Artist Talk

Omar Ba with Justine Kohleal

Join Contemporary Calgary and The Power Plant for a candid conversation between artist Omar Ba and curator Justine Kohleal as they discuss Ba’s practice from its early beginnings to current observations. Walking us through his studio in Dakar, Ba takes us behind the scenes, sharing his process and method of working, as well as insights into exhibition Same Dream, on view at Contemporary Calgary (17 September 2020–31 January 2021).

Omar Ba is a Senegalese artist whose paintings evoke a shared cosmogony between humans, plants and animals. His penchant for depicting personal narratives alongside collective ones speak to the “in-between” condition of his work, as he splits his time between Dakar, Senegal and Geneva, Switzerland, and blends the visual texture of both places through his practice. Ba draws from and intertwines a range of elements—the historical and contemporary, figurative and abstract imagery—from both African and European cultures.

Omar Ba (born 1977, Dakar, Senegal) lives and works between Dakar and Geneva. Ba has participated in numerous international group exhibitions, most recently at MAC Marseille, France (2018); the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris (2017); BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium (2017); Ferme-Asile, Sion, Switzerland (2015); Hales Gallery, London, UK (2017, 2014); Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2014); Biennale de Dakar, Senegal (2014); and Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland (2012), among others. Ba’s works can be found in private and public collections, including Credit Suisse, Switzerland; Fonds municipal d’art contemporain de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland; Fonds municipal d’art contemporain de la Ville de Paris; Centre national des arts plastiques, France; the Barbier-Mueller Collection, Geneva; the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France; and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In 2011, Ba received the Swiss Art Award.

Justine Kohleal is an Assistant Curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, Ontario. Select past curatorial projects include [INTERFACE] (Fringe Gallery, Edmonton); Intellectual Play (dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton); and Sounding the Alarm: The Poetics of Connection (Art Gallery of Ontario). Since joining The Power Plant she has curated show by Beth Stuart, Thomas J Price, and Howie Tsui, and assisted on exhibitions by Ellen Gallagher, Shuvinai Ashoona, and Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa. She has interned with The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Centre for American Art and with the Art Gallery of Ontario. Kohleal holds a curatorial M.F.A from OCAD University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta with a focus in Art, Design, and Visual Culture.