El Hadji Sy


El Hadji Sy works from Dakar at the Weltkulturen Labor, October 2014, Photo Wolfgang Günzel
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El Hadji Moussa Babacar Sy (El SY) was born in 1954 in Dakar, Senegal. As an artist and founder of cultural initiatives he also facilitates numerous international workshops. He studied at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar. His critical position regarding the Senegalese government – in the past and today – is also expressed in his work as an artist and particularly as an activist. Together with Djibril Diop Mambety and Youssoupha Dione he founded the Laboratoire AGIT’ART in 1974, an iconoclastic collective that formed as an antithesis to Senghor’s cultural policy and strove for heterogeneity in the established art world. Hence, in 1977 the Village des Arts was established on an island off the coast of Dakar, where 70 artists, actors, musicians, filmmakers and writers live and work. Furthermore, El SY was responsible for the founding of the artist group HUIT FACETTES which presented their work in 2002 at documenta 11 in Kassel.

His artistic practice includes painting, performance art, stage design and curating. Since March 2015, the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt am Main is exhibiting a retrospective on his work as a painter and cultural activist: “EL HADJI SY: Painting, Performance, Politics.”

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015

El Hadji Sy: Painting, Performance, Politics, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

2013

Lettres de verres, Galerie Bookoo, Dakar, Senegal

2006

El Hadji Sy en peintures, Fondation Blachère, Apt, France

2003

Galerie Artefact, Dakar, Senegal

1995

Works 1992 – 1995, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

1993

Peintures 1989–1993, Galerie 39, Dakar, Senegal

1991

L’Arche, Centre Culturel St. Louis, Senegal

1990

Couleurs et cicatrices, Galerie 39, Dakar, Senegal

1989

El Hadji Sy. Peintures récentes, Galerie 39, Dakar, Senegal

1985

Galerie 39, Centre Culturel Français, Dakar, Senegal

El Hadji Sy. Peintures, Musée Dynamique, Dakar, Senegal

1984

Justus Liebig Haus, Darmstadt, Germany

1981

Centre Culturel Français, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

1980

Galerie Paul Waggoner, Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, USA

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2007

Trajectoires, Galerie IFAN, Dakar, Senegal

Intelligences en peinture, Galerie Nationale, Dakar, Senegal

2002

documenta XI: Huit Facettes, Kassel, Germany

2001

Posters of the years to come, Galerie basis wien, Vienna, Austria

2000

Huit Facettes, Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, Washington, USA

1999

Laboratorium, Provinciaal Museum voor Fotografie, Antwerpen, Belgium

1998

Hommage à Paolo Paolucci l’Artiste, Galérie Vema, Dakar, Senegal

1997

Meditations. Art of the World, Medersa Ibn Youssef, Marrakesh, Morocco

1996

Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, Konsthall Malmö, Sweden

Huit Facettes Interaction, Galerie Quatre Vents, Dakar, Senegal

TENQ 96, Pôle d’extension Dak’Art 96, Biennale de Dakar, Senegal

1995

Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

Cross – Currents, New Art from Senegal, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, UK

Kunst uit Sénégal in Vlaanderen, travelling exhibition: Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark

1994

Otro Pais: Escalas Africanas, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas, Spain

TENQ 94, Lycée Cheikh Oumar Foutiyou Tall, St. Louis, Senegal

1990

Art contemporain du Sénégal, La Grande Arche de la Fraternité, Paris, France

60 Black Painters, travelling exhibition: Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; Oldenburg, Germany; Würzburg, Germany

1988

3. Salon d’Arts Plastiques de l’ANAPS, Galerie Nationale, Dakar, Senegal

Iba Ndiaye et les jeunes peintres du Sénégal, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany

1987

Rencontre plastique germano-sénégalaise, Musée Dynamique, Dakar, Senegal, Moderne Kunst aus dem Senegal, Städtische Galerie, Wendlingen, Stuttgart, Germany

Acht Künstler aus dem Senegal, Galerie Neuheisel, Saarbrücken, Germany

1986

Sechs Künstler aus dem Senegal, Galerie ifa, Bonn, Germany

1985

Ansätze. Senegalesische Kunst der Gegenwart, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany

1. Salon d’Arts Plastiques de l’ANAPS (Association Nationale des Artistes Plasticiens du Sénégal), Musée Dynamique, Dakar, Senegal

1983

Nouvelles expressions de la peinture sénégalaise, Lorient, France

1981

Galerie Paul Waggoner, together with Senegalese painter Gora Mbengue, East Street/Michigan Avenue, Chicago, USA; Centre Culturel Gaston Berger, St. Louis, Senegal

1980

National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, USA

1979

Peintures d’El Hadji Sy et sculptures de Guibril, André Diop, Galerie 39, Centre Culturel Français, Dakar/Centre Culturel Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal, Galerie 39, Centre Culturel Français, Dakar, Senegal

1976

4eme Salon des artistes sénégalais, Musée Dynamique, Dakar, Senegal

1975

3eme Salon des artistes sénégalais, Musée Dynamique, Dakar, Senegal

1974

2eme Salon des artistes sénégalais, Dakar, Senegal

COMMISSIONED WORK

2003

Public artwork (frescos, mosaic, graphic design) for the hospital in Linguère, Senegal

2000

Fresco for the Presidents Gallery, Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, together with Huit Facettes, Washington, USA

1985

Winner of the competition for the design of the stadium Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar, Senegal (unrealized)

1980

Fresco for the National Center of American Artists in Boston, USA

1977

Fresco for the foyer of the Femmes Socialistes, Dakar, Senegal

Fresco for the Institut Universitaire de Technologie, together with Paolo Paolucci, Dakar, Senegal

1976

Picotin, Fresco at the airport Yoff-Dakar, Senegal

1975

Stage design for the play Le choix de Madior by Ibrahima Sall

CURATORIAL WORK

2014/15

El Hadji Sy: Painting, Performance, Politics, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

2008

Retrospective of the painter Seydou Barry, Festival Off, Dak’Art 2008, Dakar, Senegal

2004

Scenography of the Biennal Dak’Art 2004

1995-96

Co-curator of Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK and Konsthall Malmö, Sweden

Les Ateliers d’ Hamdallaye, Huit Facettes Interaction, Kolda, Senegal

TENQ 96, Dakar, Senegal

1994

africa95, TENQ 94, Saint Louis, Senegal

1991

Retrospective of artist Mor Faye at the Galerie 39, Dakar, Senegal

Art auction to support the school on Gorée Island, together with Souleymane Keïta and Amadou Sow

1990

Les cendres de Pierre Lods, Laboratoire Agit’Art, Centre Culturel Français, Dakar, Senegal

1985

Ölbilder und Gouachen, curated together with Friedrich Axt, Justus Liebig Haus, Darmstadt, Germany

1984

Kunst im Senegal heute, curated together with Friedrich Axt, Justus Liebig Haus, Darmstadt and ifa Galerie, Bonn, Germany

Creation of Galerie Sédar together with Pierre Lods, Ngor Island, Dakar, Senegal

1983

TENQ 4 at the Village des Arts, Dakar, Senegal

Nouvelles expressions de la peinture sénégalaise, curated together with Pierre Lods, Lorient, France

1982

TENQ 3 at the Village des Arts, Dakar, Senegal

1981

TENQ 2 at the Village des Arts, Dakar, Senegal

1980

TENQ 1 (interdisciplinary workshop/exhibition) at the Village des Arts, Dakar, Senegal

1977

Initiator of the first Village des Arts studio complex (1977-1983) in Dakar, Senegal

1974

Co-founder of Laboratoire Agit’ART, Dakar, Senegal

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOPS/ RESIDENCIES

2014/15

Artist Residency, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

2001

Artist Residency, basis wien, Vienna, Austria

2000

Artist Residency at Howard University in collaboration with the Museum of African Art, Washington DC, USA

1999

Workshop, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Italy

1995

Artist Residency at Delfina Studio Trust, London, UK

1994

Shave, Triangle Art Trust Foundation, Somerset, UK

PUBLICATIONS

2015

El Hadji Sy: Painting, Performance, Politics, Clémentine Deliss, Yvette Mutumba (Eds.), Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

1999

Co-author of Mémoire fracturée, Laboratoire AGIT’ART

Co-author of Manifeste d‘Anvers, Laboratoire AGIT’ART

1995

Co-author with Issa Samb of Manifeste de Londres, Laboratoire AGIT’ART, published in Metronome No. 0

1989

Anthologie des Arts Plastiques Contemporains au Sénégal, together with Friedrich Axt, Museum für Völkerkunde, Frankfurt, Germany

1984

Co-author with Issa Samb and Ass M’Bengue of La mémoire du futur, Laboratoire AGIT’ART

FILMS

1993/1996

Various documentaries by Gerd Albaum

1991

Prisma Serious, documentary by Gerd Albaum for Transtel (production service of Deutsche Welle)

1984

Reisewege zur Kunst II by Micaela Lämmle, in collaboration with El Hadj Sy

1983

Reisewege zur Kunst I by Micaela Lämmle, in collaboration with El Hadj Sy