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TokesPlace Presents:

Africa Now! Emerging Talents from a continent on the move: Part 4

22 Aug

In previous exhibits Toke’s Place presented Africa Now! Parts 1, 2 and 3. In this exhibit Toke’s Place presents the fine art photography of Saïdou Dicko.

Saïdou Dicko

Mr. Dicko has emerged as a talented and creative visual artist in Africa and Europe and now, for some of us in the US, after seeing his work in Africa Now!.

He is self-taught. He is a native of Dèou in Burkina Faso, now residing in Senegal. He has painted sun-scorched plains in which shade-thirsty cows search for pasture.

He now uses photography to tell stories featuring shadows in urban settings. He uses the urban exteriors of houses, boutiques, vehicles, nature and shops to compose photographs in which essentially flat silhouette like images are the compositions’ focal point. The image backgrounds are shadowless and flat with features. The backgrounds are stripped of shadows by an informed use of light. While the physical aspects of the shadow images are sometimes, but not always, obvious, the psychological messages are not and will vary according to a viewer’s culture.

The following Dicko images from Africa Now! illustrate his creativity. The comments about the images’ meaning are those of Tokes’ Place and not the artist.

This image show shadows of three men against a flat building wall. The moving shadows of the men suggest the transitory nature of human circumstances and indeed human existence. The condition of the building wall suggests the transient nature of things built by men and perhaps of all existence. Query: Is the movement purposeful or aimless?

This is a stark shadow of a child against a mean environment. Does the child have an extended stomach? The stark background suggests famine, drought and disease. The laws of nature march on without regard to innocence. Nature has no favorites. It is what it is.

This looks like a flat image of a boy playing with hoops in front of a flat textured wall having splotches of subdued color. Perspectively the shadow could be in front of, on or in the wall. The foreshortened left arm, together with the hoop, suggests that the figure is in front of the wall. What do you see?

What does the reader see in this image? Is the image moving relative to the wall or is it stationary? What perspective is suggested? Note the changing spaces between the vertical lines in the wall? What is the meaning of the “S” above the shadow image’s head?

Mr. Dicko has received awards that attest to his recognition as an up and coming artist. These include: the Fondation Blachère d’Apt in Dakar in May 2006; the Organisation Internationale de la Franconphonie (OIF)award and the Jean-Paul Blanchère Award .

In May 2006, he exhibited 60 of his works at the fringe event of the Dakar Biennale of Contemporary Art

He has shown in Germany, Dakar Biennale of Contemporary ArtFrance; the 3rd Biennale of Contemporary Art in Saint Brieuc, Bordeaux; and the Ouagadougou Cultural Centre in 2008.

Mr. Dicko has published Shadow Thief which comprises 85 of his more than 5000 photographs.

Currently Mr. Dicko continues to “catch” shadows in combination with backgrounds that provide tentative, cultural specific, transitory illusions of truth.

This is Toke’s Place take . What do you think?

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