Bosnie, Angola, Rwanda (1996)
During the 1990s Abdoulaye Konaté shifted his primary focus away from easel painting and often employs textiles in his mixed-media installations. For him, colour is a potent conveyor of meaning, whatever the medium. In Bosnie, Angola, Rwanda (1996) the artist uses humble but beautiful materials and simple, precise techniques to generate powerful imagery about genocide.
The installation is powerful in its spareness and quietude, the four wall pieces raised up like the chorus in a Greek tragedy.
The medium – soft to the touch and assembled with such care – is at odds with the brutal subject matter of the work, but the contrast lends it even more power. Textiles constitute one of West Africa’s fundamental forms of expression and cloth is the language that Konaté increasingly uses to express his social and political views. There is further tension between the beauty of the locally grown, locally woven cloth of the mural components of the installation and the cheap fibres of the recycled clothing sent to Africa from the West that make up the floor piece. The installation is powerful in its spareness and quietude, the four wall pieces raised up like the chorus in a Greek tragedy.
Abdoulaye Konaté (b. 1953) lives and works in Bamako, Mali. He studied painting at the Institut National des Arts in Bamako and then in Havana, Cuba, where he lived for six years before returning to Mali. He worked for many years at the Musée National de Mali, was Director of the Palais de la Culture and is currently Director General of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasseké Kouyaté in Bamako. In 1996 he won the prestigious Leopold Senghor Prize at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal and has exhibited widely in Africa and around the world. His work has been shown, for example, at Documenta 12 in Kassel (Germany) and was included in Africa Remix (2004), which toured to Düsseldorf, Paris, London and Tokyo.
Installation photos © 2012 Liza Lemsatef Cunningham www.ellelens.com
Hear curator Dr Jennifer Harris discuss Abdoulaye Konaté’s work on the COTTON: Global Threads blog.
Courtesy of the artist.