3 West African Artists The World Should Know About

There are plenty of artists all around the world, all trying to make sure that their work gets noticed. This includes everyone from writers in Brooklyn, to poets in Asia, to painters in Europe. However, West African art still remains extremely underrated with respect to the current talent pool. Here are some of the most unique and creative West African artists that are active to this day.

Ibrahim Mahama

There are many West African artists that continue to make some incredible art, but Ibrahim Mahama creates large-scale installations that have gained attention all around the world. Mahama is interested in using materials that you wouldn’t expect to make overall statements about the world, and his themes often include the fact that the world is becoming increasingly globalized. 

One of his latest works references the fact that human beings are destroying the river ecosystem more than ever. Mahama is the kind of underrated artist that truly isn’t scared to make a statement, and should be appreciated for it. Ibrahim Mahama is based in Tamale, Ghana.

Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba 

Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba might reside in Brooklyn now, but he hails from the Ivory Coast, which has a profound influence on his art. He certainly isn’t afraid to speak on West African issues, either. Specifically, years ago, when Diarrassouba lived in Abidjan, he stayed and painted about the civil war going on in the city rather than fleeing. 

It’s this kind of courage and talent that has led to Diarrassouba being featured prominently all around the world. How can you not appreciate an artist who takes his work that seriously? Specifically, Diarrassouba states: “I could hear the bullets zipping through the air while I painted”. There is a raw energy to his paintings that is hard to deny, and he is sure to continue shaking things up.

Laetitia Ky

There are plenty of resourceful artists out there that create some incredible work using material that you wouldn’t expect. However, Laetitia Ky takes it a step further. Specifically, she creates sculptures with her own hair – and it is quite incredible. Ky is from the Ivory Coast, and has been braiding hair since the age of five.

You can check out some of her work on her Instagram account, which boasts over 180,000 followers. Her work has also gone viral on Twitter various times. Some of her most famous work has involved shaping her braids into the shape of a TV, scorpion, fish, and more. There is little doubt that her following will only grow from here, and it will be interesting to see what direction this Ivory Coast artist takes.

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