Galerie Cécile Fakhoury – Dakar is pleased to present Brobrosseurs, a solo show by the Ivorian artist Armand Boua.
In Nouchi, a popular slang spoken in the streets of Abidjan, a ‘‘brobrosseur’’ is a resourceful person able to navigate the though realities of street life in order to survive. Working as pickers one day and as carters the next, Brobrosseurs are the various characters and destinies Armand Boua gives shape to in his paintings.
To explore an exhibition by Armand Boua is to dive into the vibrant and at times violent contemporary street life of Abidjan. Abstract silhouettes are welcoming us. They will accompany us from one everyday life scene to another. Their faces lack details, nevertheless they stare at us intensely and stand before us with the placidity of those who have seen and lived everything. Yet, some of them are youngster, just out of their childhood spent in the streets where Armand Boua met them and where they are used to spend time together. Time is a central theme in Armand Boua’s painting, and so is characters’ wait, whether it is voluntary or forced. It seems to highlight in reverse the frantic rhythm of contemporary urban world. ‘‘Tout près n’est pas loin (very close is not far)’’ tells us an Ivorian saying, reminding us that there is a hope for better days for those whose who know how to wait.
Under the artist’s hand, the street becomes an epic field of representation. Composition and close framing give Armand Boua’s paintings a photographic dimension. Caught in action, those silhouettes painted in black are surrounded by colorful halos resembling powerful auras as if revealed in negative thus creating a vibrant and blurred atmosphere hallucinatory visions can emerge from.
The dazzling quality of Armand Boua’s paintings conceals the long creative work at stake. Each of the painting is made of several layers of material – newspapers, cardboard, papers – which are gathered by the artist, glued together and painted before being washed and brushed in a cathartic gesture. At the heart of these contemporary palimpsests lie the fragments of a contemporary urbanity revealed to us through the urgency of an aesthetic gesture that reminds us of the Affichistes movement in the 1970s.
Brobrosseurs is a wandering through Abidjan’s popular streets. There, a series of encounters is occuring. There are key moments taken from the artist’s own life which he compells us to experience as well through his painting. As those moments scroll at their own pace under our eyes and consciousness, they are acquiring the vividness of personal memories. Armand Boua’s paintings are places for multifaceted urban contemporary narratives enlivened by the poetry of the mundane.