor Saros teaching perspective; Jean-Jacques Bourgoin, a young medical student offering a weekly anatomy class; Will Petty, an African-American instructor of clay modeling; and Suzanne Bourgoin (the medical students mother) and Francine Ndiaye (Iba Ndiaye's French wife) teaching Western and African art history, respectively.34 The Section Normale led by Bonnet must have added yet another model of academic training, wherein pedagogy itself was a central concern.
The Manufacture Nationale de Tapisseries (MNT; now Manufactures Sénégalaises des Arts Décoratifs [MSAD]) was another important art institution founded during Senghor's presidency.35 Located in the inland city of Thiès on the site of a former army barracks, the tapestry workshop officially opened on December 4, 1966. Its inauguration ceremony presided over by Senghor, had in attendance President Modibo Keita of Mali (1915–1977) as well as two luminaries of modern French tapestry: Michel Tourlière (1925–2004), then director of the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs d'Aubusson, in central France; and François Tabard (1902–1969), a master weaver whom Senghor introduced as “the very source” of the French renaissance in tapestry-making. In his speech, Senghor also credited the French artist Jean Lurçat (1892–1966): “Several years ago in Cotonou, [Lurçat] encouraged me to start a manufacture like this one in Senegal” (1966a: 11).
Even if Lurçat did make this suggestion, the driving force behind the MNT/MSAD was Papa Ibra Tall, who in Paris in the late 1950s had studied modern applied arts: pottery at a studio on the Impasse de l'Astrolabe in the 15th arrondissement; diverse media and techniques at the École des Métiers d'Art on rue Thorigny in the 4th; and tapestry in the private workshop of a weaver in Vincennes.36 Whether the original idea for the Thiès workshop was Lurçat's or Senghor's or Tall's, it was Tall who became the workshops first and longest-serving director (1966–1975, 1989–2010) and who arranged for the training of its first generation of weavers—Mamadou Wade (b. 1944), Mar Fall (b. 1944), Doudou Diagne, and Alioune Badara Diahkhaté—at France's Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins in Paris in 1963–1964 (Senghor 1969; Sylla 2006: 173–74).37 Tall's general interest in applied arts, as well as his personal artistic style, with his strong emphasis on line conducive to tapestry design and his affinity for color and the realm of fantasy, also exerted a marked influence on production at Thiès. Especially carrying on Tall's method were Ousmane Faye, Seydou Barry, and Modou Niang, who all went to work at Thiès, joining Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane” and Ansoumana Diédhiou as the first generation of cartonniers transforming maquettes into blueprints for weaving.
Tall's style was, in turn, partly a product of cosmopolitan influences that included—as the artist divulged in a radio interview broadcast in France in 1967—a particular attraction to the work of the Russian Symbolist artist Mikhail Vrubel (1856–1910).38 In a more recent interview, Tall recounted how he discovered Vrubel's compositions reproduced in art books in Dakar, noting that it was the Russian artist's “lyricism” that most appealed to him.39 Perhaps what additionally held Tall's attention was Vrubel's interest in local fairy tales (comparable to the African folktales Tall was known for illustrating [see Terrisse and Tall 1965]), and Vrubel's interest in applied arts such as pottery and stained glass. The connection is especially visible in comparing Tall's The Sower of Stars (Cover) with Vrubel's The Swan Princess (Fig. 7). Both compositions feature regal female subjects in flowing dresses, elaborate regalia, and jewel-encrusted crowns. Although a marked contrast can be noted in Tall's low-angle approach to his subject versus Vrubel's view from just above eye level, both works feature rhythmic and undulating lines, accented in the fingers and radiating presence of Tall's Sower and in the sea behind Vrubel's Princess. Tall's Beautiful Birth (Fig. 8) and Vrubel's Knight (Fig. 9) evidence a similar kind of selective borrowing, as Tall invokes traditions of chivalry to reference local anticolonial resistance struggles. As Tall explained, cavalry serving the Wolof resistance fighter Lat Dior (1842–1886) hailed from Tall's hometown of Tivaouane; Tall's father's side of the family was famous for its master horsemen.40
Tall was by no means the only École artist to incorporate cross-cultural influences. To cite one further example, the artist Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane” (b. 1936) stated in an interview that American and French movie posters had first piqued his interest in visual art as early as the 1940s.41 Ndiaye specifically noted that Songho, his tapestry composition depicting Senegal's national sport of wrestling (Fig. 10), drew inspiration from a character in Alexander Korda's 1940 blockbuster film The Thief of Bagdad, based loosely on The Arabian Nights. The “Silver Maid” in Korda's film (Fig. 11), a six-armed, Kali-like “magical toy” programmed to kill on command, gave Ndiaye the idea to paint multiple arms on his composition's wrestlers to suggest furious action.
Such cosmopolitan influences went hand-in-hand with the international personnel working at Thiès. Line Bacconnier, a French artist and weaver who had trained under Lurçat, moved to Senegal in 1964 to continue training Wade, Fall, Diagne, and Diahkhaté and to aid in preparations for the opening of the tapestry workshop at Thiès, where she then worked as a technical assistant from 1966 to 1974 before starting her own tapestry workshop, the Atelier de Tapisserie l'Arantèle, in a suburb of Dakar (c. 1973–82).42 Aubusson-trained weavers Gilette Lecherbonnier and Sténia Domanski also worked as technical assistants at Thiès beginning in the late 1960s, with Domanski going on to join Bacconnier at Arantèle in the 1970s.43
Meanwhile, the art school in Dakar was revamped under a new name in 1972 as the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts (ENBA), situated within a larger arts and industrial design complex, the Institut National des Arts (INA).44 This change, too, must be registered in defining and characterizing the École de Dakar, in the sense that art training in the 1970s came to be dominated by French coopérants, or development workers employed by France's Ministère de la Coopération (Harney 2004: 125).45 Senghor-era art training, in other words, was carried out in part by European instructors, and beginning in the early 1970s, the fine arts curriculum followed an increasingly internationalized and professionalized agenda in conjunction with cultural policy amendments responding to the major student protests of spring 1968 and 1969.46
As explained by Senegalese cultural policy veterans Alioune Badiane and Daouda Diarra, the new dispensation called for retaining academic art training while adding further specializations in graphic design, interior design, communications, advertising, and other areas of study promising marketable skills.47 At ENBA, however, academic training remained paramount and was guided by European professors such as Jean-Paul Fatout and André Seck in sculpture, Bernard Pataux and Michèle Strobel in art history, Simone Pataux in design and applied arts, and Jacques Ehrmann, François Pousse, Daniel Mangion, Jacques Lamy, Jacques Poulain, and Claude Chavan in drawing and painting.48 Meanwhile, the school's orientation gradually came to be influenced by artistic currents from the United States and France—Supports/Surfaces, conceptualism, mixed media, and use of found objects (eventually known in Senegal and elsewhere as récupération)—particularly under the influence of Paolo Paolucci, an Italian painter who was a fixture at ENBA in the 1970s.49
INTERNATIONAL DISPLAY CONTEXTS
Visual art seems to have played little if any role in state efforts to develop national solidarity and pride within Senegal during Senghor's presidency. Where national administration was concerned, the École de Dakar, although evidently comprising Senegalese artists based in Senegal, functioned largely within a second and almost entirely separate international domain of state-sponsored cultural activity. As early as 1962, Senegal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs contained a Division des Relations Culturelles et Sociales, meaning that culture occupied two very different institutional locations in the post-independence regime, simultaneously under the Ministry of Education and under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.50 Although documentation of the culture division in Foreign Affairs is scarce, it was likely this office that participated in organizing, in collaboration with Papa Ibra Tall, the first exhibitions of Senegalese art in Europe in the early 1970s.51 Subsequently the government established a Commission aux Expositions d'Art à l'Étranger within the Ministry of Culture to produce and manage international exhibitions, which toured the Americas and Asia in the late 1970s and early ‘80s (Arte Contemporânea do Senegal 1978, Arte contemporáneo del Senegal1979, Contemporary Art of Senegal1979, Contemporary Art of Senegal1980, Senegaru gendai bijutsuten1982, Art sénégalais d'aujourd'hui1983, Répertoire permanent1985: 207).52
Artists and scholars alike have acknowledged the role of international exhibitions within the political currents of Senegalese modernism (Harney 2002: 21, Katchka 2008: 54).53 Senghor, for his part, saw the lavish Art sénégalais d'aujourd'hui exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris (1974) as a crowning achievement: “[T]his event … motivated us to reflect and take scope of Senegalese art and its growing international influence; an art which could make Senegalese artists ambassadors of their country, a fact which was verified by the number of visitors exceeding the average” (1989: 19–20). Senghor's language is somewhat deceiving here, as he portrays the exhibition as having objectively evidenced, rather than calculatingly manufactured, the international status of Senegalese art. To be sure, the Grand Palais show was important. Compositions by Ibou Diouf (Fig. 12) and Modou Niang (Fig. 13) were produced specially for the occasion as large single-edition tapestries in Aubusson. But it was Senghor himself who sought to promote the École de Dakar internationally. And Senghor must have personally brokered the deal for the Grand Palais, securing one of the world's most prestigious exhibition venues through his decades-long friendship with Georges Pompidou, a former classmate who served as France's president from 1969 until his death in 1974.54
According to cultural policy specialist Souleymane Ngom, Senghor's arts policy constituted a key strategy within foreign diplomacy: “Senegalese diplomacy had culture as its foundation. Senegal made its presence known throughout the world not through weapons, but through culture.”55 Art in this way sometimes had a role to play within foreign relations, as when the offices of the president and the prime minister commissioned tapestries to be presented to political leaders as gifts of state.56 The Thiès archives contain only sparse information concerning the tapestries' diplomatic functions, but at least a handful of cases are known. For example, MSAD weavers made a first edition of Ansoumana Diédhou's composition Dankaby (The Young Woman) for Senghor's office as a gift for the Marxist military leader of Congo-Brazzaville, Marien Ngouabi, in 1974. And the second edition of Boubacar Goudiaby's Oiseau dans le Jardin (Bird in the Garden) was produced in 1975–1976 as a gift of state for Romania's Nicolae Ceauşescu. There does not seem to be any stylistic correlation between the tapestries and their recipients, but it is tempting to read subtle symbolism in the rather somber composition by Badara Camara entitled À ma mort (To My Death) presented in the late 1980s by Senghor's successor, Abdou Diouf, to Zaire's infamous dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
The government also commissioned tapestries and purchased paintings and sculptures for the state art collection, the Collection Artistique Privée de l'État, which served to decorate government offices, including Senegalese embassies around the world. Senghor's most elaborate project in this domain was the Senegalese embassy complex in Brasília (inaugurated 1977; Fig. 14) whose architecture was inspired by Mali's Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, with interior decoration featuring African canonical sculpture and textiles as well as contemporary works from the École de Dakar (Figs. 15–16). The embassy in Brasília served as an elegant space for social and artistic events connected to Senegalese culture and diplomacy. At the same time, the embassy's interior designer and ambassador's wife, Madeleine Devès Senghor, explained in an interview that President Senghor intended the embassy complex to reference not only modern Senegal but also the great empires of medieval West Africa and thus a far-reaching history of African civilizations.57
A “SCHOOL” BEYOND NATIONALITY
A final illustration of the supranational nature of Senghor's cultural policy can be found in the history of the well-known First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar, 1966), a decidedly global affair with multiple alliances and tensions among local players as well as among players from elsewhere in Africa, the diaspora, Europe, and the Eastern Bloc (Colloquium1968, Huchard 2002, Ficquet and Gallimardet 2009, Wofford 2009, Blake 2011, Ratcliff 2014, Murphy 2016). As evidenced in a state-produced tourism brochure from the period (Fig. 17), the Festival advertised Senegal as the “crossroads of the world and door to black Africa.” Here Senegal is marketed not as a discrete national unit, but rather for its cosmopolitanism and its facilitation of transcontinental connections.
So significant was the Dakar Festival to Senghor's overall cultural project that it required a dramatic restructuring of culture-related government agencies during its planning stages. Whereas Senegal's initial postindependence government of 1960–1963 included no dedicated ministries of culture, a newly formed Commissariat des Arts et Lettres in 1964 was moved from the Ministry of Education and Culture (then headed by Ibra Wane) directly into Senghor's office, alongside a new Commissariat à l'Information managing the media, “mass education,” and tourism (Répertoire permanent1985: 66). This change reinforced the transformation of Senghor's government after the 1962 ousting of Prime Minister Mamadou Dia from a bicephalous executive to an essentially autocratic one, and it coincided with preparations for the Festival, which were moved directly under Senghor's control. During the twenty-four months leading up to the Festival, it was Senghor himself who presided over cultural affairs, effectively serving as both minister of culture and head of state.
Even though spearheaded by Senghor's government, the Festival had originated, conceptually speaking, outside of Senegal, with internationalism as its end goal. As historian Sarah Frioux-Salgas (2009: 16) has pointed out, the idea for the Festival had germinated in Paris as early as 1948, when Présence Africaine founder Alioune Diop wrote to Paul Rivet, the director of the Musée de l'Homme, to propose a black arts and culture festival to be held in Paris with Rivet's backing.58 Diop, in his letter, provisionally named his proposed event the Exposition Internationale du Monde Noir, and while stipulating that the event “would be more a ‘Jamboree’ than a ‘Colonial Exposition,'” he made sure to underscore the international dimension of the project: “It would thus be about, not a fossilized Black World … but a working Black World, in its ambition for a future, that is, in the final analysis, in its integration, as a continent, into the global concert.”59
Rivet did not end up endorsing Diop's proposal, but as Éloi Ficquet and Lorraine Gallimardet (2009: 136–37) have noted, the idea resurfaced a little more than a decade later at the Second International Congress of Black Writers and Artists, where it was decided to organize a black arts festival at the following Congress, with special emphasis placed on an art exhibition, presumably of canonical African sculpture, within the event. As explained in a statement published in Présence Africaine:
The festival must be backed up with an excellent art exhibition organized by Africans and by people of African descent. […] It is necessary to clearly realize that a production of visual arts and action around the congress is of the highest importance for demonstrating the vitality and excellence of African culture (“Résolution” 1959: 417).
Among the core participants in the Rome Congress, Senghor would be the first to arrive in a position of sufficient prestige and power to host such an event—which he did with major support from the French government and UNESCO, as well as through international organizing and fund-raising efforts by the Paris-based Société Africaine de Culture (Premier Festival Mondial1966). The 1966 Festival was therefore the realization of what had started as a Paris-based vision of pan-Africanist participation in world culture.
The Festival also featured one of the first major exhibitions of contemporary art by artists from Africa and the diaspora, Tendances et Confrontations (1966), as well as one of the largest exhibitions of canonical African sculpture organized to that date, Art Nègre: Sources, Évolution, Expansion (1966). Senegalese painter Ibou Diouf (b. 1941) has stressed that the Festival, for which Diouf designed a poster (Fig. 18) and where Tendances et Confrontations marked the École de Dakars public debut, featured artists from across the continent and the diaspora.60 Referring to the Festival and to the exhibition, Diouf noted:
It's not a question of the École de Dakar, it's a question of Africa. It wasn't called the World Festival of Senegalese Artists—no! It's necessary to take a broader view, to reframe this African thought. Otherwise we risk … saying that the entire Festival revolved around the Senegalese.61
What linked these two exhibitions—Tendances et Confrontations and Art Nègre—was not simply their placement within the same Festival. In retrospect, one of Senghors motives in creating the École de Dakar was to shape a new generation of artists who would be modernizers of longstanding artistic traditions and who would carry on the cross-cultural dialogue that had started with early twentieth-century European avant-garde engagements with African sculpture. This was evidenced in the significant attention devoted to the “Meeting of Negro Art and the West” at the colloquium accompanying the Art Nègre exhibition in 1966 (Colloque1967); in the same exhibitions inclusion of European modernist works inspired by African sculpture; and in Senghor's later statements citing Picasso as a model for the École de Dakar (1995 : 228; Harney 2010: 486).
The state-sponsored École de Dakar, like the Festival, was conceived more in relation to global dialogues than to nation-building at home. Aesthetically, the École de Dakars orientation was international and transnational rather than exclusively Senegalese, and politically the Écoles mission involved not so much appealing to the Senegalese masses as projecting modern African culture abroad—most often through official and high-brow venues. This is precisely what Fanon and others have decried as elitist and accommodating. The criticism is fair, yet the École de Dakar can also be understood as instantiating an alternative version of Senghors federalist blueprint for African solidarity and north-south integration at independence, which was a widely shared vision until it crumbled with the Mali Federation in 1960. Politically as well as aesthetically, then, the École de Dakar offered a platform for keeping the federalist ambition alive, even if abstractly, amidst political circumstances that transformed Africas colonies into independent but small and dissociated states. The École in this sense embodied Senghors deferred dream of a more interconnected postcolonial order. When the dream evaporated, Senghor turned especially to arts and culture to maintain a broad-based community and to keep his country in contact with the world.
The author would like to thank the artists and officials in Senegal and France who shared their time and expertise; Zoë Strother and Gary Van Wyck for their invitations to present versions of this paper at Columbia University (New York) and at ECAS (Paris) in 2015; and an anonymous reviewer for African Arts as well as Zoë Strother, Susan Gagliardi, and the spring 2016 CUNY FFPP group led by Vilna Treitler for valuable comments on earlier drafts. Work on this article was made possible through generous funding from the Dedalus Foundation, the Columbia University Mellon Traveling Fellowship, the Elinor Wardle Squier Townsend Fellowship, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the PSC-CUNY Research Fund, and a CCNY Humanities Enrichment Grant. All translations are by the author unless otherwise noted. All efforts have been made to obtain image permissions; we will be glad to publish missing credits if contacted by the rights holders.
Scholars have relied on a brief statement from Senghor (1989: 20) to note that 25% or more of Senegal's state budget went to “culture” (Harney 1996: 43, 2004: 12) or “the arts” (Grabski 2001: 17, 2006: 38) during his twenty-year presidency. While funding for arts and culture was no doubt substantial, published budget records (po II 4 7) held in the Archives Nationales du Sénégal (hereafter ANS) reveal that the combined budget for culture and education tipped past 25% only in 1977–78 and 1979–80, and that it mostly hovered between 18% and 22% under Senghor. More importantly, to imagine culture and education as a combined budget is somewhat misleading, as Senegal's ministries of culture—which were detached from education beginning in 1966—received dramatically less funding. Between 1966 and 1970, for example, culture comprised between 0.26% and 0.78% of the annual budget, and even when the combined budget surpassed 25%, funding for culture stayed at less than 0.7%. Education, in other words, received the lion's share of funding for what was categorized in the national budget rubric as “Section III—Action culturelle et sociale.” Policy questions receive closer scrutiny in Cohen 2019.
Harney has additionally noted that, “[T]he arts infrastructure was essentially export oriented, promoting an image of the nation and its aesthetic abroad” (2002: 21). I seek to bring further analysis to this important point while questioning perceptions of the École's predominantly nationalist purpose.
The studies by Morgenthau and Foltz predate what Wilder (2015: 3–5) has called “methodological nationalism.”
As Elizabeth Schmidt (2011: 524, 534) has reminded us, the federal idea continued to be attractive after independence, albeit in somewhat diluted form, as West Africa's first two independent countries, Ghana and Guinea, banded together in 1958 to form the Ghana-Guinea Union—the seed of what the nations' leaders hoped would become the United States of Africa.
I have altered parts of the translation based on comparison with the original French printed in the same volume (pp. 7–9) and in unabridged form in Senghor 1966a: 11.
Ibou Diouf, interview with author, Dakar, February 22, 2013. Amadou Seck, interview with author, Dakar, February 27, 2013.
On French painters active in Dakar during the interwar period (1922–39), see Lagrange 2015.
In February 1955, the newspaper Paris-Dakar reported that Papa Ibra Tall, a Senegalese pioneer modernist, had already exhibited his work “four or five times” at the “Exposition de l'Académie Africaine des Arts.” See “Une artiste africain” 1955: 3. See also Centre Culturel Français, Salon de mars. Dakar 1961. Catalogue, ANS, bi III 8 178. According to Tall (interview with author, Tivaouane, June 25, 2013), the Académie Africaine des Arts Plastiques was a private, French-run organization headed by one Maître Cosson, a prominent French lawyer and amateur painter and painting instructor.
“Décret de Présentation d'un Projet de loi à l'Assemblée Fédérale,” April 4 & 22, 1959, Création et fonctionnement, Maison des Arts, Théâtre du Palais, 1959, ANS, FM 46. Other sources (Sy 1989: 35, Grabski 2001: 18, Grabski 2013: 277) indicate that the Maison des Arts may have existed as a private arts center at least a year prior to its establishment as a federal institution.
Another document places the institution in service to an even broader community, the “African States of French Culture.” See Maurice Sonar Senghor (Secrétaire Générale de l'Union des Artistes et Techniciens du Spectacle d'Afrique Noire), letter to Président de l'Assemblée du Mali (March 23, 1959) and “Projet d'organisation des Arts dans les États Africains de Culture Française,” Projet de la creation de la Maison des Arts dans les États Africains de Culture Française, 1959, Fonds de la Féderation du Mali, 1959–1962, ANS, FM 50.
“Décret de Présentation d'un Projet de loi à l'Assemblée Fédérale,” April 4 & 22, 1959, Création et fonctionnement, Maison des Arts, Théâtre du Palais, 1959, ANS, FM 46.
Féderation du Mali, Arts et Lettres, 1959–1960, ANS, FM 50.
For Iba Ndiaye's account see “Interview avec Papa Ibra Tall” 1962: 36.
Papa Ibra Tall, interview with author, Tivaouane, June 25, 2013.
Mamadou Wade, interview with author, Dakar, March 27, 2013. There remains a margin of uncertainly on this point, as Papa Ibra Tall (interview with author, February 21, 2014) either did not have memory of, or did not wish to comment on, the details of this chronology.
Souleymane Keita, interview with author, Dakar, February 19, 2013. Mamadou Wade, interview with author, Dakar, March 27, 2013. Silman Faye, interview with author, Dakar, April 29, 2013. Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane,” interview with author, Thiès, June 13, 2013. Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane” started in the section in 1963, and Ansoumana Diédhiou started in 1963 or ‘64.
“Interview avec Papa Ibra Tall” 1962: 60. “Je suis revenu en 1960 à Dakar pour donner une petite exposition. Et c'est à la rentrée de 1961 que j'ai créé la section de recherche africaine d'arts plastiques.” Ibou Diouf, interview with author, Dakar, February 22, 2013. Mamadou Wade, interview with author, Dakar, March 27, 2013. Mamadou Cheikh “Modou” Niang, interview with author, Dakar, April 26, 2013. Amadou Ba, interview with author, Dakar, June 6, 2013.
As listed in a government document in 1962, Lods was Conseiller Technique à la Section des Recherches Plastiques Nègres. See Annex 2 (n.p.) in Joseph Zobel, “Rapport sur la situation matérielle et morale de l'École des Arts,” Fonds de Vice-Président et Président du conseil de gouvernement du Sénégal, 1956–62, ANS, VP 308. On the “École Poto-Poto” see Tati-Loutard 1978, Lods 1995 , Grabski 2002.
Présidence de la République, Direction des Arts et Lettres, and École des Arts du Sénégal, L'École des Arts du Sénégal. Son organisation. Ses objectifs (Dakar: Imprimerie A. Diop, [1961?]), ANS, po III 8 1211.
Présidence de la République, Direction des Arts et Lettres, and École des Arts du Sénégal, L'École des Arts du Sénégal. Son organisation. Ses objectifs (Dakar: Imprimerie A. Diop, [1961?]), ANS, po III 8 1211.
For Bonnet's personnel file, see “Dakar (mission de coopération et d'action culturelle), dossiers nominatifs des personnelles,” Centre d'Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes (hereafter CADN), 186/PO/2/ 29.
Mamadou Cheikh “Modou” Niang, interview with author, Dakar, April 26, 2013. Massène Sène, telephone interview with author, June 27, 2013.
In the most recent articulation: “Pierre Lods and Papa Ibra Tall shared a common vision about the training of artists as well as what would constitute modern Senegalese art” (Grabski 2013: 278). See also Gouard 1993: 79–80; Kasfir 2000: 170; Grabski 2001: 18–44; Harney 2002: 18–19; Harney 2004: 56, 65–66.
Papa Ibra Tall, interview with author, Tivaouane, Senegal, June 25, 2013. In a presentation in Dakar in 1971, Tall additionally argued that both the classical academic and “free studio” pedagogical models had drawbacks (1972: 108).
Papa Ibra Tall, interview with author, Tivaouane, June 25, 2013. As Tall stated in 1971 (1972: 108): “Former un artiste, c'est donner une technique et une culture de base alliant une connaissance approfondie de l'héritage culturel et une large information sur les réalités du dehors.”
Bacary Diémé, interview with author, Dakar, April 22, 2013. Silman Faye, interview with author, Dakar, April 29, 2013.
Mamadou Wade, interview with author, Dakar, February 9, 2013. Souleymane Keita, interview with author, Dakar, February 19, 2013. Bacary Diémé, interview with author, Dakar, April 22, 2013. Silman Faye, interview with author, Dakar, April 29, 2013. “Annexe 2” (n.p.) in Joseph Zobel, “Rapport sur la situation matérielle et morale de l'École des Arts,” Fonds de Vice-Président et Président du conseil de gouvernement du Sénégal, 1956–62, ANS, VP 308. Of these instructors only Gaffier appears to have been sent by the French government; see Mission de coopération et d'action culturelle à Dakar, dossiers nominatifs du personnel (1959–1989), CADN, 186/PO/2/ 110.
Samba “Vieux” Mané, interview with author, Thiès, June 26, 2013. Mission de coopération et d'action culturelle à Dakar, dossiers nominatifs du personnel (1959–1989), CADN, 186/PO/2/ 72. See also “Annexe 2” (n.p.) in Joseph Zobel, “Rapport sur la situation matérielle et morale de l'École des Arts,” Fonds de Vice-Président et Président du conseil de gouvernement du Sénégal, 1956–62, ANS, VP 308.
Mamadou Wade, interview with author, Dakar, February 9, 2013. Souleymane Keita, interview with author, Dakar, February 19, 2013. Silman Faye, interview with author, Dakar, April 29, 2013. Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane,” interview with author, Thiès, June 13, 2013. Massène Sène, telephone interview with author, June 27, 2013. “Annexe 2” (n.p.) in Joseph Zobel, “Rapport sur la situation matérielle et morale de l'École des Arts,” Fonds de Vice-Président et Président du conseil de gouvernement du Sénégal, 1956–62, ANS, VP 308.
Sylla (1998: 67, 120) notes that along with the name change, the status of the tapestry manufacture also changed (as of December 19, 1973) from a “national” institution into an “établissement public à caractère industriel et commercial.”
Papa Ibra Tall, interview with author, Tivaouane, June 25, 2013.
Mamadou Wade (interview with author, Dakar, February 9, 2013) stated he spent two years in training at the Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins in Paris, and later eighteen months at the École Nationale d'Art Décoratif in Aubusson. Mar Fall (interview with author, Dakar, March 30, 2013) recalls studying under weaver Raymond Novion and artist Henri Brivet alongside Wade at Aubusson in 1970–71. Two letters (dated October 31 and December 17, 1963) in the archives of the Mobilier Nationale et des Manufactures Nationales, Paris, suggest that the four Senegalese artists spent just one year training at Gobelins in 1963–64.
Interview with Papa Ibra Tall in “La représentation sénégalaise à la Biennale des Jeunes Artistes [radio broadcast, January 10, 1967],” Id notice PHD86081077, Identifiant matériel EC02148, Fiches OCORA, Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, Paris. “[J]'ai découvert un peintre russe qui s'appelle Vrubel, je ne crois pas qu'il soit très connu mais enfin, eh, dans les environs de 1917–1920 [sic] c'était un peintre qui a fait beaucoup parler de lui. Et je suis perceptif à tout ce qu'il y a dans ses toiles si vous voulez. Donc je peux lui devoir quelque chose si ce soit au niveau de composition parce que c'est vraiment un lyrique figurative. Et moi je suis dans ce sens si vous voulez.”
Papa Ibra Tall, interview with author, Tivaouane, June 25, 2013.
Papa Ibra Tall, interview with author, Tivaouane, June 25, 2013.
Abdoulaye Ndiaye “Thiossane,” interview with author, Thiès, June 13, 2013.
Line Bacconnier, telephone interview with author, July 5, 2013. Line Bacconnier and Sténia Domanski, interview with author, Aubusson, July 7, 2015. This private workshop produced tapestries based on compositions by Ousmane Faye, Amadou Ba, Théodore Diouf, Amadou Seck, Diatta Seck, Philippe Sène, and others.
Sténia Domanski, telephone interview with author, July 8, 2013. Line Bacconnier and Sténia Domanski, interview with author, Aubusson, July 7, 2015. Mission de coopération et d'action culturelle à Dakar, dossiers nominatifs du personnel (1959–1989), CADN, 186/PO/2/ 169, 82.
Decree no. 72–937 of July 25, 1972, replaced the École des Arts with the Institut National des Arts, an establishment of polytechnic arts and applied research. The terms of the change (initiated as early as June 1970) are detailed in École Nationale des Arts [sic; dossier documentaire], ANS, as well as in École des Arts du Sénégal [sic], CADN, 186/PO/1/ 809.
France's Coopération programs began in 1959 and coopérants started working in Senegalese cultural institutions in the early 1960s. See Archives du Ministère de la Coopération, CADN; and Coopération program files (especially 19810443/1021, 199960108/8-12, 20020267/1-4, and 20000138/1-6), Archives Nationales de France, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine. For recent scholarship on Coopération in West Africa see Mesli 2013 and Kantrowitz 2016.
Alioune Badiane, interview with author, Dakar, January 24, 2013. Daouda Diarra, interview with author, Dakar, March 9, 2013.
Anta Germaine Gaye, interview with author, Dakar, March 7, 2013. Silman Faye, interview with author, Dakar, April 29, 2013. Mission de coopération et d'action culturelle à Dakar, dossiers nominatifs du personnel (1959–1989), CADN, 186/PO/2/ 262, 221, 267, 221, 94, 239, 187, 162, 239, 50.
Kalidou Kassé, interview with author, Dakar, March 12, 2013. El Hadji Sy, interview with author, Dakar, April 10, 2013. Silman Faye, interview with author, Dakar, April 29, 2013. For more on Paolucci's work see Paolo Paolucci 2011.
For the institutional location of culture within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs see Répertoire permanent 1985: 38, 41, 47–49, 53–55, 97, 100.
For example, see Dix ans d'art 1970. Unfortunately, Papa Ibra Tall (telephone interview with author, February 21, 2014) had no memory of the specific individuals or institutions with whom he worked in organizing the early exhibitions of Senegalese art abroad.
According to Ousmane Sow Huchard, the Commission was created by decree no. 77-509 of June 22, 1977; see Huchard 2010: 364, n. 251. For general background on the Commission see Huchard 2010: 364–71; and Niane 1989. On the date of the Commission's closure, which must have been around 1990, see Répertoire permanent2000: 85, 94, 112, 116.
Amadou Seck, interview with author, Dakar, February 27, 2013. Kalidou Kassé, interview with author, Dakar, March 12, 2013.
On Senghor's relationship with Pompidou see Vaillant 1990: 72–73.
Souleymane Ngom, interview with author, Dakar, February 1, 2013.
By and large, from the late 1960s through the 1980s, administrators at MNT/MSAD either did not make careful note of, or were not privy to, the recipients of the tapestries given as gifts of state. For tapestry makers in Thiès, the president himself was the client for tapestries destined to function as diplomatic offerings. Beginning in the late 1980s, however, archives at MSAD document tapestries going through the President's office to recipients including French politicians René Monory, François Leotard, Lionel Jospin, and Jacques Chirac; Congo (Brazzaville) president Pascal Lissouba; African-American activist Jesse Jackson; Canadian politician Jean Boucher; and Congo (Kinshasa) President Mobutu Sese Seko.
Madeleine Devès Senghor, interview with author, Dakar, January 19, 2016.
Senegalese intellectual and Ministry of Culture veteran Ousmane Sow Huchard (interview with author, Dakar, February 28, 2013) noted that Senghor openly attributed the idea for the Festival to the Société Africaine de Culture.
“Copie d'une lettre d'Alioune Diop à Paul Rivet,” April 3, 1948, Fonds Michel Leiris, Laboratoire d'anthropologie sociale, Bibliothèque Claude Lévi-Strauss, Collège de France, Paris, FML.E.01.01.111.
Nzewi (2013) reads Tendances et Confrontations as a crucial precursor to the Dak'Art biennial and other international platforms for contemporary African art.
Ibou Diouf, interview with author, Dakar, February 22, 2013.