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Mbaye Babacar Diouf

Mbaye Babacar Diouf (b.1983) lives and works near Dakar, Senegal. He graduated in Philosophy of the Arts at the Institute Cheikh Anta Diop after obtaining his BA from the National School of Fine Arts, both in Dakar.

A multi-media artist, Mbaye Babacar Diouf works in painting, sculpture, and installations. His work examines archaeology, African history, and relationships between the individual and society in contemporary Senegal. Intertwining past and present, he digs into the decentred sources of historical study that emerged from the decolonisation such as the Islamic library and pan-Africanist research, and the multiple perceptions of time that characterize indigenous history. 

After he was commissioned by the Ifan Museum (Institut Fondamental d’ Afrique Noire, Dakar) to produce a 700kg bronze installation in 2020, Diouf pursued his explorations of this material in new bodies of works.

The starting point of one of his recent bronze sculptures is the motif of the universal football which he uses as an allegory to examine notions of malleability and mutations. Using the technique of lost wax casting, these are formal studies of round volumes that are deflated, crushed, torn, or pierced as if they have been submitted to various shocks. The artist works on the surface of the bronze, weathering or enriching it with green or black patina, or smoothing it into gold hues. Loose marks are carved in places, that look like scriptures. Mounted on white plinths, the objects look like intriguing small terrestrial globes or archaeological artefacts.

In a new series that began this year, the artist pursues his exploration of transcultural objects, tackling the motif of the vessel, an archaic item that survives today. Engraving his invented scriptures into the bronze surface, adding protruding or sinuous motifs to it, and piercing it in parts with black nails, Diouf uses a syncretic visual language to underline the sacred function of keeping water.

Mbaye Babacar Diouf has exhibited extensively in Senegal, including at the Dakar Biennale, Raw Material, IFANMuseum and The Museum of Black Civilisations. He is the recipient of the Silver Prize, Painting, at the Francophonie Games and the 1st Prize for Art, City of Dakar, 2022 (with A. Bassene). He was invited to exhibit at: Institut du Monde Arabe, Cite des Arts et des Sciences, both in Paris, France, where he was an artist Resident at the prestigious Cite Internationale des Arts; and Musee Mohamed VI, Rabat, Morocco. His work was introduced in London (2022) and New York (2023) by 50 Golborne. He has just ended a two-month Residency at the Montresso Fondation in Marrakesh (Morocco). 

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