Dakar- Senegal (PANA) – Kalidou Kassé, a Senegales-e painter, says the participation of African artists in the second Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora (CIAD II) was "an outstanding success".
CIAD II was held from 11-14 July 2006 in Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian northeastern State of Bahia.
Kassé, who was speaking to PANA upon his return from Brazil, described as "particularly positive" Senegalese artists' participation in this event.
He hailed the combination of the continent's talents at the conference, whose participants dealt with the theme of African Renaissance.
"Artists exposure was a major success, particularly with regard to the works presented, but also considering the participation in the various workshops, of a high-powered Senegalese delegation led by the Minister of Culture, Mame Birame Diouf, who seized this opportunity to promote Senegalese artists," he added.
According to Kassé, who is chairperson of the local branch of the International Association of Art (IAA) and delegate to UNESCO, African artists' participation was a discovery for Brazilians, who visited en masse the various exhibitions mounted by the African delegates.
"Brazilians did not even want to leave.
They appeared as very interested in the continent's works of arts and they asked a lot of questions, especially on Senegal.
It was extraordinary, I realised it was a form of visibility which was very important for artists," he said.
On the theme of the conference (African Renaissance), Kassé opined that "artists contribute considerably to the continent's revival" and the only thing remaining is to show more determination in this regard.
"Artists work constantly for the continent's renaissance.
The important thing to determine whether they are determined enough to solve Africa's problems, as we do have a lot of problems.
Today, to fill the digital gap, for example, artists must stand up and play their role in this fight.
Artists should also be present in the fight against poverty and diseases in Africa," Kassé stressed.
Speaking on the overall participation of African intellectuals in the conference, Kassé affirmed that they took part in the debates with a lot of determination "as they really felt at home" in the Brazilian city.
"The various events were of high quality, people debated on a lot of problems currently experienced by Africa and today the onus rests on Africans to fight for their continent's development," he added.
"That means that we must necessarily progress towards the United States of Africa.
It is a long-debated issue, but we must renew awareness on this reality and implement it, because we will not be able to make progress as long as we have not materialised this idea of the United States of Africa," the Senegalese artist noted.