Sleepless Nights

Burkina Faso between Culture and Revolution

“As a contemporary dancer, I stick to my opinion that dancing is a social and a political action, and that being an artist in a broader sense means being there for society.” (Serge Aimé Coulibaly)

Autumn 2014 was a significant moment in the recent history of Burkina Faso. Blaise Compaoré, who had been president of the country for 27 years, resigned following a two-day popular uprising. A unique event for Sub-Saharan Africa, which showed one thing: There are groups in Burkina Faso’s civil society that are actively participating in organizing political resistance. Artists and cultural producers played a decisive role in this, many of whom had been pointing out social and political grievances long before the uprising. In particular, there was great enthusiasm for dance and theatre among those citizens that were disenchanted with politics and were looking for alternatives to the existing systems, a fascination that extended well beyond the borders of Burkina Faso to other young people in Africa. 

The festival “Sleepless Nights – Burkina Faso between Culture and Revolution” sheds light on this lively Burkinabe cultural scene. It is conceived as a platform to get closer to dancers and actors and their creative processes, and to the links between art and social engagement. The artists are simultaneously activists, who turn their art into their own form of political and civic decision-making. The pieces – almost without exception German premieres – treat questions of freedom of opinion, human rights and cultural diversity. 

Curated by Alex Moussa Sawadogo.

“Sleepless Nights: Burkina Faso between Culture and Revolution“ is a project by Kulturbrauerei e. V. in cooperation with HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.

Supported by: Institut français, French Minstry for Culture und Communication / DGCA, Goethe Institute Burkina Faso and Burkinian Ministry for Culture and Tourism. Media partner: AfricAvenir, africultures.