Ivory Coast: A new museum for contemporary art

NEWS: A new museum for contemporary art in Ivory Coast

Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 08:20 am

A thick layer of black paint, a giant canvas painted red… The talents of Abobo, in Ivory Coast, are expressing themselves.

The painters are telling the stories of their hometown, with its colours and characters, to the visitors of the Adama Toungara museum.

“This artwork reminds us about the history of this place, which used to be a bus station,” the artist Pehouet Soro said.

“So this is a scene at a bus station, a scene with traders, in the middle of the station.”

The new museum is at a crossroads, not only physically, but symbolically.

Inaugurated in March, at the start of the pandemic, the museum aims to display contemporary art from multiple African cultures.

It has over 500 square meters full of sculptures, paintings and photographs by famous or rising artists.

“In the art sector, there was no such place to help artists from Abobo to emerge,” Fodé Sylla, the museum’s coordinator, said.

The exhibition Prête moi ton rêve (Lend me your dream) displays art by diverse contemporary artists from the African continent.

It’s also a chance for the locals and visitors to discover artworks of the African art scene.

“The idea of this Abobo project was to allow Abobo residents to access culture, to be able to enjoy this kind of exhibitions like Lend me your dream, which is one of the world’s top exhibitions,” Sylla added.

By organising Open Days, workshops, concerts and meetings with the artists, the Museum hopes to attract curious visitors of all ages.

“All generations meet and mix here, that’s what’s interesting,” Abishag Voundi, one of the museum’s cultural mediator, said.

“Adults too, they are coming with their children, or sometimes nannies, and in the end everyone sits down and draws.”

The place is a sanctuary for creation where all talents are invited to get inspired by Ivorian and African artists, who are getting recognised beyond the continent.