25 September — 18 November 2020

Abdoulaye Konaté

Gallery 1957, Accra are excited to announce the rescheduled dates for an exhibition of new works by Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté, now running from 25 September – 18 December. The exhibition, held in the Gallery II space, presents new large-scale, site-specific commissions, and sees the artist employing Ghanaian Kente cloth in his works for the first time.

Questioning the way in which societies and individuals, both in Mali and beyond, have been affected by factors such as war, the struggle for power, religion, globalisation, ecological shifts and the AIDS epidemic, Konaté’s fabric-based installations are delicately cut and sewn to present a powerful language of colour and texture. Employing woven and dyed cloths native to Mali, here presented alongside materials found in Ghana and beyond, the artist creates large-scale abstract and figurative compositions, referring to West African textile traditions, whereby material is a means of commemoration and communication, balancing global political and social reflections with a reference to his own local and cultural history.

Abdoulaye Konaté, Rouge bleu au kente (2020), courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957

For this exhibition, Konaté has created new commissions activating both the gallery space and the adjoining Kempinski Hotel. Many of works incorporate abstract shapes and geometries – as seen in Gris au kente (cercle et triangle), and Jaune kente (arc et triangle) – whilst others introduce glimpses of figuration; in Ghana 1 Kente, poids et couronne a discernibly regal figure occupies a work exploring sovereignty and responsibility, whilst Rouge kente et monde embraces concepts of the global. In Coucher de soleil (Ghana), Konaté presents a reworking of more traditional landscape painting, with a Ghanaian horizon glowing across his large-scale textile.

In several works, Konaté imbues west African textiles with motifs used in the artistic traditions of the African region known as the Sahel, a vast area on the southern edge of the Sahara desert that includes present-day Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger. Lengths of material in jewel-like blues and greens or arid reds and golds, overlap both literally and metaphorically - reflecting the interweaving of material cultures and wider societies across the continent.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.


Abdoulaye Konaté, Kente et kalani, 2020, mixed media textile, courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957


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