Orbitals 2023 took place in Senegal from December 4 to December 12 and was organized as an introduction to the art scene in Dakar. The program was curated together with artist and filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri and coordinated by Mophradat’s Program Associate, Krystel Khoury. The trip explored Northern, Eastern, and Sub-Saharan African (dis)connections, questioned the relationship between Blackness and Arabness, and reflected on the co-presence of ancestral knowledge and western colonial ideologies within current aesthetic practices.

The participants, Leena Habiballa (Sudan), Muhammad Amin (Egypt), Muhamad Salah (Sudan), and Salma Kossemtini (Tunisia), travelled together to Dakar, and met with artists and curators, and visited art institutions and cultural initiatives in the city. The trip included visits to arts spaces including KENU – Lab’oratoire des Imaginaires, Espace Medina, Le Village des Arts, Kër Thiossane, Raw Material Company, Le Loft Dakar, and museums including the Leopold Sedar Senghor Museum and The Museum of Black Civilisations, and La Maison des Esclaves on Gorée Island. The group engaged in conversations with curators Delphine Buysse and Fatima Bintou Rassoul Sy (Raw Material Company), Idrissa Diallo (Le Village des Arts and Galerie Nationale d’Art), El Hadji Malick Ndiaye (Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire-IFAN), Isabelle Ndiaye Sarr, and Mamadou Boye Diallo (Yataal Art). The group also took part in a workshop with cinema critic Aboubacar Demba Cissokho and a studio visit with visual artist and photographer Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh. The participants also met with multidisciplinary artist Alibeta, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ibaaku, actress Aïcha Dème, stylist Jah Gal Doulsy, visual artist Hamedine Kane, and fashion designer Cheikha. They also went on a walk through the neighborhood of Ouakam with KENU, had an architectural tour of Dakar with architect Carole Diop, and attended a series of openings at the 12th edition of Partcours Dakar.

In reflecting back, the participants produced a fanzine titled Fragments of Dakar, where they share their reflections, questions, and lessons drawn from and inspired by the trip, such as the vestiges of colonial imagination, autonomous organization, and revisiting the past. You can read the fanzine in English here.

The program was organized by Felipe Steinberg and Krystel Khoury. We are thankful to Jihan, and all the artists and people we have met along the way.


Leena Habiballa (b.1993, Sudan) is a Sudanese artist, cultural worker, and researcher based in London with an interest in African visual/material cultures and community filmmaking/exhibition models. She explores these themes through art/film criticism, her own filmmaking practice, as well as research and curation.

Muhammad Amin (b. 1995, Egypt) is an Egyptian researcher, film programmer, and cultural activist, currently based in Alexandria. He researches and writes about cinema, ethnic music, contemporary cultural and urban practices, and motion picture critique, and curates film programs, seminars, and multidisciplinary educational programs and workshops.

Muhammad Salah (b. 1993, Sudan) is a Sudanese curator, photographer, and filmmaker based in Berlin. He uses photography as a tool to examine light, the progression of time, and the concept of authorship, while continuously questioning the nature of photography and the essence of a photograph.

Salma Kossemtini (b. 1996, Tunisia) is a Tunisian curator and cultural producer based in Tunis. She engages with curatorial practice and mediation in public spaces in Tunisia and in Germany. She initiated L’atelier Selma Feriani Gallery as a research space for the accompaniment and experimentation of artists. Her artistic approach emphasizes practice-based experiences.

Orbitals 2023 was implemented as part of the project “Future Acts,” which is partially supported by the Federal Foreign Office, Germany, and with additional support by Teiger Foundation.