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 Abdoulaye Konate  (1953 - )

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Embroidered wall hanging
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Abdoulaye Konaté was born in Diré, Mali in 1953. He lives and works in Bamako, Mali and is widely considered to be one of the greatest artists working in Africa today. He studied painting in Bamako and Havana, Cuba for seven years; adding to his experience his appropriation of textiles to mixed media installations. When paint and canvas were unavailable to him, Abdoulaye Konaté began using materials native to Mali, namely raw or dyed woven cloth. The large scale textiles of sewn and applied fabric which he creates not only support the local economy but also as reference to West African tradition of using textiles to commemorate and communicate. He combines the distinctive aesthetics of the local with global subject matter including democracy and dictatorship, religion and the state (particularly the rise of fundamentalism within Islam), AIDS, deforestation and the inequalities between North and South, merging political commentary and traditional craftsmanship. His response is never one of despair, but of hope, exploring the human condition through thoughtful and critical expression. Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) commissioned Abdoulaye Konaté to make this major work for its fifth annual window commission in December 2011. Power and Religion (Pouvoir et Religion), 2011 is a 7m long textile work, which explores the position of Christianity and Islam within political and cultural life. The symbols of religion and government stand out graphically against the grey background, which is covered with white spots. The pieces of this fabric represent the plumage of the guinea fowl, a bird imbued with mythical symbolism in sub Saharan Africa. When this work was first exhibited at INIVA in London in 2011 the artist spoke of his anxieties about the future of his country in the face of increasing radicalisation amongst the youth. Since then we have seen war break out in Mali and the destruction of ancient and irreplaceable manuscripts and cultural artefacts. One of Konaté’s most important works, Power and Religion (Pouvoir et Religion) stands as a monumental and prophetic statement about one of the biggest issues facing Africa and the world today the uneasy and complex relationship between secular power and religion. In 2008 Konaté was nominated for the Artes Mundi Prize. Major group shows include documenta 12 in 2007 and Africa Remix, Contemporary Art of a Continent in 2005 at the Hayward Gallery, London which toured to Paris, Tokyo and Dusseldorf. Konaté and his work have received several awards, including in 2002 the Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mali and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France. He is Director of the Conservatoire for Arts & Media in Bamako. Exhibited: We Face Forward, Art from West Africa Today, Manchester Art Gallery, 2 June – 16 September 2012 Art Dubai, Marker 13, Dubai, UAE, March 2013
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