Badara Ndiaye: Part of The Core of Positive Changes For The World

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Badara Ndiaye, a Senegalese-born American and French visual artist, journalist, fashion designer, photographer, filmmaker, model, and former NCAA Division basketball player, has an extraordinary journey to share. Born on March 31, 1986, in Kaolack, Senegal, to the renowned actor Abdallah Ndiaye and women's rights activist Ndeye Ndiaye, Badara Ndiaye was exposed to a diverse range of influences from an early age.

Ndiaye's passion for sports was evident throughout his upbringing, as he excelled in volleyball, football, and basketball, alongside his affinity for gymnastics. Although he discovered basketball relatively late, at the age of 17, Ndiaye's talent and determination propelled him to new heights. Eventually, he was recruited to play college basketball in the United States, embarking on a transformative journey that would shape his future.

Not only did Ndiaye excel athletically, but he also pursued academic endeavours while studying sociology, anthropology, and psychology at the university. His commitment to education and personal growth expanded his horizons, leading him to acquire fluency in English, French, and Spanish, while also gaining proficiency in Hebrew and various dialects of Senegal.

Currently residing primarily in Paris, France, with a secondary residence in Miami Beach, Florida, Ndiaye's global footprint is undeniable. His artistic endeavours have taken him on adventures worldwide, where he has left an indelible mark through his visual artistry, journalism, fashion design, photography, filmmaking, and modelling. With such an eclectic range of talents, Badara Ndiaye's accomplishments and experiences promise to offer us a unique perspective on his journey as a creative force and his multifaceted contributions to the arts and sports industries.

Greek City Times had the privilege to interview this multi-talented individual who has made remarkable contributions across various fields.

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Can you tell us about your experience with the United Nations? What were some of the projects you were involved in?

I have enjoyed a great experience with the United Nations. As long as one is working towards meeting the 17 Global Goals of the United Nations, then the person is part of the core of the positive changes for mankind and the world.

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How did it feel to be recognised as a cultural ambassador of Senegal by the Senegalese ambassador to France, El Hadj Maguette Seye? What responsibilities did this role entail?

It was a glorifying moment. It is always nice and rewarding to see your efforts recognised. We call it positive reinforcement in psychology, and it helps you keep going. My role has not changed from what I have been doing previously. It means I continue to bring people together, promote my origins through fashion, art, music, and occasionally curate some cultural activities, and many more.

As someone who has studied sociology, anthropology, and psychology, how do these fields influence your work as a creative and visual concept director? How do you incorporate these disciplines into your projects?

Everything we do in life is somehow a translation of our life course. My social studies have allowed me to better channel my personal experience to tell compelling stories for the projects I am involved in. Storytelling is such a key element when it comes to communication, so having a better understanding of us, as people, we perceive those stories as fundamental when trying to connect with people emotionally.

Could you share some examples of innovative and impactful visual concepts or campaigns that you have developed during your career? What was the inspiration behind these ideas? 

Partaking in the Saudi Arabia Fashion Futures event last year as a Creative Director expert is one of the examples. Thanks to Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Saudi Fashion Commission, who had the vision to bring different people from all over the world to contribute to the cultural efforts of the Kingdom. I know people, in general, have a different opinion of Saudi Arabia, but I do invite you to visit if you can. I was stunned by the locals’ will to learn and exchange with foreigners.

Another project that I am the most proud of is TRANSMISSION. It was a sushi tal Art event I came up with in the spring of 2021. The online event brought international singers, designers, dancers, and writers all together to perform online in front of a broad international audience. The performers as well as the audience were from all continents.

As a former college basketball player, do you think your sports background has shaped your approach to creativity and teamwork in your professional life?

Absolutely! Having been an athlete has installed resilience in me but also understanding the importance of working with others. As I mentioned in one of the previous questions, your background contributes immensely to your everyday life.

What are your plans and aspirations as a creative and visual concept director? Are there any particular projects or areas that you are excited to explore?

I am hoping to be part of another project in Saudi Arabia soon, but I can’t speak further about it yet. Hopefully, you’ll hear about it soon. Another project I am getting ready for is an Art Residence in Morocco. I do paint as a way of expanding my creativity and telling the story of my journey.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in the creative industry? Are there any specific sources or platforms you rely on for inspiration and knowledge?

Being curious is key. It’s important the matter of your education into your hands. There are many resources that are available to us today. I recently finished a course on the basics of UX / UI. I always get out there and network. The more people you know, the more new things you learn. I love LinkedIn for that as well.

In your opinion, what role does visual storytelling play in creating social impact and driving positive change? How do you ensure that your visual concepts effectively communicate the intended message?

I will simply say that storytelling is useful to teach people emotionally. Through emotional connection comes a great deal of understanding and compassion.

As a cultural ambassador, how do you navigate the intersection between culture, art, and communication in your work? How do you ensure that your projects respect and honour diverse cultural perspectives?

It’s not difficult anymore to bring the above elements together in the work environment. Thank God I just say this because it means the work environment finally understood that culture and art were part of the communication process. You can’t communicate efficiently with an audience if you don’t understand the cultural background. The last part is that you can’t speak about art without speaking about culture.

Can you describe your creative process when starting a new project? How do you generate ideas and bring them to life?

I start by asking myself the following question: What do I want the end result to be? What is the purpose of the project? I then draw a story supported by extensive online research. From there, I start thinking of the elements and people I will need to collaborate with in order to make it happen. The process might seem simple by reading my answer to this question, but it is not. It’s a matter of really bringing all elements together while keeping them coherent.

What advice would you give to aspiring creative professionals who want to make a meaningful impact through their work? Are there any specific skills or qualities that you believe are crucial for success in this field?

Believe in yourself to start! The human being is very opinionated, so make sure you believe in what you want to do; otherwise, you may be quickly deterred from your vision. Be curious! Always go learn new things. Network! Meet new people to broaden your social and cultural knowledge. Be genuine with whatever you do. And lastly, be kind. You never know who you’re going to meet in the future or who you are going to need in the future.

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