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El Hadji Sy

(b Agniam Thiodaye Matam, July 11, 1945).

Senegalese painter. Primarily an autodidact, he also learnt engraving at the Institut National des Arts du Senegal, Dakar, in 1975. His early work was often rendered in china ink, but he later worked mainly with oil or acrylic paint. In the 1980s and 1990s his canvases focused on the world of Fulani cow herders, as seen in Vache (1988; Frankfurt am Main, Friedrich Axt priv. col.). Ba employs a palette of subtle, earth-tone hues to suggest the arid Sahelian landscape, populating these scenes with stylized cows and herders. His painting is often appreciated by collectors for its visual affinity with ancient rock art. He was considered for membership of the Ecole de Dakar and participated in the government-sponsored exhibition Art contemporain du Senegal, which traveled internationally from 1974 to 1982.

Contemporary Art of Senegal/Art Contemporain du Senegal (exh.cat., Hamilton, Ont., A.G., 1979) F. Axt and El Hadji M. B. Sy...

Article

Simon Njami

(b Yaoundé, 1967).

Cameroonian sculptor, draughtsman, and installation artist. Self-taught, his work gained international recognition in the 1990s, when he exhibited in Belgium, Germany, and Japan. Honours include his selection for the 1994 Biennale of Kwangu, South Korea, a solo exhibit at the 1996 Dakar Biennale des Artes, his selection for the 1998 Johannesburg Biennale and the 2000 Lyon Biennale. He uses discarded materials to comment on the conditions of the world, devoting his work of the late 1990s to the topic of AIDS. In conjuction with the Doual’Art Association, he collaborated with several AIDS patients to express their experiences. These emotional works often include razor blades, syringes, condoms, and nails to evoke themes of death and issues of the body. His installations also incorporated linear drawings that convey a frantic dynamism and depict a chaotic world. For Tayou, art is part of everyday life, not a separate institution, and his methods and materials emphasize his commitment to the world around him. He claims not to be an artist in order to address the artificial separation between artists and other people. Through his work he aims to reveal what people are always trying to hide....