Friday, 28 August 2015

Sidy Diallo from Senegal | Death of An Artist

Sidy Diallo at Brundyn

By Themba Tsotsi
04 September - 25 October.

Points et Iténeraire 2 et 1
Sidy Diallo
Points et Iténeraire 2 et 1, 2013. Acrylic and Pastel on Canvas Each: 200 x 150 cm.

From the 4 September to the 25 October 2014, Brundyn+ Gallery hosted Sidy Diallo’s exhibition 'Points et Itineraires'. Sidy Diallo is a painter from Senegal who works in a style that is inspired by lithography, a medium characteristic of many African artists. The exhibition is comprised of images that depict bridges and roads, whose forms seem to implicitly contain the anonymity of transition, and within Diallo's context they are further imbued with political connotations.

The way Diallo explores his interests within the medium has to do with the scale of the work; he incorporates paint and other materials like brown paper making the work multimedia in nature. In his style however, he quotes the traditional use of lithography within an African context which surrounds the issue of access – in this case the simple access to materials like paints and brushes. This of course has broader connotations.

Sidy Diallo
Genese 2014, Acrylic and Pastel on Canvas, Triptych: 133 x 133 cm each

Sidy Diallo distorts both the scale of the images and the canvas; instead of the dots and working surface being small they have been enlarged. In doing this Diallo maintains lithography’s sombre mystery, while at the same time retaining a boldness that evokes within the audience an immediate sense of nostalgia. Their difference, however, also lies in the sense that the images represent the immediacy of the contemporary discourse of forced migrations and exile. Here the large dots add to this effect distorting the image, conveying the anonymity of transition and the certainty of being identified as an exile, referencing a discourse in which the Diaspora lies implicit.

The backgrounds of the paintings are also depicted with dots as if the artist seeks to connect the figures to their circumstance. The large dots and the scale of the work in relation to the traditional themes of the lithograph are an attempt to depoliticize this state of affairs, the effect has a vitality that is contradictory to the plight of these embarcations as if now there is a freedom in them that only youth can realize.

The exhibition explores the underlying reasons for crossing borders in contemporary African society in the wake of phenomena like the slave trade, the diaspora and human trafficking. Throughout the exhibition there is the motif of the road or path, that connotes transitions which both seek to inculcate a form of limbo as well as forms of connecting. However, in the exhibition these paths or roads not only act as metaphors for transition, they are also metaphors for the fact that cultures are not informed by the progress of an encounter. In the case of Diallo’s migrations this is an encounter with diversity, and as a result they become, with the people who represent these cultures, barren as the roads they use to migrate.

La Traversee
Sidy Diallo
La Traversee
Acrylic, pastel and paper on Canvas (4 panel painting)
270 x 270 cm
In Travel Masqued 3 – an acrylic, pastel and paper on canvas piece – a large male figure is walking on a narrow path or road with white hands and feet and appears to be contemplating or lamenting previous migrations. Not only is he connected to those who took this path in the past, he seems through his posture to physically appropriate their struggle. Furthermore the small figures on the edge of the canvas walking on another path, appear to be in an indeterminate state facing different directions. Their presence and disorientation suggests that the figure in the middle of the painting too is lamenting the strife or plight of embarking on the path.

There is, it seems, an almost binary opposition contained within the exhibition. The work E & A is a piece depicting two figures, one male painted brown and grey, the other female painted cream with an apple on the ground. The work seems to state that even though migrations are characterised by a lacking, when a destination is found there are nevertheless fruits to reap, not just in the encounter with diversity but also that the industry of transition can be realized. If there is anything sinister it lies in the treachery of the path, with its promise of fruit and sustenance, which are replete with the ambiguity of an arrival that does not necessarily mean success. However the other paintings in the exhibition are barren of the idea of reward. What the artist seems to suggest is that at the end of the path, an encounter with diversity and creativity is inevitable, but this does not guarantee a holistic success as is connoted by the bitten and discarded apple.

These ideas of success and frailty are brought together with presence of the bridge in the exhibition titled The Crossing. It speaks and is a metaphor for the universal forms of economic struggles, the discourse of innovation and the frailty of community development that can enforce migrations and crossings. In this sense the footbridge becomes the universal image of socio-economic frailty. It is a traditional foot-bridge with ropes and foot planks, extended from one end of the hall to the other – it effectively connects one painting to another.

Source: Artthrob | South Africa 


Sadly this artist died this week.

2 years ago, I was blessed to be introduced by Barkinado Bocoum to a group of young talented and creative artists in Dakar who worked with me and young Brazilian artists during an exchange art project I had initiated. One of these artists was a very kind spirited, creative and promising young man named Sidy Diallo. Sidy was one of Senegal's rising Art stars, as he was being invited to participate in international exhibits and winning awards, notably at Dakar's last biennale. Like the rest of the group (Sol d'Art), I considered Sidy like a young Brother, and it was with great pleasure that I'd catch up with him every time I'd go to Senegal and see where his creativity was taking him.

A few days ago, I learned that Sidy had passed away, and I am still in shock. May his spirit guide the creative youth and souls of our World. I am in spirit with his family and friends. Life is short and we must DO. We must MAKE. Sidy MADE, and he will inspire us forever.

Peace and Beauty.

Décès du plasticien Sidy Diallo :Le jeune peintre au «talent prometteur» est mort

Le monde de la culture pleure encore un des leurs. Sidy Diallo, âgé de 28 ans est décédé samedi. Le «talentueux» lauréat du prix de l’Oif lors de la dernière édition de la Biennale de l’art africain contemporain de Dakar n’est plus. Selon la plateforme des arts visuels du Sénégal présidé par Viyé Diba, Sidy Diallo était l’un des plus talentueux de sa génération. Aujourd’hui, il a rejoint ses pères Pape Ibra Tall et Diatta Seck dans le royaume de la vérité. Le jeune peintre s’était révélé au monde des arts par son talent prometteur.

Major de sa promotion à l’école nationale des arts, avec une mention bien en 2013, il est sélectionné dès sa sortie dans l’exposition officielle de la onzième Biennale de Dakar. «Je me félicite de ce prix, comme j’ai eu à le dire, je viens de sortir de l’école nationale des arts. Aujourd’hui, je me retrouve sélectionné dans la plus grande Biennale africaine, c’est une grande chose dont je suis fière et le tout, je reçois le prix de l’organisation internationale de la Francophonie (Oif)» exprimait-il avec joie à la fin de la cérémonie. L’homme dont le travail consistait à apporter des réponses contemporaines par rapport aux questions de développement contemporaines qui affectent le continent africain est décédé la veille de son anniversaire. Toute l’équipe de Walfnet présente à sa famille ses sincères condoléances.


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