Master of Textiles; Abdoulaye Konaté

Master Abdoulaye Konaté brings the wealth of West African textile tradition and inspiration to Kampala

“Mali is one of the poorest African countries; however its outstanding artistic tradition is surely approved. Textiles, in particular, are where the Malian tradition is deeply permeated. The artist recreates the traditional textile arts in his own way and embodies countless stories of Africa. Cloth is like paints to him; as some artists fill canvases with paints, Konaté furnishes spaces with pieces of cloth of various colors. From the works that can be easily viewed to monumental pieces that cover a soccer field, his works represent the vital force of abundant and dynamic Malian textile arts”. (source Brilliant Ideas Episode #31: Abdoulaye Konaté, Master of West Africa contemporary art)

Photo: Peter Mallet, Blain| Southern

Abdoulaye Konaté was born in 1953 in Diré, northern Mali. During his artistic education that led him to Cuba, he discovered a history and practices that invited him to step out of his comfort zone; Africa was wider than its borders, and its culture had transformed and spread to the four corners of the planet. Beginning as a painter and installationist, he finally chose textile as his privileged means of expression, thus reconnecting with the secular traditions of his country. In the large frescoes he creates, he portrays traditions that have fallen into disuse, immortalizes a history that used to be transmitted orally, and looks at our contemporary world with the eyes of a wiseman.

Abdoulaye Konaté – Studio 2 July – 10 July 2018 at Afriart Gallery on 7th

Abdoulaye selected the following Apprentices to participate in his Studio:

Matt Kayem (Uganda)

Matt Kayem is a Ugandan contemporary visual artist. Born Michael Matthew Kayiwa  on 5th June  1991. Both his parents owned a bookstore right in the heart of the town which meant that the young Michael would be introduced to writing and drawing at an early stage. After his secondary school, he joined Michelangelo College of Creative Arts, Kisubi.

Kayem has exhibited at the Makerere art gallery in a group exhibition dubbed “My Art, My Life”.  He was one of the selected artists to perform at the Laba Arts Festival on 11th June 2016 where he did a live painting performance. Matt Kayem  opened up his first solo exhibition in 2016 at Under Ground gallery. The exhibition was titled “Pop-Rap-Hip”. Matt Kayem is one of the artists showed at the 2nd edition of the  Kampala Art Biennale in September 2016.  In April 2017, he was part of ‘Ekifananyi kya Muteesa”, a group exhibition at the Makerere art gallery. He is currently an artist in residency at 32 degrees East, Ugandan Arts Trust, a centre, only one of it’s kind in Uganda that nurtures contemporary artists.

Matt Kayem is a full time visual artist that applies his skills in painting, sculpture, installation, performance, graffiti and photography. He works and lives in Kampala. “I’m interested in aesthetics and it’s complex and sometimes peculiar relationship with our living, money and art. Pop culture also intrigues me and I merge it with relating themes like power, fame, death, religion, relationships and others. Sometimes I play an activist role and add politics and racism to my work. I express my hopes, dreams, desires and my perspective on the human experience in my work. My style has been influenced largely by surrealism and pop art. Mass media, consumer culture and the internet are also a source of my concepts. My work generally takes on a maximalist approach as I merge so many ideas from different sources that I make to fit into my ideologies”.

Leonard Opondo (Uganda)

Leonard Opondo is a visual artist (1991) and art student graduate of Ugandan Christian University. He focuses on painting and drawing. His style can be classified as ‘indigenous expressionism’though he likes to see himself as Expressionist. He has been inspired by fellow Ugandan artists such as Eria Sane Nsubuga, Henry Mzili Mujunga, Paul Ndema as well as renown artists such as Picasso and Kerry James Marshall. Leonard also enjoys sculpture and printmaking and works as a DJ in his free time. His works are inspired by the ambiguities in life, such at the tension between nature and daily human activity, as well as world political issues such as racism and homosexuality. He recently participated in a drawing exhibition titled ‘Surfaces’ at Afriart on 7th.

Rebecca Bulimo, wood cut print

Rebecca Bulimo (Kenya)

Rebecca Bulimo was born in 1996 in Nairobi. She is a Kenyatta University graduate with a diploma fine arts. She is currently learning wood cut printing at Kuona Artist collective under Dennis Muraguri. She has taken part at Manjano art exhibition and is looking forward to more exhibitions.

Rebecca sees the Kampala Biennale as a great opportunity to learn new things and also to meet new artist. “Iam sure it will make my ideas grow and it will make me grow my creativity and make my work production better. I would like to work with Abdoulaye Konate. I like the way he uses textile as a form of art. In which he commemorate and communicate. I am excited to learn the different ways I can use textile in my art career. I always looked forward to specialize with weaving and fabric courses in school. It will allow me to communicate with textile and add a different touch to it; something new to many people. When most people think of textile, all thoughts and creativity focus on fashion”.

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