The 3rd edition of the Biennale Internationale de Sculpture de Ouagadougou (BISO) will run until 04 November 2023. Entitled “Fire of Origins“, this edition of the contemporary art event tackles the themes of Africanness, Afro-descendence, the Black Atlantic and the Global South. It’s an impressive event that offers young talent the chance to showcase their art on the contemporary sculptural art scene.
To better explain the scope of the event, exhibition curator Louise Thurin explains in detail the theme of this 3rd edition of BISO 2023. She explains: “A classic epic recounting the transmutation of an African territory and people by European colonisation, Le Feu des origines is the second novel by Congolese author Emmanuel Dongala. It was awarded the Grand Prix littéraire d’Afrique Noire in 1987. Its main character is Mandala Mankunku, “blacksmith, son of a blacksmith” and “master sculptor: in wood, bronze, stone”, a hero who will ardently resist colonial rule through his art. He has astonishingly green eyes, “glaucous, palm-green, phosphorescent eyes”, “the green eyes of a nyctalope fawn”, the same as his ancestor, Mankunku the Destroyer, whose name he bears […] Sculpture is, we believe, the original and regenerative fire of art in Africa. The choice of this book as the title and theme of this 2023 edition of the Biennale internationale de sculpture de Ouagadougou (BISO) is a tribute to Burkina Faso’s metallurgical tradition, to the fire of the furnace and the forge. May the fire of our origins continue to burn through art, through us“.
Artists from a variety of backgrounds took part in this 2023 edition of BISO. They were Rachel Marsil (France/Senegal), Boukaré Bonkoungou (Burkina Faso), Steeve Bauras (Martinique, France), Demba Camara (Côte d’Ivoire), Mélinda Fourn-Houngbo (France/Benin), Koffi Mens (Togo/Burkina Faso), Aline Poco (France/Burkina Faso), Hamidou Koumaré (Mali), Louisa Marajo (Martinique, France), Sadikou Oukpedjo (Togo/Ivory Coast), Samuel Nnorom (Nigeria), Evans Mbugua (Kenya/France), Shaka (DRCongo), Hervé Youmbi (Cameroon), Aïcha Snoussi (Tunisia), Mohamed Keïta (Mali), Abou Traoré (Burkina Faso), Hyacinthe Ouattara (Burkina Faso), Sébastien Boko (Benin).
The works of these talented artists were submitted to a jury of art professionals including Abdoulaye Konaté, Barthélémy Toguo, Jean Servais Somian, Ky Siriki, Illa Donwahi, Gauz and Hamady Bocoum. From this large selection of artists, six were selected and rewarded by the juries for the relevance of their work. They include :
- Ivorian-Togolese artist Sadikou Oukpedjo, who was awarded the Grand Prix BISO 2023 X Fondation Donwahi.
- The Togolese-Burkinabé artist Koffi Mens and the French-Beninese artist Mélinda Fourn, who won the Galerie Vallois Prize
- Ivorian artist Demba Camara wins the Prix Jean-Claude Gandur
- French-Senegalese artist Rachel Marsil and Malian artist Hamidou Koumaré, winners of the Prix Galerie Christophe Person
The 3rd edition of the Ouagadougou International Sculpture Biennial, entitled “The Fire of Origins“, was a vibrant celebration of artistic creativity and cultural richness. It showcased the talent and diversity of sculptors from around the world, while celebrating the richness of African culture. The sculptures on display captured the imagination and revealed the expressive power of this artistic medium. “The Fire of Origins” was also an opportunity to discover and celebrate African cultural heritage, showcasing local artists and encouraging intercultural exchange. It represents an opportunity for visitors to witness the diversity of artistic techniques, materials and visions, creating a stimulating dialogue between different traditions and aesthetics. This edition of the Biennial not only inspired and amazed spectators, but also strengthened Ouagadougou’s position as a major artistic centre in Africa, while refocusing attention on the Burkinabe art scene.