Joe Ouakam #dakart2016

Portrait of Joe Ouakam, gel-wax crayons on cardboard

It’s the last day of the Dak’art Biennale and I have totally not covered enough of it! But there is one artist I can’t leave out, before finishing this ‘virtual attendance’of the Biennale, it is the Senegalese sculptor, painter, performance artist, philosopher, writer, poet, actor and living legend: Issa Samb a.k.a Joe Ouakam.

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He was born in Dakar (Ouakam) 31 December 1945, and is a co-founder of the group Laboratoire Agit-Art and the Gallery TENQ—Village des Arts in Dakar.

This is taken form the Dakar Biennale 2012 website:

Painter, sculptor, actor and playwright Joe Ouakam (real name Issa Samb) was born in Dakar and raised by his grandfather, a Lebu dignitary and guardian of ancestor’s traditions. Lulled in an environment which combined light and shadow, Ouakam developed an early taste for the observation of the meaning of symbols.

“All my life, I have battled with the concept of’time’. I explore the soul, that deep well”.
He studied at the National Arts School in Dakar, and did a degree in Law and Philosophy at the University of Dakar. “He is a symbolic figure and patron of art in Senegal”.
For the last 40 years he has lived among his work in his yard, a permanent exhibition, combining all sorts of objects and varying over time, “time”, the companion of the artist.
Joe Ouakam tried new challenges including street theater, where he is author, director and actor. He covered all kinds of themes that appeal to public life. This very innovative style of theater was taking place on the streets of Dakar, where each spectator could, at their will, stage their own scene to play their own part.
He has conducted this experiment for years. For the artist it was a method to educate ordinary people about various issues facing their society.
Joe Ouakam has never sought to participate in exhibitions; he has always preferred to hang his many works in his yard, escaping the conformity of the standard exhibition venues. He does however, respond to some requests.


instagram: #joeouakam

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Google ISSA SAMB or JOE OUAKAM images and you will get a great impression of his work

Various versions of the portrait I made, including the final version (digital and analogue)

Following the Dakar Biennale (Dak’Art) via the internet has been really educational and inspiring, but truthfully I have to attend the next one in person. Posting about the Dak’art was an attempt to get a glimpse of the atmosphere and everything that was happening; my blog posts have really only scratched the surface. Never the less I learned about artists I didn’t know before and I loved feeling a little bit part of the Biennale. As I am finding my feet in the art world, knowing about this platform is really great. I am trying to get back onto a track that I left nearly a decade ago.

It has been an absolute joy to dedicate my blog posts to the Dak’art Biennale and I will use all this inspiration for my future work.

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, I highly appreciate it.

Much Love, Salam


Con Leggi leggi (wolof), au revoir , see you soon!

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(Instagram photo’s above by: @joelandria and @yoyolajolie )


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