Abdoulaye Konaté | Mali

Artist and professor. He works with weaving and mixed-technique installations to build a cross-cultural visual grammar, creating compositions intended to harmonize distinct indicial elements. In doing so, he puts forth a humanistic world view – which the presence of manufacture highlights even further — with strong political overtones, tackling subjects such as the AIDS epidemic, territorial wars and religious extremism. He studied painting at the Institut National des Arts, in Bamako, Mali, from 1972 to 1976, and at Instituto Superior de Arte, in Havana, Cuba, from 1978 to 1985, where he came into contact with the works of Cuban artist Wifredo Lam, a major influence in his production. Throughout the 1990s, he transitioned from painting to working with fabric, appropriating an important tradition of his native country and gravitating towards the materiality of colors. Apart from his artistic work, he served in management positions at several cultural institutions in Mali. He is a professor and director at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasséké Kouyaté, in Bamako, where he lives and works.

Brésil 1 (Guarani) | 2015, fabric
« L’Oiseau » | 2015, fabric
« Le crayon » | 2015, fabric

This set of works by Abdoulaye Konaté represents the main features of the artist’s production, such as his powerful use of color, his retrieval of Malian textile tradition with a contemporary twist, his formal rigueur, and his desire to question the great social tragedies of our time – epidemics, forced exodus and threatened cultures. Reminiscent of painting, field in which he was originally trained, Konaté’s compositions allow the public to touch the fabric and delve into the artwork. Commissioned for the 19th edition of Videobrasil, the work Brésil 1 (Guarani) was created after the artist visited a Guarani indigenous village in Ubatuba, São Paulo, in 2014. In the tribe’s featherwork items, he saw “a composition with deep cultural connections and thoroughly thought-out color".