Aboudia - Wired: Online Auction London Wednesday, October 27, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Jack Bell Gallery, London
    Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2013)
    Sotheby's, London, 31 March 2021, lot 47
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘The place of children in my work is very important, in that it is these children I love the most, who inspire me, and who are at the forefront of what I create. Our vision of the world is positive: of a world without war, without children on the streets, without children mistreated, a world for children who are happy, joyful, educated and in good health.’ – Aboudia

    Known for his vibrant canvases populated by dynamic representations of children, Aboudia’s approach to artmaking is deeply rooted in his connection to the urban streets of Abidjan, his birth city in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. He takes inspiration from the city’s graffiti which is brought into dialogue with the imagery of traditional West African wood carvings through the artist’s distinctive approach to figuration. Recognising the coexistence of these dual influences in his work, Aboudia names his stylistic approach Nouchi, a term more commonly used to refer to the colloquial language specific to urban areas of the Côte d’Ivoire, asserting the significance of both the local and traditional to his artistic practice.

    The influence of the street is evident not only in Aboudia’s figurative style, but also in the very materiality of his work. He paints onto textured surfaces created by layering found materials onto canvases. In the present work, images of West African objects are pasted underneath the heads and chests of his graffiti-style figures, uniting his depiction of Ivorian youth with their cultural heritage. The vibrant yellow background dazzles underneath the gestural application of media that powerfully articulates the children in fiery red, cool blue and punchy violet. Reflecting on his engagement with the imagery of the street, he notes, ‘graffiti is important for me, for it allows me to express myself through the youth’ (Aboudia, quoted in Orlando Reade, ‘How to Paint Ghosts’, Africa Is a Country, 4 October 2013, online). He understands education to be of central important to the younger generation of Ivorians and in the present work integrates educational materials into his collaged surfaces along with mathematical sums and child-like doodles of animals. This socially motivated aspect of his artmaking practice is reflected in the artist’s establishment of a foundation in Bingerville, Côte d’Ivoire that seeks to provide children access to healthcare and art.

    While Aboudia locates his influences firmly in the street culture of Abidjan, the present work gestures to wider art historical references that place the artist’s work in global dialogues; the upside-down child mirrors the rotated figures in Georg Baselitz’s canvases, the urban characteristics of the work resonates with the iconic paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the textured surface and graphic approach to figuration recall Jean Dubuffet’s artistic experimentations in the mid-twentieth century. Transcending these artist historical comparisons with his distinctive, impactful style, Aboudia is one of the key figures at the forefront of the contemporary art scene today with strong representation across the UK, US, and the African Continent.



dated '2013' upper centre
acrylic and mixed media on canvas
99.2 x 137.3 cm (39 x 54 in.)
Executed in 2013.

£20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for £81,900

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Wired: Online Auction

Online Auction 27 October - 3 November 2021