abdoulaye konaté © abdoulaye konaté

Abdoulaye Konate at the Zeitz Mocaa for a tribute exhibition

This February, Zeitz MOCAA will host the unveiling of a site-specific, monumental work by internationally renowned Malian artist, Abdoulaye Konaté, titled Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logo

A tribute to the gatekeepers of tradition

This richly detailed textile work made up of striking strips of burgundy, coral, crimson and indigo fabric, soaring 4 stories high, will adorn the museum’s interior wall in the Zeitz MOCAA BMW Atrium. The work honours two thinkers distinguished for their contribution to culture and history: Malian historian and ethnologist Youssouf Tata Cissé (1935-2013), who specialised in canonising oral history from various parts of West Africa, and Germaine Dieterlen (1903- 1999), a French anthropologist who pioneered research on Dogon astronomy and the Bamana cultures of Mali. With this artwork, Konaté references ancient writing and knowledge systems, transposing it into the present. Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA, states: “It is an honour to have one of our continent’s foremost artists represented in our museum and to introduce our audiences to the vitality of practices which are now part of global art history.

Crédit photo Dillon Marsh, Zeitz MOCAA , Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logos © Abdoulaye Konaté
Crédit photo Dillon Marsh, Zeitz MOCAA , Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logos © Abdoulaye Konaté

An artist addressing several socio-political issues

The myriad of individually hemmed appliqued fabric fragments in Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logos (Hommage à Youssouf Tata Cissé et Germaine Dieterlen), not only add rich colour and texture to Zeitz MOCAA’s concrete walls, but also contribute to an important dialogue around materiality in contemporary art from Africa.”

Konaté grapples with the way in which societies and individuals, both in Mali and beyond, have been affected by factors such as war, power struggles, religion, from global epidemics such as HIV/AIDS to freedom of expression, globalisation, ecological shifts and the AIDS epidemic. Employing material from Mali, namely woven and dyed cloths, the artist creates largescale abstract and figurative compositions. The installation at Zeitz MOCAA has been unveiled on 12 February 2020 and will be on view for one year. This commission was made possible with the support of Blain|Southern, London.

Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logo
From February 12, 2020 to February 12, 2021
V&A Waterfront Silo District, S Arm Rd, Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001
South Africa

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About the author

Oceane Kinhouande

After graduating with a law degree from the University Panthéon-Assas Paris II, I joined ICART Paris to pursue an MBA in International Art Market. I am passionate about contemporary art from Africa and Afro-descendant cultures. I believe it is vital and important that contemporary art from Africa informs us about the multiplicity and nuances of its realities. It is also very important to me that this artistic expression be a vector of African and Afro-descendant history, identity and innovation.

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