Culturescapes 2023 Sahara brings together almost 80 visual artists, performers, dancers, theater companies, musicians, filmmakers, writers, and thinkers in a two-month program that spreads beyond Basel to other cantons of Switzerland. In fall 2023, a total of approximately 120 events with about 30 partner institutions will be presented during the festival in various disciplines including music, theater and dance, visual arts, feature films and documentaries, literature, focus events, public panel discussions, and artist talks.
The main highlights include:
C LA VIE, a dance piece by Faso Danse Théâtre, opens Culturescapes 2023 Sahara at Theater Basel. A Burkinabè/Belgian dancer and choreographer, Serge Aimé Coulibaly immerses himself in the traditional events and forms accompanying life cycles. On the one hand, the Western tradition of carnival, on the other, the West African tradition of the Wara of the Senufo region. From an exploration of the history and the different forms of these ancient rituals of transgression and their dances, he develops a new ritual of celebration for our contemporary world.
Even before the official opening, Nigerian artist Temitayo Ogunbiyi presents her playground as the first part of the exhibition entitled You will follow the Rhine and compose play in front of the Museum Tinguely from May 21. The installation invites visitors to climb, swing and play, explore topics such as migration and exchange, but also material and social cultures. The second part will be on display at the Museum Tinguely from October 18, 2023, presenting works on paper and interactive musical installations.
The dance piece Prophétique (on est déjà né.es) by choreographer Nadia Beugré, to be shown in November in Kaserne Basel, from the Ivory Coast focuses on the transgender community in Abidjan. Its members are navigating between genders with fierce freedom in a very patriarchal society that, at best, pretends not to see them. Hairdressers by day and dance-floor divas by night, they live both exposed and underground, flowing from parallel circuits to solidarity networks and invent their own dances which, mixing voguing and Coupé Décalé, make the nights of Abidjan.
The musical program of Culturescapes features live performances by Keziah Jones and Kader Tarhanine, among others. Keziah Jones, a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist, mixes raw blues elements and funk rhythms with Nigerian Yoruba and soul music. He is best known for his distinctive style of guitar playing. Kader Tarhanine, on the other hand, is the new name in contemporary Tuareg music and one of the most known artists in the Sahara. His music is inspired by the rich repertoire of the Sahel-Saharan area and combines traditional rhythms with rock tones and poetic Sahelian and Arabic lyrics.
For Culturescapes's Digital Space, award winning Ghanaian documentary film maker Anita Afonu was commissioned to create a series of video portraits of participating artists The Drummers and Their Drumbeats.
As always, this edition of Culturescapes is accompanied with the anthology Sahara: A Thousand Paths Into the Future, co-edited by Kateryna Botanova, Yarri Kamara, and Quinn Latimer, and published by Sternberg Press. In this collection of essays, poems, stories, and visual discourses, the Sahara can be seen as a space for decolonizing knowledge, rethinking migration and movement, opening up to stories and experiences of Saharan Indigenous peoples, and imagining plural futures for the continent and the world. With contributions by Badi, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Binta Diaw, Rahima Gambo, Monique Ilboudo, Beaouda Lebdai, Achille Mbembe, Yara Mekawei, Amy Niang, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Felwine Sarr, Jonas Staal, and others.
The complete program, including literature readings, city walks, and discussions, will be published online in the autumn of 2023.