Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

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Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
Born11 March 1923
Died28 January 2014
Known forDrawings

Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, also known as Cheik Nadro (11 March 1923 – 28 January 2014),[1] was an Ivorian artist.

Life and career[edit]

Bouabré was born in Zépréguhé, and was among the first Ivorians to be educated by the French colonial government. On March 11, 1948, he received a vision, which directly influenced much of his later work. Bouabré created many of his hundreds of small drawings while working as a clerk in various government offices. These drawings depict many different subjects, mostly drawn from local folklore; some also describe his own visions. All the drawings are part of a larger cycle, titled World Knowledge. Bouabré also created a 448-letter, universal Bété syllabary, which he used to transcribe the oral tradition of his people, the Bétés. His visual language is portrayed on some 1,000 small cards using ballpoint pens and crayons, with symbolic imagery surrounded by text, each carrying a unique divinatory message and comments on life and history.[2]

Many of Bouabré's drawings are in The Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) of Meshac Gaba. One of his emblematic drawings is saved in the L'appartement 22 collection on the African continent: "Une divine peinture relevée sur le corps d'une mandarine jaunie", made by Bouabré in 1994 in Abidjan.


  • 2013 Venice Biennale, Italy.
  • 2012 Inventing the world: the artist as citizen, Biennale Bénin, Cotonou, Bénin.
  • 2010-2011 Tate Modern, London, UK
  • 2010 African Stories, Marrakech Art Fair, Marrakech
  • 2007 Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK
  • 2007 Why Africa ?, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy
  • 2006 100% Africa, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
  • 2005 Arts of Africa, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, France
  • 2004-2007 "Africa Remix", the touring show has started on 24 July 2004 at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf (Germany), and travelled to the Hayward Gallery in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.
  • 2003 Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Musée Champollion, Figeac, France
  • 2002 Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany
  • 2001-2002 "The Short Century", was an exhibition held in Munich, Berlin, Chicago and New York and organised by a team headed by Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor
  • 1996 “Neue Kunst aus Africa”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germania
  • 1995 Galerie des Cinq Continents, Musée des arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, Paris, France
  • 1995 "Dialogues de Paix ”, Palais des Nations, Geneve, Switzerland
  • 1994 “Rencontres Africaines”, the touring exhibition has shown in Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Cidade do Cabo in Sud Africa, Museum Africa in Johannesburg and in Lisbon(Portugal).
  • 1994 “World Envisionned”, together with Alighiero Boetti, the exhibition has shown in DIA Center for the Arts in New York and American Center in Paris.
  • 1993 “Trésor de Voyage”, Biennale di Venezia in Venice (Italy)
  • 1993 “Azur”, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Jouy-en-Josas (France)
  • 1993 “La Grande Vérité: les Astres Africains”, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes (France)
  • 1993 “Grafolies”, Biennale d’Abidjan in Abidjan (Ivory Coast)
  • 1992 “A Visage Découvert”, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Jouy-en-Josas (France)
  • 1992 “Oh Cet Echo!”, Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris
  • 1992 “Out of Africa”, Saatchi Collection in London
  • 1992 “L’Art dans la Cuisine”, St. Gallen in Sweden
  • 1992 “Resistances”, Watari-Um for Contemporary Art, in Tokyo
  • 1991 “Africa Hoy/Africa Now”, the touring exhibition has shown in Centro de Arte Moderno in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), Gröninger Museum in Groningen (Netherlands), Centro de arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City
  • 1989 “Magiciens de la Terre”, Centre Georges Pompidou and Grande halle de la Villette in Paris
  • 1989 “Waaah! Far African Art”, Courtrai in Belgium
  • 1986 “L’Afrique e la Lettre”, Centre Culturel Français, Lagos in Nigeria

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ivory Coast artist Frederic Bruly Bouabre dies
  2. ^ Outsider Art Sourcebook (ed. John Maizels, Raw Vision, Watford, 2009, p.52
  • Bio from the National Museum of African Art
  • L'appartement 22 Collection in Rabat and exhibition [1].
  • Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, On ne compte pas les étoiles (Editions Bordessoules, 1989). ISBN 2-905735-12-0


review in The Daily Telegraph 04/09/2007

Further reading[edit]