Ansouma Diedhiou (20th century), Senegal

Le départ de l’oiseau

, 1981


55 1/8 x 78 in. (140 x 198 cm)


A detailed label of the Manufacture Sénégalaise des Arts Décoratifs is found on the reverse side of the tapestry.

About this artwork

Ansouma Diedhiou was one of the foremost artists from the first generation of students at the Ecole des arts du Sénégal, which was established by Senghor in 1960 (Harney 2002:16). He was a student of Pape Ibra Tall’s, who had helped Senghor establish the school and who taught there from its opening in 1960 until he became director of the Manufacture Nationale de Tapisserie (MNT) in Thiès, another of Senghor’s projects. It later became the Manufacture sénégalaise des arts decoratifs (MSAD) (Cohen 2018:16,17). Diedhiou followed Pape Ibra Tall to the tapisserie and became one of its first cartonniers or designers. Many of his works were produced in multiple editions. His work was included in the exhibition Art Sénégalais d’aujourd’hui at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1974. Senghor, who is said to have engineered the exhibition at this celebrated site through his friendship with Georges Pompidou, saw the exhibition as staking a claim for Senegal’s identity on the international stage (Cohen 2018:21).

Diedhiou grew up in Casamance in southern Senegal, a lush and fertile region that is a very different landscape from the savanna typical of most of Senegal. Scenes of brightly-colored foliage are found in his work, and, as art historian Joshua Cohen has noted, may be a reference to his early years in Casamance, and also a widely recognized trope for Africa even at that time. In a broader sense, however, Cohen writes, "… the composition’s geometric patterns, strong lines, extreme flatness, sleek aesthetic, and bright colors link it to an international visual language of modernist abstraction" (Cohen 2018: 11).

Joshua Cohen. “Locating Senghor’s École de Dakar: International and Transnational Dimensions to Senegalese Modern Art, c. 1959–1980.” African Arts 51, no. 3 (Autumn 2018): 10-25.

Elizabeth Harney. “The Ecole de Dakar: Pan-Africanism in Paint and Textile.” African Arts 35, no. 3 (Autumn 2002).

La Vie Sénégalaise. “Exposition en hommage aux artistes disparus.” November 14, 2019. Accessed May 3, 2023.