Sahara 2023

Sahara 2023


Nadia Beugré, Prophétique (on est déjà né.es), 2021. Photo: David Kadoule.

May 16, 2023
Sahara 2023
October 1–November 30, 2023
Facebook / Instagram / YouTube

Culturescapes 2023 Sahara, the multidisciplinary art biennial celebrating its 20th anniversary, opens in Basel on October 1, 2023. 

With artists and curators from within and around Sahara, Culturescapes strives to reimagine the region as a space of connection, exchange, free movement, resistance, circulations, and multiple knowledges. The biennial’s three main topics address the moving borders of the desert and the postcolonial borders of the African countries, question resilience as a key feature of political and socio-environmental reality in Africa, and imagine the possible futures as seen from the ever-challenging and challenged Sahara. 

The festival 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.

The main highlights include:

C LA VIE, a dance piece by Faso Danse Théâtre, opens Culturescapes 2023 Sahara at Theater Basel. A Burkinabe/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 Rhein 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 from the Ivory Coast, to be shown in November in Kaserne Basel, 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 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, Hindatou Oumarou Ibrahim, Felwine Sarr, Jonas Staal, and others.

The complete program, including literature readings, city walks, and discussions, will be published online in the summer of 2023.

Co-curated by Jurriaan Cooiman and Kateryna Botanova. For further questions or information, please contact the communication department at info [ at ]

RSVP for Sahara 2023
May 16, 2023

Thank you for your RSVP.

CULTURESCAPES will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.