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Moustapha Dime: Homage to a master assembler

22 May 2014, 06:35Obidike Okafor

Dakar – The  2014 Dakar Biennial  took time to pay tribute to one of the leaders of Contemporary art in Senegal, Moustapha Dime, who died in 1998, and won first prize at the debut Dakar Biennale in 1992.

An exhibition was held at the Senegal National Gallery, on May 11 to June 8  in his honour, where works dating as from 1991 to 1997.

Apart from applying wood carving techniques creating sculptures, the late artist became a forerunner for a style known as recuperation in Senegal, where found and acquired objects are assembled into a finished sculpture.

Dime’s techniques of tying, carving, modeling and painting to create each sculpture are part of the things that made him a master at his craft.

The 29 works on display cover themes like women, religion, African masks, love, his environment (he lived by the beach on the island of Gorée),  HIV/AIDS and sexuality.

The assembled objects used by Dime vary in size and is dependent on the concept of the sculpture, from the slimmest rope to the large mortar and pestle, the task master arranges metals, cloth, wood, ropes, tree bark, wire, plastic, tar, nails into finished products.

These finished products include works like  Female Nude  made from assembled wood, rope and metal; Woman calabash made from wood, metal and iron; Untitled  composed of  leather, wood, rope and wire, including  the work titled Figure  which is  made with nails, tar, wire and plastic.

Susan Kart a professor of African art history, at the Sarah Lawrence College in New York, said that Dime’s sculptures are fromed not just to draw attention to how he is recycling things from his environment but also how it changes the philosophies about sculpture and art making.

Dime whose works have been shown in Brussels, Paris, Dakar, Munich and  Marseille, died at the age of  46  from stomach cancer.


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