Abdoulaye Konate (b.1953, Mali)

Abdoulaye Konaté (born 1953) is a Malian artist. He was born in Diré and lives and works in Bamako,Africa. Konaté studied painting in Bamako and then Havana, Cuba. Konaté worked as a graphic designer at the Musée National in Bweineramako. He was appointed to be the Director of the Palais de la Culture. Now, he works as the Director of the Conservatoire of Arts & Media in Bamako. He 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. In 1996 he won the prestigious Leopold Senghor Prize at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal and has exhibited widely in Africa and around the world. His work has been shown, for example, at Documenta 12 in Kassel (Germany) and was included in Africa Remix (2004), which toured to Düsseldorf, Paris, London and Tokyo.In 2008 Konaté was nominated for the Artes Mundi prize. 

Combining his painting skills with installation work, he comments on political and environmental affairs. His questioning of the political, social, and economic scenes in contemporary Mali is evident in how AIDS, wars, ecological issues, human rights, and globalization affects all aspects of life and individuals within society.  Much of his large scale work is textile-based, a medium that is more readily available than paints. 

During the 1990's Abdoulaye Konaté shifted his primary focus away from easel painting and often employs textiles in his mixed-media installations. For him, color is a potent conveyor of meaning, whatever the medium. The medium – soft to the touch and assembled with such care – is at odds with the brutal subject matter of the work, but the contrast lends it even more power.

Textiles constitute one of West Africa’s fundamental forms of expression and cloth is the language that Konaté increasingly uses to express his social and political views. There is further tension between the beauty of the locally grown, locally woven cloth of the mural components of the installation and the cheap fibers of the recycled clothing sent to Africa from the West that make up the floor piece. The installation is powerful in its spareness and quietude, the four wall pieces raised up like the chorus in a Greek tragedy.

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Konate, Abdoulaye b.1953

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