Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, Aboudia, was born on October 21, 1983 in Abendourou, 200km from Abidjan and is a contemporary American-Ivorian artist.
He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works between Abidjan and New York. He approached art when he was in primary school. Since the age of 15, Abdoulaye has been alone as an artist. He was kicked out of his childhood home by his father when it became known that Abdoulaye wanted to become an artist.
His mother gave him the last of his savings to complete a scholarship.
In 2003 he graduated from the School of Applied Arts in Bingerville and in 2005 he graduated from the Institut des Arts in Abidjan.
Between 2007 and 2008 Aboudia marched around Bingerville and the center of Abidjan and their circuit of galleries, not finding success. In the same years, foreign collectors and gallerists begin to buy his works.
The political tensions of the country of those years allowed him to produce many works: he first reached an international audience during the siege of Abidjan in 2011, when the conflict approached his studio.
He collaborates with internationally renowned artists such as Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (2012) and Christian Furr (2017) producing works in New York, London and Abidjan. In 2012 and 2014, Abdoulaye’s work was exhibited in the Ivory Coast, Aboudia is influenced by a synthesis of American avant-garde traditions and graffiti in the communities in which he lives.
Many in the art world relate his work to that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, as both mix African-American connotations in their paintings.
In fact, Aboudia’s work uses both indirect and direct references to African and Western styles. While some artists chose to flee the civil war, Aboudia decided to stay and continue working despite the danger.
Many of his paintings are in fact the result of what the war had brought, and that left us hopeful, imagine, even if he never wanted to define himself as a “war painter”.
Some of his paintings were also inspired by footage he saw on the news or on the Internet. His body of work, which he describes as “nouchi”, is a tribute to the essence of dreams and language.
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Much of his work, which is seen as too avant-garde for local Ivorian tastes, has depopulated the rest of the world. The disapproval of his people did not deflect his decision to represent this national crisis in his paintings.
After the outbreak of war, the themes of his painting changed. Now, he returns to his original themes which are childhood in the streets, poverty and child soldiers. Some of his works have been exhibited in Basel, Miami, New York, Singapore and Art Central in Hong Kong. He has also made various solo exhibitions with galleries in New York, London, Barcelona, Copenhagen and more.