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 Ephrem Kouakou  (1962 - )

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Lived/Active: Maryland / Africa      Known for: folk motif African culture image painting

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Ephrem Kaouakou is primarily known as Ephrem Kouakou

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ephrem Kouakou is an African painter who currently (early 21st century) resides in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ivory Coast, West Africa. His paintings are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC; and Fondo Del Sol Museum, Washington DC. He is noted for his bold blending of indigenous African visual sensibilities and folk motifs with Western creative techniques.

Born in 1962 in the Ivory Coast village of Toumodi, Ephrem is a member of the Baoule group of the Akan people. As a young man he trained to be a medicine man, participating in many initiation rites. This actualized a deep spiritual life that manifests in his work. Themes of community, the spiritual power of masks, protective spirits, and animal guides are reflections of an unseen world that brings a deeper meaning to his life.

When he was 17 years old, Ephrem walked over 2500 miles from his Ivory Coast village to Algeria, a journey, which took over three months. He then made his way to France where he studied at France's academies including L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, Angers (1981-1982); Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Aix-en Provence, (1982-1983); and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (1984-1986), where he graduated with honors.

His works on both canvas and paper are noted for their highly saturated, intense color, achieved by mixing raw pigment powders into glue. Kouakou has exhibited in galleries and museums internationally including France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United States.

PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

Lois Mailou Jones (Estate)
Washington DC

Yannick Cam, Chief CoCo Loco
Washington DC

Lloyd M. Mitchell Group
Washington DC

Rev. Willie Wilson, Union Temple Baptist Church
Washington DC

Navron Ponds Esq.
Washington DC

Janice T. Little John
Maryland

Silverman Gallery
Connecticut

Lynden Group
New York

Anne Marie Dannenberg

REVIEWS

May-91
The Washington Afro American, "The Spirit Guides His Brush"

Nov-92
The Washington Afro American, "Ivorian Artist will have a Private Exhibition"

Sep-95
The New York Times, "A Wide World of Contemporary Imagery"

Sep-95
The Hour-Norwalk Connecticut, "One World Many Visions"

Nov-00
Ivoir Soir-Ivorian Paper, "Le Peintre Ephrem Kouakou"

Mar-02
Soir Info-Ivorian Paper, "Je Suis 1, Heritier de Lattier"

Submitted by Sara Arditti, associate of the artist

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