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The success of PARM Art Exhibition – Food Heroes at the DAKARTOFF2022


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22 colorful and stunning artworks from 10 African countries portrayed
the resilience of smallholder farmers

On 21st June 2022, the exhibition “FOOD HEROES: The heroes of food security and sustainable agriculture” organized in Dakar by the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment (MAER) of Senegal, successfully came to a close.

Beautiful artworks produced by 22 African artists from 10 countries such as Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Guadeloupe, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, United States, and Zambia were presented to more than 1700 attendees and representatives from multiple institutions, including the United States Agency for International Development – USAID, the Embassy of France, Embassy of Luxembourg, etc. as a result of PARM Art Challenge, a digital campaign launched in 2021 that called on artists to transform the portraits of rural women and men of Africa into Food heroes.

The Exhibition took place in the Botanical Garden of Cheick Anta Diop University (UCAD), from 31st May to 21st June, as part of the Dakar Biennale DAK’ARTOFF 2022, one of the major contemporary African art exhibitions, since 1996. The exhibition also received a high attention from online visitors through the virtual tour launched on PARM Art Challenge website and social media platforms for people who were not in Senegal. Over 7,600 online visitors participated in the virtual tour carried out on PARM digital platforms.

Use of art language to touch the sensitivity of a wide audience

During the vernissage ceremony held on 31st May, Massimo Giovanola, PARM Manager stated that, through this initiative, PARM wanted to use “art” for touching the sensitivity of public opinion, a wide audience including those who are not always involved in the agricultural sector. “This exhibition is also an opportunity for us to appeal donors and all actors to always support farmers, especially women who are the most exposed to agricultural risks”, he said.

Benoit Thierry, Sahel Regional Director of IFAD based in Senegal welcomed this first initiative which allowed artists to highlight and magnify the image of farmers and breeders. Benoit Thierry said “This exhibition is a way of bringing very distant populations closer to urban centers or decision-making centres. By bringing the peasants in an artistic form to the heart of the city, we can manage to show all that they do. And we can see through these photos, the rice producer, the onion producer, the fruit producer, breeders, the milk producer, etc. This is very important because these are the people who provide us with our daily food, unfortunately few people in the cities know this”.

Enjoy the virtual tour of the exhibition during DAKARTOFF 2022

The voices of Artists: a deep connection with Food Heroes    

« The artwork I created seeks to show a beautiful, courageous face of a hero. A hero that adapts to different challenges and hardships. Someone who is a cultivator. And I enjoyed working on this piece of artwork, and it was a great opportunity for me to learn about some of the stories in my own continent ». (Yabi – Autor of “Root” artwork)

« I am really happy to have participated in this challenge because it allowed me to combine photography with painting, I was inspired by a photo that highlights a Shepherd. I think it may be worth paying tribute to those people who work hard to be able to feed their families. And it is really nice to finally be able to show what they do around the world through these artworks ». (Monou – Autor of “Le Bìberger d’ici” artwork)

« With my artwork, I presented to you a farmer who, for me, is the very example of the strength of a woman. Because that is a subject which is close to my heart in my creation, because I have a lot of respect for fragility, but also, on the contrary, the strength that women in all the actions they carry out. The PARM Art Challenge and this exhibition gave us the opportunity to draw attention to interesting profiles of this kind of heroes, our heroes ». (Guy Ouakaman – Autor of “Reflection” artwork)

« I heard about PARM Art challenge some time back from a very generous person, and I saw this as an opportunity to learn and explore more on what’s the Platform for Agricultural Risk management PARM was doing, and I decided it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. Having this artwork selected, among other incredible and amazing artists it’s truly an honor ». (Psd.mvrs – Autor of “Sensation” artwork)

PARM Art Challenge: Using talent to celebrate the faces of Food Heroes

In 2021, PARM and its partners launched the PARM Art Challenge to celebrate the faces of rural women and men who, every day, face many risks to produce the food we have. The Challenge called on more than one hundred artists from Africa and the diaspora to transform portraits of rural women and men in Africa into works of art by highlighting these actors in the shadows of our food security.

From the Rural Divine of Medro, to the Old Nomad of Edgar Ngoma, each of the selected artworks bears witness to the authenticity and spirit with which farmers face their daily challenges.

« The backbone idea of this initiative is to encourage the young people to invest in agriculture because by doing it well in a transformative way, in a modernized way, you can really manage to support your family with the income”, pointed out Karima Cherif, Founder of PARM Art Challenge, during the Vernissage, held on 31st May at the Jardin Botanique, UCAD».

This exhibition is the result of the collaboration with the International Fund for the Development of Agriculture (IFAD) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment (MAER) of Senegal with the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Commission (EC).

Read the media coverage and social media report on the Exhibition.