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The Novotel Dakar, where the art world and hotel industry meet

Published on 18 December 2018

Dakar is famed for its Dak’Art Biennale, one of the most important contemporary art events in Africa. And now there’s the Novotel Dakar, an art-focused hotel smack bang in the city centre, with gallery space and iconic street art.

Dakar, city of work and play, city of ocean-view lighthouse bars, city of international surfing, and city of contemporary art. Enter the 4-star Novotel Dakar in the city centre (on the Corniche opposite Gorée Island) and you’ll see just how much the latter has become part of the city’s DNA.

Nicknamed the “Sahel Paintbrush”, Kalidou Kassé, one of Senegal’s most acclaimed and prolific painters, has two works hanging in the hotel, a sort of permanent gallery for his La porte de l’Espoir painting and a triptych the Novotel commissioned to commemorate its opening in 1982.

Walk out onto the restaurant’s terrace and you’ll come face-to-face with a fabulous piece of street art by Docta, a pioneer of Senegal’s graffiti scene who organises art-forward community projects and events such as the Festigraff street art festival.

LAYU-Novotel, a duo to promote African culture

And speaking of events, the Novotel Dakar is currently hosting an exhibition by the photographer Anthony Robert (November 21 to January 15), Allegory of Time, in which Robert portrays Saint-Louis through beautiful, poetic scenes of everyday life.

As if that weren’t enough, the Novotel is also showcasing the brand LAYU “From West Africa to the world.” Created by Madji Sock (associate and director of Dakar’s Dalberg bureau, and a well-known figure of women’s empowerment movements), LAYU aims to help young people find employment and promote African culture by highlighting local products such as clothing, accessories and food. LAYU brands itself as lifestyle label “made in West Africa, for the world”.

In the words of Novotel & Ibis Dakar’s General Manager, Mark Saint-Julien, “Music, photos, art… we want our clients to mix work and downtime with discovering Senegalese artists. The LAYU boutique is representative of local creation and creativity.”

Relaxation and art: now you know where to come when you visit forward-thinking Dakar.