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40 Under 40 Africa

Abdoulaye Konaté

7 September 2020

Artist, Bamako

The Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté assembles monumental installations from cut and sewn strips of fabric, woven and dyed by artisans using age-old techniques. The resulting compositions veer between figuration and abstraction; frequently, Konaté’s symbols and figures offer oblique comment upon political issues in Mali and beyond, from global warming to the AIDS epidemic. Konaté’s work has been exhibited throughout Africa, including at the Dakar Biennale in 1996, where he won the Senghor Prize, and as part of the major exhibition ‘Prête-Moi Ton Rêve’, which is touring six cities across the continent (2019–21). He has also been the subject of solo shows in Europe and the US, with a retrospective held at Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst, Ishøj, in 2016. In 2004, Konaté founded the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasséké Kouyaté in Bamako, with the aim of providing opportunities for young local artists to develop their careers in Mali; he was previously director of the city’s Palais de la Culture (1998–2002). Konaté is both an Officier de l’Ordre National du Mali and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France.

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