Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Iba N'Diaye | Senegal/France

I do hope that the Dak'Art 2008 Festival makes a huge song and dance over Iba N'Diaye this year.

Personally, I wanted to write about the importance of this artist, now in his 80th year. Iba N'Diaye is a National hero in Senegal and a vital part of contemporary African art internationally.

I would like to present those interested in contemporary Africa art with the works of this wonderful artist, Iba N'Diaye - the theme of this work is Jazz and Blues....

Here is his biography for all to read.

Iba N'Diaye (b.1928)


Iba N'Diaye was born in 1928 in Saint Louis, Senegal, which, like all port towns, is a place where many races and cultures meet. At the age of fifteen, when he was a student at the Lycée Faidherbe, he painted film posters for the town's two cinemas. This early familiarity with cinematographic images would eventually influence his painting techniques.

By 1949 he was living in Paris, where he studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and frequented the city's jazz clubs. But it is the sculptor Zadkine to whom he owes his discovery of traditional African sculpture. Soon he began to travel around Europe, visiting art museums with his pencil and sketchbook in hand.

However, he did not forget his native country, and it was Senegal's independence that led him to return home in 1959. He enthusiastically accepted an invitation to participate in the creation of the Ecole des Arts du Senegal, where his first personal exhibition was held in 1962, and where he remained as a teacher until 1966.

With the goal of asserting a "black identity", the organizers of the Contemporary Art Exhibition at the first "Festival des Arts Negres" (Dakar, 1966) favored the Primitivist movement, which Iba N'Diaye had tried in vain to oppose. Once again, he realized that it was preferable for him to leave his native country. It was in Paris, at his studio in the "Atelier de la Ruche", as well as at his country home in the Dordogne in southwestern France, that Iba N'Diaye began his series of 10 oil paintings on the theme of "Tabaski" (the ritual sacrifice of a lamb). These paintings were exhibited in France in 1970 at the Sarlat Festival, and again in 1974 at the Maison de la Culture in Amiens.

In 1981, Iba N'Diaye showed his work in New York for the first time. The catalogue accompanying this exhibition, which concentrated on the theme of jazz, contains a preface written by Lowery Sims, then curator of the Modern Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 1987, the Museum für Völkerkunde in Munich organized the first major retrospective of Iba N'Diaye's works in Europe. This exhibit then traveled to the Africa Museum of Berg en Dal in Holland in 1989, and to the Tampere Museum of Modern Art in Finland in 1990.

Iba N'Diaye's temporary move to a studio in the Montmartre area of Paris, and his travels back and forth between the Dordogne region in southwestern France and the 15th arrondissement of Paris, could have distanced him from his native Africa, but instead led to a resurgence of memories of his childhood and adolescence.

In 1996, the Museum Paleis Lange Voorhout in The Hague hosted "Iba N'Diaye: Painter between Continents", an exhibition organized by Franz Kaiser, head curator at the Gemmentemuseum, also in The Hague. This show presented significant works illustrating N'Diaye's Thematic Series, which developed over the forty-year career of an artist who is a model of tenacity.

In January, 2000, Iba N'Diaye began the new millennium with an exhibition in Saint Louis, his birthplace, which he had left fifty years earlier. This show illustrated his objective: to succeed in constructing a personal and authentic style of painting that bridges the continents and draws on the rich reservoir of global culture.

"To paint, for me, was to discover what others did before learning, and to understand the language of the profession I was entering." - Iba N'Diaye, 2002.


by Franz Kaiser and Okwui Enwezor

- For full details contact the Publisher below -

A new book on Iba Ndiaye entitled Primitive? Says Who? - Iba Ndiaye, Painter Between Continents was brought out in January 2002 by renown french publisher, Adam Biro. This well illustrated monograph -- in French and English -- focuses on Iba`s new work, from 2000-2001. The books` authors are Okwui Enwezor, Curator of The Short Century and Director of Documenta XI, and Franz-W Kaiser, Director of Exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

The book`s dust jacket sums up the it`s orientation:
Contemporary art is in fashion, particularly if it comes from faraway lands like Africa. But who decides what is art? Who controls the quality of artists? According to which criteria? It is clear that, almost a half-century after decolonization, in order to be recognized, Africans must in one way or another produce art that is primitive, meaning naïve, picturesque, lacking in technique, colorful, tribal, exotic.
The European inventions of primitivism and the noble savage are difficult to overcome. Iba Ndiaye sees himself as neither noble nor savage. He sees himself simply as a painter. One can only be a painter through one`s relationship with the history of painting -- by borrowing, rejecting and innovating in order to build a personal style. Ndiaye knows this, and he rejects the dubious ideology of the clean slate. Like any true artist, he sees painting for what it is: the means of finding his own personal identity, which lies between Africa, where he was born, and Europe, where he lives.

- soft-cover
- 22 x 28 cm
- 40 images, 30 in colour
- 64 pages
- ISBN : 2-84660-332-2
- On Sale : January 2002
- price : 18 €.

Adam Biro publishers
28 rue de Sévigné, 75004 Paris
Contact :
Aleksandra Sokolov
Fax : 01 44 59 87 17
Mobile : 06 08 32 10 39

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