Wednesday, 23 April 2014
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The battle for Abidjan

Although much art is conceived from turmoil and suffering, little perhaps as directly so as the work of Ivorian artist Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, whose first solo show in the UK opens this week.

His large-scale, busy, Basquait-esque works are the product of the horrors of a country plagued by the bloody conflict of civil war.

By Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

By Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

The Ivorian presidential election late last year sparked widespread riots, plunging the Ivory Coast capital, Abidjan, into chaos and the resulting Civil War that broke out in March.

During this period, the artist - holed up in his basement studio - created a series of works in direct response to the horrific violence around him.

Djoly by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

Djoly by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

The vibrant, vigorous works document the conflict in brave brushstrokes; melding innocence with despair in child-like depictions of armed soldiers, skulls and a war-torn urban landscape.

Warpainting by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

Warpainting by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

Warpainting shows eerie skull figures clutching guns, staring out from the canvas at the viewer with a menace that belies the innocent-seeming daubs and mark making. Numbers and letters merge into a viscerally painted background to create a disquieting, violent surge of energy and confusion. His 2011 untitled work sees distorted figures set against police cars, abstract shapes and inset-like icons to form a disquieting flurry of marks.

The God by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

The God by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

Diarrassouba’s influences range from as disparate elements as his direct surroundings and neighbourhood to media adverts to comics, using these to build up multi-layered images of an environment in disarray, torn apart by brutality and violence.

By Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

By Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba

The Battle For Abidjan - Paintings By Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba runs from  June 22 – September 1, at Jack Bell Gallery, 276 Vauxhall Bridge Road London SW1V.

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