The Dakar Biennale pays tribute to the legendary Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté

Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté uses colors and fabrics specific to the Sahel to draw attention to social issues and bring together unique works of contemporary African art with enthusiasts.

One of the 59 artists in the official selection of the 14th Dakar Biennale, Konaté’s works in the field of contemporary art are exhibited under a special title entitled “Le Maître/Le Maître” by the direction of the biennale.

While the former courthouse in Dakar hosts the works of the official selection of the biennial, the works of Konaté are presented to art lovers with a particular mode of lighting in the largest courtroom of the palace of justice.

In the hall, where countless events took place from 1958 to 1992, visitors are greeted by installations up to 6 meters high, created from the colors and patterns used by Tawaric society.

The installations, which look like a giant painting when viewed from a distance, consist of hundreds of rectangular pieces sewn from colorful, bright fabrics called “bazin”, which are frequently used in West Africa.

In his installations, Konaté draws inspiration from many different subjects, from the problem of terrorism in the Sahel to the ancient Ashanti Empire in Ghana.

One of Mali’s most important visual artists, Konaté, 69, told the AA correspondent about his artistic life and the starting point of his works in the hall where his works are exhibited.

– “I was inspired by the nights I spent in the desert during my childhood”

Konaté said he began his artistic life at the National Institute of Arts of Mali in Bamako, then studied plastic arts in Havana, the capital of Cuba.

Noting that he worked in genres such as painting and acrylics, Konaté said, “I started making installations with fabrics, influenced by the traditional clothing of artists, singers and even hunter societies. “.

Konaté pointed out that the inspiration for some of his works was the desert memories of his childhood and said, “You can see different shades of blue in my work called ‘Blue Moon.’ When I was a kid, I loved looking at the moon on the nights we stayed in the desert. When the moonlight fell on the desert, it took on an incredible blue tone. This image will be etched in my memory as it inspired me in painting and acrylic as well as in installations.

Noting that his childhood was spent in the desert and he witnessed many cultures, Konaté said he was influenced by the living practices of ethnic groups such as the Fulani, Berbers, Malinké, the Soninké as well as by elements of the Tevarik society in his works.

– “I wanted to shed light on the problem of terrorism in Mali”

Noting that his works focus on two themes, “visual aesthetics” and “social message”, Konaté said he has mostly emphasized the problem of terrorism in the Sahel in the social message section.

Konaté continues as follows:

“With the 3 installations entitled ‘Death penalty’, ‘The red drops (the blood of the Sahel)’ and ‘No to religious fanaticism’, I wanted to shed light on the terrorist attacks and the extremist movements of which Mali has been a victim. It was also my idea to exhibit my installations in the courtroom, because I think that this place is very appropriate both in terms of its size and the message it conveys. For example, it is very Exciting to display ‘Death Sentence’ on the wall of a former courtroom that has witnessed many hardships.Such a space reinforces and multiplies the impact of the work and the message it is intended to convey.

– “We work non-stop for 8-10 months with a team of 5 people

Konaté pointed out that the facilities emerged with a team of 5 people after long efforts and said, “We complete the work with my 5 assistants in an average of 8-10 months, working non-stop 7 days a week. We use more than 2-3,000 pieces of fabric in some and more than 10,000 in others.We iron each fabric at least 7 times with a machine.In addition to the message that the work wants to give, it is also very important for me that the technical part, especially the final version, is perfect.”

Konaté added that the world, but especially Mali, needs tolerance and tolerance, but that extremist ideas can be prevented through dialogue.

About Wesley V. Finley

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