Ethan Cohen presents “African Dawn | Aboudia”, featuring African contemporary artist Aboudia in his highly anticipated first solo exhibition in United States, running from April 10 – May 5 at Ethan Cohen New York.
In kinetically painted canvasses redolent of Jean-Michel Basquiat and graffiti art, Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba (b. 1983) depicts fevered landscapes and street scenes populated by child-like figures. “African Dawn” powerfully showcases Aboudia’s trademark “nouchi” style, drawn from the street culture of children in his home city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The work is informed by their ubiquitous graffiti around Abidjan and free-form street language, known as nouchi, as a form of dreamscape in response to privation. Rendered in oil sticks, acrylics and collage, his works are noted for brutal lines of color applied to heavily-layered background collages, details of newspaper and magazine cutouts ingeniously encircled by drawings fall in and out of focus. The resulting composition suggests current events cohering through the imagination into a provocative vision.
Mural-like canvases make his statement monumental but delicate, incorporating collage and word play in a deliberate evocation of children’s encounters with a war-torn world. Refusing categorization as a war painter, Aboudia instead emphasizes the vitality of dreams and language rendered in the nouchi street art style. This style situates Aboudia uniquely in Abidjan, while a range of global influences are articulated in collage and paint. His incomparable expression of lost innocence and enduring childhood dreams exemplifies currents in African contemporary art and its peaking international relevance.
Aboudia’s energized portrayal of the street culture of urban Africa takes full flight in “African Dawn”, creating a powerful synthesis of historic and current events and propelling Aboudia to the forefront of global contemporary art.