Art and artists in Dakar, Senegal


Daara J Fam performing on Jul. 29, 2018, at Zelt-Musik-Festival in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

Daara J Fam performing on Jul. 29, 2018, at Zelt-Musik-Festival in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

Courtesy of joergens.mi/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

A port city with a vibrant history, Dakar, Senegal speaks in multilingual, technicolor vibrancy and, in recent years, has been a meeting point for creatives of every stripe. With soil ripe for artistic seeds, many movers and shakers are finding home in the city and bringing new imaginings to life in the world of fashion, music, design and more. A mix of fresh faces and seasoned pros, these movers and makers show some of the best of what the city has to offer.

Table of Contents


Aida Sock: Anchored by liberatory refrains, hauntingly spiritual vocalizations and the rhythmical plucking of the kora, Sock’s music is an odyssey through emotion-spanning love, sorrow and the deeply metaphysical.

Daara J: Building on the foundations of hip-hop as a form by exploring the unique features of multilingual existence (the duo raps in English, Spanish, French and Wolof), these two have spent decades carving out a place for themselves with spitfire verbiage, potent political critique and celebratory integration of local instrumentation.

Youssou N’dour: Architect and famed emissary of homegrown dance music genre mbalax, N’dour’s ability to move between the pulsating and the serene, to interweave influences of jazz, hip-hop and rumba and to reveal raw power in his vocals has earned him an enduring legacy that sweeps throughout Dakar.


Nio Far by Milcos: Chunky, textured, with unapologetic attention to detail, these shoes offer brogueish shapes, bold experimentations in color and are grounded through motifs that feature traditional patterns and textiles.

Kakinbow: A unisex line of backpacks, totes, ponchos and travel bags, the angular mud cloth prints and natural earth tones are geometrically aligned with bag shapes and fastenings, to create pieces that bring a new level of taste to classic traditions.

Tongoro: With silhouettes that create new ways to take up space, luxe fabrics in colors that celebrate dark skin and prints that pay homage to Senegalese surroundings, it is easy to see why this line is favored by Beyoncé and others looking for royal garb.


Lives Fest: From DJ sets to pop-up shops, the efforts of multimedia artist Papi Wata, also known by L’Artrepreneur under this label, include documenting everyday life in Dakar while also curating events that shape it, bringing artists, musicians, designers and more together in events that create culture.

Yataal Art: Artist and curator Mamadou Boye Diallo began this organization to break art out of an elitist cage and bring it to the people of his city. From initiating an Open Air Museum mural project that has generated over 90 friezes, the movement has expanded to host exhibitions and talks by artists from around the world.

Ousmane Mbaye Design: A flirtatious interplay between rough and refined, material and form, the colorfully constructed furniture pieces in these collections invite commentary about use, reuse and reimagining into the kitchen or living room.


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