Aboudia Ivory Coast, b. 1983

His favourite subject is street children. "I feel close to them because when I decided to get involved in art, my family was against it and I left my home and lived alone."

With street art as a starting point both literally and figuratively speaking rooted in real life and reinforced by schooling in mural art that the young artist received at the Technical Centre of Applied Arts of Bingerville, Aboudia paints the street in the manner in which painting is done in the streets.

This street life with its ups and downs, laughter and tears, remains his driving force, fuelled by memories of the charcoal drawings on the wall of a house in his village that so impressed him as a child. From the recollection of matchstick men and hairdressing placards, graffiti and tags, to melodious words and images from the "nouchi" the slang spoken by the youths in the street.

Aboudia expresses what is deep inside him.
Born in 1983, Aboudia, real name Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, graduated from the CTAA (Technological Centre of Applied Arts) in Bingerville, although he acquired his style in the school of life on the streets. He chose to become a painter against the wishes of his parents and teachers who predicted he would become a tag artist. Although he was acclaimed by the international community of art critics and journalists for his work narrating the confrontations during the Abidjan civil war, Aboudia refuses to be considered a war artist.

His favourite subject is street children. "I feel close to them because when I decided to get involved in art, my family was against it and I left my home and lived alone. The Abobo railway station has always been a source of inspiration because it is a living and popular place. Many marginalized kids meet there. Because I noticed that these kids drew upon the neighbourhood walls to express what was deep within them, it occurred to me - because I had also been there - to try and retransmit the message portrayed by their pictures on canvas".

Aboudia, an artist in movement
If the canvases by this child prodigy are able to freeze time for the duration of an exhibition, not so their author who seems incapable of standing still. A kid from Abidjan who wandered its streets but who also roamed those of New York and London via Johannesburg in order to stimulate his vision.  Aboudia, who became known to the international public thanks to his poignant pictorial testimony of the battle for Abidjan likes to define himself as a cosmopolitan artist, jetting non-stop between different places and cultures. An artist difficult to define or label and so resists classification.

 


Aboudia, already in major art collections
In 2011, Aboudia was acclaimed for his canvases which documented the battle for Abidjan. In June of the same year he exhibited in the Jack Bell Gallery in London. His work is now included in the major international collections, in particular the Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC), the Jean Pigozzi in Ginebra and the Frank Cohen Collection, London as well as in the permanent collection of the Saatchi Gallery of New York. Since summer 2011, Aboudia has exhibited in numerous individual and joint shows and was invited to take part in a conference organised by the Goethe-Institut in South Africa on the role of art in time of war. Together with other artists from the Ivory Coast artists, he participated in an exhibition on Abidjan during the Biennial of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal.