FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1ST WORLD FESTIVAL OF NEGRO ARTS
I – ARGUMENTS
At the invitation of Poet President Leopold Sedar Senghor, from 1 to 24 April 1966, Dakar hosted the 1st World Festival on Negro Arts. This momentous event took place in the wake of the Congress of Black Writers and Artists held in Paris (1956) and in Rome (1959) to highlight the contribution of Black writers to world literature. The event was focused on the defense and illustration of Black Art. In the words of President Senghor, it was meant to "show evidence of the participation of Negritude to the universal civilization through the richness of Black Art. "
The 1st World Festival of Black Arts is a unique event which took place for approximately twenty days, when Dakar became the capital-city of Negritude and the privileged place for the defense and the illustration of the black world’s civilization values. It was staged with the active attendance of the other " Negritude Fathers", i.e. Aimé Césaire, Léon Gontran Damas and Alioune Diop, the founder of Présence Africaine (1947) and of the Society of African Culture (1956). André Malraux’s remarkable presence did not go unoticed as well as that of hundreds of artists, writers, and cultural figures from 37 countries.
It is a masterpiece which should be preserved and valorized in order to have it filed by the World Heritage committee.
That’s the reason why a group of Senegalese intellectuals from the senegalese section of the African Community of Culture (CAC / SEN), chaired by philosopher / writer Alpha Amadou Sy, and Professor Saliou Mbaye, former national Director of Archives and Chairman of the scientific committee, aware of the irreplaceable role of the 1st Festival in senegalese, African and global collective imaginations, and of the effectiveness of its message, decided to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1st World Festival of Black Arts by placing it under the following theme: "1st World Festival on Negro Arts: Past and Present (1966 -2016)".
The 1st Festival was followed by other Festivals in Nigeria (1977), Kinshasa (1974) and Dakar (FESMAN, 2010) and, in another style, Algiers (1969 Panafrican Festival).
Fifty years later, CAC / SEN, with the support and encouragement of the Government of Senegal, plans to organize a number of events including an international symposium to be held in Dakar on november 8-10, 2016, under this title : 1st World Festival of Negro Arts: Past and Present(1966-2016). "
This symposium will consist of presentations read in plenary sessions and of an open forum for potential witnesses and participants in the 1966 event around the issues below:
1) What is the first World Festival of Black Arts, its genesis, its actors and preparation?
2) What is left of the Festival? What are the continuities and discontinuities one can currently note, and what are the impacts of the 1st Festival:
• At a global level: Is Negritude more visible? Does Negritude still make sense?
• In Africa: the response of continental, regional and sub-regional organizations
• At a national level:
_ on the one hand, the state’s response and the development and implementation of cultural policies
on the other hand, the responses that people have developed in the defense and illustration of their tangible and intangible heritage.
3) What is the impact of the 1st Festival on current forms of cultural expression, such as music, drama, dance, visual arts, architecture, handicraft, national languages?
4) What cultural responses may come out, given the new paradigms on Globalization, Information and Communication Technology, Sustainable Development, Cultural Industries?
II – PROCEDURE
Presentations will be followed by discussions. They must be sent to the Chairman of the Scientific Committee firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 31 August 2016 specifically marked either for the symposium or for the Forum.
Participants must indicate whether they are able to fully or partially pay their air ticket as well as room and board or if they need total support.
Local transportation and lunch are provided by the Organizing Committee.
The conference proceedings will be published.
Suggested cultural site visits are to be paid by participants (Decorative Arts Manufacture in Thiés, President Senghor’s family home in Joal, outings in St. Louis, Gorée, etc.).
Dakar, April 26, 2016