Giving Birth

Fatou Kandé Senghor2015

la Biennale di Venezia - Biennale Arte 2015

la Biennale di Venezia - Biennale Arte 2015

Fatou Kande Senghor
Born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1971.
She lives and works in Dakar and Thies, Senegal.

Senegalese artist Fatou Kande Senghor is interested in themes related to identity, temporality, and memory, like an unbroken string between past, present, and future. She uses film, video, photography, and installations to explore the different facets of near and distant cultures in relation to their rites of passage, oral traditions, gestures, and actions, all of which are linked to key moments of existence. By documenting these intimate or collective events, she unveils the recollection of these rites and traditions through more contemporary forms of urban culture such as rap, hip hop, and break dance.
In 2007, Senghor completed the film Diola Tigi, an account of an ancestral rite in the village of Casamance, in Senegal. In this film, she combines elements of biography and the story of her family, using family photographs she collected in Grandma’s Wall (2010) as part of her documentary film The Other In Me (2011). The film narrates the story of twin brothers who discover their family roots in a constant back-and-forth between America, their land of adoption, and Africa, their land of origin.
Senghor’s feature-length film Giving Birth is currently being shown in film festivals worldwide. Visitors to the Biennale di Venezia will see a shorter version of the film, this time focusing on the work of Senegalese sculptor and ceramist Seni Awa Camara (born circa 1945). In her ceramic figures, Camara also focuses on the notion of continuity, but in this case it is the continuous meeting between natural elements—such as earth and water— and supernatural forces. In Senghor’s film, Seni Camara is seen as a mystical and singular figure. As she carefully handles her work, she recalls the founding moments that shaped her existence as she was associating myths and legends to the birth of this hominoid profession considered both sacred and secular. Giving Birth allows us to witness the creative process within the context of the artist’s daily routine.
Paralleling her work as a filmmaker, Senghor created the Waru Studio in Dakar in 2001. The studio is a platform for artists to conduct research through new technologies, as well as a laboratory for experimentation in art, science and technology, ecology, and the politics of change.

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  • Title: Giving Birth
  • Creator: Fatou Kandé Senghor
  • Date Created: 2015
  • Rights: Courtesy the artist, Photo by Alessandra Chemollo; Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia, with the support of Ford Foundation and Institut français/Programme Afrique et Caraïbes en créations
  • Medium: video, color, sound (30’)


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