BILDENDE KUNST DER GEGENWART IN SENEGAL
Museum für Völkerkunde (ed.), Editorial: Friedrich Axt, El Hadji Moussa Babacar Sy: 278 pages, numerous illustr., German and English Editions available in the museum.ISBN 3-88270-370-9
The anthology, which came out in 1989, is both ambitious and unique.
Even today, it remains required reading material on the history of contemporary art in post-Independence Africa. Not only did Sy and Axt assemble key figures of the Senegalese art scene and give them a platform to speak from, but the book’s publication in German, French and English and its international distribution fulfilled their plan of sustainably enhancing international awareness of art from Senegal.
In fact, the anthology did more than that. It gave active encouragement to the Senegalese art scene – economically as well. As a result of their dialogue with today’s Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt, Axt and Sy were commissioned to purchase around fifty works for the museum’s collection.
What set them apart from other collectors of the day was their comprehensive knowledge and profound understanding of the artists’ development and practice. In addition, they were making these purchases for a European museum that, at the time, was the only one explicitly addressing non-Western contemporary art.