‘I saw Amsterdam only through cartography and what history told us about the Dutch explorers who entered Africa and the rest of the world by sailing out of Amsterdam.’
A Senegalese in Amsterdam (2020)
Camara Gueye is inspired by the movement and gestures of daily life. Looking at the painting, we see the solid quality of the lines, the vibration of the contours, the capturing of volumes, beings in their light.
Gueye paints the street-sweepers, the boys in the street, and the blue-collar workers in urban Dakar. He shows their struggle. His juxtapositions illuminate the complex reality of life in urban Africa. There is struggle, but there’s also optimism. There is despair, but there is also hope. There is stagnation, but there is also latent energy. His characters might struggle, but there is nobility in their struggle —a determination to forge ahead.
Camara Gueye was invited to Refresh Amsterdam by Judith Quax, to perform live during her multimedia installation Voyage à Dakar. If possible (due to Covid-19), he will come to Amsterdam with his own work, A Senegalese in Amsterdam, to add a layer of meaning to Quax’s work about the journey she made to Dakar with her Dutch Senegalese son, Noah.
Camara Gueye (Bignona, Senegal, 1968) is a painter, draughtsman and actor who lives and works in Dakar, Senegal. With both despair and optimism, he depicts the daily lives of the people of Dakar: the street sweepers, the labourers, and the children on the street. In their struggle, Gueye recognises determination and resilience. Gueye graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar, and has since exhibited his work internationally. He is also a visual artist and actor in the award- winning short film Tabaski.