Maam Ndeuk Daour Mbaye, 2020, photograph, 60 x 91 cm
TheCube Project Space
This new series of photographs by Ibrahima Thiam is based on the mythology of the white horse-man, Maam Ndeuk Daour Mbaye, the protector of the city of Dakar and its twelve Penc, the traditional villages that were owned by the Lébou community and decimated by French colonizers in order to build a modern city. The idea of the ghost came back with force during the current pandemic and the lockdown. Empty streets at night, a weird quietness, time for other types of beings to occupy the space. The lockdown has offered a moment of self-reflection, a time for observation, and new encounter with the self and with both material and non- material beings. Humans mostly move around the city assuming to be the only living species, but the present times have shown us the importance of giving space for nature to breathe. What would an encounter with Maam Ndeuk Daour Mbaye be like?
The visual culture of Dakar has been partly shaped by a strong belief in set times for humans to circulate, and other times exclusively kept for supernatural ones to entirely own the space. Thiam’s work invites us to think about these parallel universes, and to wonder when we stopped seeing nature as sacred.
As our relationship to time, our routines and behaviors, our social interactions and the workings of our institutions have changed, could we also consider this time as a moment for forced healing and reconciliation with the sacred?
－Curator｜Marie Hélène Pereira
(b. 1976, Saint-Louis, Senegal; based in Dakar) Ibrahima Thiam, a self-taught photographer, was born in Saint- Louis, Senegal, in 1976. Thiam takes a journalistic approach characterized by photographic writing about human life. Intimate portraiture and innovative street photography. He captures and reinvents the visual language of everyday life with particular inspiration from the history of African studio portrait photography.
Curator : Marie Hélène Pereira
Marie Hélène Pereira graduated in Management and International Business Law. After a few years of work within the business world, she shifted her professional interest to arts and culture. She is Director of Programmes at RAW Material Company where she has organized a dozen of exhibitions and related discursive programs including the participation of RAW Material Company to We face forward: Art from West Africa Today (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester); ICI Curatorial Hub (TEMP, New York); The 9th Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai; MARKER Art Dubai (2013). She co-curated Scattered Seeds (Cali-Colombia, 2015-17) and curated Battling to normalize freedom (Clarkhouse Initiative, Mumbai, India, 2017). Pereira was a co-curator of Canine Wisdom for the Barking Dog – The Dog Done Gone Deaf. Exploring The Sonic Cosmologies of Halim El-Dabh with Dr. Bonaventure Ndikung at the 13th edition of Dakar Biennale of Contemporary African art (2018). She has a strong interest in politics of identity and histories of migration.