City trip

8 Apr — 28 May 2017 at the Out of Africa Gallery in Sitges, Spain

6 APRIL 2017
Saadio, 100% Afric, 2016. Courtesy of Out of Africa Gallery
Saadio, 100% Afric, 2016. Courtesy of Out of Africa Gallery

To look at Saadio's paintings, is like reading hieroglyphics. Magnificent, yet reserved for the initiated. Introduced by his family to the Peulh signs and the cosmogenic mysteries of the Dogon, this guardian of mysteries in turn uses symbols to express the evolution of the African society, the confrontation of traditional rituals in the heart of African contemporary society. These sacred elements are to be found in the mysterious presence of animals lost in an urban maze: hens, crocodiles, snakes, fish, a truly traditional symbolism at the core of a city that is alive, colourful, redolent, where thousands of people are on the move, whether by car, motorbike or walking, as planes fly overhead.

The African city, a city of signboards Dakar's walls speak, almost literally. There is an abundance of graffiti and billboards. The city is discovered by means of its walls. This colourful urban microcosm, these popular symbols are made prominent by SAADIO often in a nostalgic manner, like in his artwork titled “Kodak”, where he recovers the photographic studios of Dakar that worked in the past with Kodak film. Saadio isolates the observed object and integrates it into a background of symbols painted like hieroglyphics.

The African city is also a city of tricksters, of odd jobs: salesmen pushing cell-phone credit, sellers of milky Nescafé coffee at breakfast, « La vache qui rit » cheese sellers, sellers of peanuts, of handkerchiefs, of biscuits with sesame seeds... The people manage; try their luck in the midst of this whirlwind of movement. Saadio, his beginnings … and in 2012 recognition.

Following the production of a mural at the Sicap Baobab of Dakar in 1990, Saadio settles on Ngor Island in 1997. A regular visitor to the workshops of local artists, Saadio becomes the organiser of art festivals on the island. Tracked down by gallery owner Aude Minart in 2004, he participates in a group show at the «Galerie Africaine » in Paris. He also participates in numerous editions of the Dak’Art Off in cooperation with Arte gallery, Horizon channel and Agora gallery. In 2008 the Ministry of Culture selects him to represent Senegal in the French Pavilion at the Exposición Universal in Zaragoza (Spain). From 2011 the artistic world began to discover his style and in that same year he participated in group exhibitions in Fribourg (Germany), on Gorée Island (Senegal) as part of the « Regards sur cours » art festival, was invited by the company Eiffage for its 85th anniversary and participated in the XEEX Art Festival at the Dakar city hall. It is however in 2012 with the « Y’en a marre » series, when Saadio gets involved with the mobilisation in favour of the new government of President Macky Sall and Minister of Culture Youssou N’Dour, that the art critics recognise his artistic value.

For the exhibition «City trip», showing from the 8th of April to the 28th of May 2017 at the Out of Africa Gallery in Sitges (Barcelona), Saadio has produced ten urban canvases that include symbols from other cities such as Paris, New York or Barcelona.