Senegal’s first female graffiti artist, Dieynaba Sidibe is breaking down barriers in the world of street art and challenging perceptions of females.
Painting under the name Zienixx, Dieynaba Sidibe uses her art to promote women’s rights, to speak out on social and environmental issues, and to raise awareness about women’s health.
Dieynaba Sidibe said: “All women, everywhere, whether they are fishmongers, graffiti artists or office workers, we are all fighters. Women are fighting to be free to do what they want, to do work that pleases them, to be paid equally to men, and to follow their passion.
“Women are marginalised in society. I think my art can help people understand.”
In spite of her parents initially refusing to accept their daughter’s calling as an artist when she was a teenager, Dieynaba Sidibe found support within the hip hop community. She learned how to paint graffiti from fellow members of the hip-hop community at the Africulturban Centre outside Dakar.
President of the centre, Rapper Matador (Babacar Niang) recalled: “She was really interested in hip hop culture, slam poetry, and graffiti. It was a little surprising because she was a woman. It was new for me, because after 20 years, the only women we had here were interested in rap, and she was interested in graffiti as well.”
“I thought that she could bring something new into hip hop culture, because people thought only men were doing graffiti. With graffiti she can show the role of women in society. If it’s coming from a woman it’s even stronger. Usually people don’t pay attention to issues. But when you walk in front of her graffiti it calls on people to think about these things.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com