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Dakar: exhibitions, films and theatre on Dante Alighieri

DAKAR dante
Dakar: mostre, film e teatro su Dante Alighieri
In Senegal, the Italian Cultural Institute of Dakar organised a vast programme of exhibitions, films, meetings and theatre on Dante Alighieri, on the occasion of the ”Italian Language Week”. From 11 October to 11 November, the face of Dante Alighieri was visible in the streets of Dakar on ten billboards placed in various districts of the city.

The exhibition presented the face of the Poet reinvented through the language of illustration, comics and street art by ten Italian artists: Andrea De Luca, Blub, Bomboland, Milo Manara, Mirko Camia, Oscar Diodoro, Matteo Cuccato, Camilla Garofano, Lucamaleonte, VanOrton.  The bill of events then included the documentary “The sky over Kibera”, the slum of Nairobi. It is here that in 2018 Marco Martinelli, founder with Ermanna Montanari of the Teatro delle Albe in Ravenna, arrives.  In Swahili, Kibera means forest. And it was from there, encountering the (dark) forest par excellence, that the creation of Dante’s Divine Comedy took off, with a theatre workshop and related performance involving 150 children and adolescents from local schools, painting a new perspective on Dante’s masterpiece in English and Swahili. The screening, in Italian with English subtitles, was preceded by an online link-up with the director Marco Martinelli.

The initiatives continued with the presentation of the first Wolof translation of the First Canto of the Divine Comedy by the Senegalese writer and journalist naturalised Italian Abdoulaye Khouma, known as Pap. The translation process lasted months supported by other Senegalese intellectuals, including his colleague and friend Cheikh Tidiane Gaye, a Senegalese writer and poet naturalised in Italy.

The Italian Ambassador to Senegal, Giovanni Umberto De Vito, introduced the meeting with Pap Khouma and Cheikh Tidiane Gaye. They read extracts from the First Canto of the Divine Comedy. This superb translation is the basis of the work of the Teatro delle Albe, a group of actors from Pikine – a district in the banlieue of Dakar – the Senegalese actor Laity Fall and the Complexe Culturel Léopold Sédar Senghor of Pikine, which he directs.  Finally, the events dedicated to Dante Alighieri ended with the group exhibition ‘Sunu Dund – seven Senegalese artists interpret the First Canto of Dante’s Inferno’, in the framework of Partcours 2021.

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