CIAGP annual congress, Maison Ousmane Sow and Dak’Art Biennale attracts world of visual arts to Senegal

New museum dedicated to the late sculptor and CISAC Vice President Ousmane Sow opens
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Senegalese Minister of Culture Abdou Latif Coulibaly with CIAGP and CISAC during the annual congress for the visual artists creators council. 

Senegal has proven to be a visual artist champion, particularly in World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). The SCCR is the centre of debates for an international treaty for resale right, which CISAC, European Visual Artists (EVA) and the International Council of Authors of the Graphic and Plastic Arts and of Photographers (CIAGP) have been working towards. The resale right guarantees creators a small percentage of the resale price when their works are resold by an auction house or gallery.

In recognition of Senegal’s efforts and to honour CISAC’s late Vice President Ousmane Sow, Dakar was the host city for the annual congress of CIAGP on May 1st and 2nd. Gathering 40 participants from 23 societies, the congress united representatives from each continent of the world prior to a symposium, the biennale and the opening of the Maison Ousmane Sow museum. The congress was organised with the Ministry of Culture First Technical Advisor Abdul Aziz Dieng and host society SODAV’s CEO Aly Bathily.

Senegalese Minister of Culture Abdou Latif Coulibaly welcomed participants at the opening: “I would like to share with you a dream: That Senegal be a leader and an example for the protection of author’s rights in Africa.”

CIAGP President Joel Shapiro chaired his first congress, acknowledging the crossroads of a “so buoyant” art market yet creators themselves are still “so detached” from commercial success. Reprography is a pillar of revenue while resale right can continue to grow. Joel pointed out that the United States (except California) and China, among over 100 other countries, do not recognise the right. He called on working towards an international treaty.

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CIAGP drew 40 participants from 23 societies to Dakar for its annual congress, hosted by SODAV.

CISAC Director General Gadi Oron highlighted efforts in countries of key influence in the debate, such as Japan and Argentina. In Japan, he had met with government minister and copyright official meetings in April.  In Argentina, CISAC supported SAVA and resale right efforts after a proposed bill was introduced and approved by its Senate. In addition, CISAC has become the data authority for resale right through its annual Global Collections Report.  

Private copying, reprography and collective rights were discussed in a panel moderated by CIAGP Rapporteur General and VEGAP Director General Javier Gutierrez Vicén. Private copying is one of the most efficient ways to address a need for artists to have fairer remuneration. 

The congress also was updated on developments in each region of the world, resale right campaign progress as well as AIR Project and distribution working groups. AIR, a visual arts identification system, will be operational in 2019 with a call for new societies managing online rights scheduled for this September.

A “perfect illustration that art knows no boundaries and that African artists are getting the recognition that they deserve,” according to Joel Shaprio, the Dak’Art Biennale opened on May 3rd. It was the first time intellectual property was included in the biennale programme. CISAC Director General Gadi Oron expressed CISAC’s support for Senegal in developing the biennale into a major platform for creative industry policy discussions in Africa. The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, thanked CIAGP for choosing Dakar for their 2018 congress at the opening ceremony. 

On May 4th, the Senegalese Minister of Culture organised a “About the need to rebuild cultural policies” symposium where Javier Gutierrez Vicén and Marie-Anne Ferry Fall discussed private copying. It allowed numerous Ministers of Culture from African nations, policy makers, academics and experts to learn about private copying and find new ways to finance cultural and creative activities. How to boost contemporary African art and rethink African cultural policies were also presented.

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The “About the need to rebuild cultural policies” symposium debates creative sector policies and resale right.

Following the congress, the Maison Ousmane Sow opened its doors for a preview reception for CISAC and CIAGP. The new museum is dedicated to the late sculptor and CISAC Vice President. Ousmane Sow was a pivotal advocate for resale right, notably addressing WIPO Member States in Geneva about its importance. Gadi Oron recalled Ousmane Sow during his visit to WIPO. Ousmane famously declined talking points, instead saying: “I won't read these papers, I don't know how to do that, but I will speak from my heart.”

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CISAC Director General Gadi Oron and CIAGP President Joel Shapiro at an exclusive opening of the Maison Ousmane Sow museum.

Just after the congress, WIPO Deputy Director General Sylvie Forbin and Senior Legal Counsellor Carole Croella met regarding resale right, providing advice on continuing the campaign in WIPO.

The next CIAGP annual congress will take place in Berlin on October 1st and 2nd, 2019 in Berlin upon the invitation of VG Bild-Kunst.