ABDOULAYE KONATE – Art through the eyes of a Malian.

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Abdoulaye Konaté was born on the 1st February 1953 in Diré, Mali, and lives and works in Bamako, Mali. He first studied painting at the Institut National des Arts in Bamako and then at the Instituto Superior des Arte, Havana, Cuba, where he lived for seven years before returning to Mali.

Today, his work primarily takes the form of textile-based installations which explore socio-political and environmental issues, as well as showcasing his aesthetic concerns and formal language. The artist questions 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. Employing material native to Mali, namely woven and dyed cloths which are sewn together, the artist creates large-scale abstract and figurative compositions. Konaté refers to the West-African tradition of using textiles as a means of commemoration and communication, balancing global political and social reflections with a reference to his own local and cultural history.

Konaté worked as a graphic designer at the Musee National in Bamako. In 1998, he was appointed to be the Director of the Palais de la Culture. In 2008, Konaté was nominated for the Artes Mundi 3 prize, Cardiff. He has received several awards, including the prestigious Léopold Sédar Senghor Prize at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar (1996), the Officier de l’Ordre National du Mali (2009) as well as the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France (2002). He is the Founding General Director of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers Multimédia Balla Fasseké Kouyaté in Bamako.

Konaté’s work has featured in numerous international exhibitions. Major group shows include documenta 12, Kassel (2007), Africa Remix. Contemporary Art of a Continent, international tour including the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, (2004-2007), and more recently The Divine Comedy, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2014), SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2014-2015), and National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, USA(2015).

He participated in the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brasil.; and he currently features in: Streamlines: Metaphorical and Geopolitical Interpretations of the Oceansat Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, DE and ART_TEXTILES at The Whitworth, Manchester, UK. Forthcoming exhibitions include Eva International biennale in Limerick, Ireland from 16 April and a solo exhibition at the Arken Museum, Denmark from 21 April 2016.

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