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Seni Awa Camara





Born c. 1945, Bignona, Senegal
Lives and works in Bignona, Senegal

Seni Awa Camara’s outlook on life is based on revealed truths, on timeless stories, on the world of human beings and the objects that surround them, and on her status as a Ouolof woman with an obligation to unite past and present. She was raised by her mother, who was also a potter, and who taught her sculpture when she was still a child. She had two twin brothers, and all three retreated into the forests of Casamançe to obey a mysterious and divine initiation. “We were sheltered by God’s spirits, who taught us to work with clay.” Camara models clay and gives shape to stories, events, and feelings that have been dreamt, revealed, or created from fantasy. She has gathered a substantial number of her sculptures in her home which could be described as a “theater without a stage,” full of objects and human figures placed according to size—ranging from examples less than twelve inches high to those which tower at eight feet. For Camara, her figures represent the world as she sees it, with people that are, good, bad, beautiful, or ugly. All these creatures are modeled in the yard in front of her house, and fired in an open-hearth kiln.

She explains the distorted faces of her creations as a response to our indifference to our ancestors. Or when forty small monsters are clinging to a pregnant mother, it’s because we’re all fleeing from something! Before unveiling her “secrets,” she locks herself in with her talisman (an ox-horn) and everything becomes possible. Regarding art, she answers: “I am thinking, I have an idea, I am working.”

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2011
Seni Awa Camara entre les éléments
Galeria Kalao
Bilbao, Spain

2010
El Vientre de la Tierra
Galeria Kalao
Bilbao, Spain

2009
Seni Camara & Ndoye Douts
Galerie Nathalie Fiks
Paris, France

2008
Seyni Awa Camara- Terracotas
Galeria Kalao
Bilbao, Spain

2007
Seyni Camara
Galerie Nathalie Fiks
Paris - France

2004
Séni Camara
De Crescenzo & Viesti
Rome - Italy

1990
Seni Awa Camara
Gallery 39
Dakar, Senegal.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020
Alpha Crucis, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (01.22 to 09.30 2020)

2019 Expressions d'Afrique Inside Jean Pigozzi's Collection
Galerie Gmurzynska - Zurich
23 Oct 2019 – 31 Jan 2020

2017
Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier. Les Initiés, un choix d’œuvres (1989 – 2009) dans la collection d’art africain contemporain de Jean Pigozzi. Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (04/26/17 to 09/04/17)


2012
Figure Libre, Galerie Nathalie Fiks, Paris

2011
Chic Art Fair, Galerie Nathalie Fiks, Paris

2009/2010
Africa? Una nuova storia
Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

2007/2008
Why Africa?
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
Turin, Italy

2006/2007
100% Africa
Guggenheim Museum
Bilbao, Spain

2005
Arts of Africa
Grimaldi Forum
Monaco - France

2005
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA

2001
Rocca di Umbertide
Contemporary Art Center.
Italy

2001
Venice Biennale
49th International Art Exhibition
Venise - Italy.

2000
Il Ritorno Dei Maghi
Orvieto, Italy.

1992-1991
Africa Hoy
Contemporary Art Cultural Center, Mexico.
Groninger Museum, Netherland.
The Atlantic Center of Modern Art, Las Palmas de Gran Canary, Spain.

1991
Senegal
Otto-Ritcher-Halle.
Galerie des Institutd Für Auslandsbeziehungen.
Landesmuseum, Oldenburger Kunstverein.

1989
Magiciens de la Terre
Georges Pompidou Center.
La Grande Halles de la Villette.
Paris, France.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2017
Les Initiés, un choix d’œuvres (1989 – 2009) dans la collection d’art africain contemporain de Jean Pigozzi. Editions Dilecta, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France. Exhibition catalogue.


2011
Seyni AwaCamara entre les éléments
Book + DVD - Galeria Kalao, Spain

2007
Why Africa?
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Electa & Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.

2006
100% Africa
Exhibition catalogue. Published by TF Editores & FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.

2005
Arts of Africa: The Contemporary Collection of Jean Pigozzi
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Skira Edition & Grimaldi Forum Monaco.

2005
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2001
Tribal Soul, Metropolitan Body.
Contemporary African Art
Edited by : L'Artière. Bilingual text Italian and English p.66-69.

2001
Regine of Africa. Seni Camara by Enrico Mascelloni E Sarenco.
Exhibition catalogue. Bilingual text Italian English. P.31-58.

1996
Contemporary Art of Africa.
Seni Awa Camara p.54-57, text in English by Louise Bourgeois.
Edited by Andre Magnin & Jacques Soulillou.
Publisher Harry N. Abraams, New-York.

1994
Solitude d'Argile. Légende autour d'une vie.
Seni-Awa Camara’s sculptures.
Book, texts in French by Michèle Odeye-Finzi, 60 pages.
Edition : L'Harmattan.

1991
Africa Hoy. Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno.
Exhibition catalogue, bilingual text Spanish & English. Seni-Awa Camara, p.67 -71.
Las palmas, Gran Canaria.

1989
Magiciens de la Terre.
Exhibition catalogue, text in French.
Georges Pompidou Center, Grande Halle de la Villette. Paris, France.