Born in 1957 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Ouattara Watts lives and works in New York, USA.
At the end of the 70s, Ouattara Watts moves from Abidjan to Paris in order to study at the Fine Arts School of Paris. In January 1988, he meets Jean-Michel Basquiat. Impressed by his work, Basquiat takes Watts with him to New York. Moved by a common interest in African culture, philosophy and spirituality, they will travel and work together until the death of Basquiat in August 1988.
This loss acts as a revival in Ouattara Watts' work, as he abandons his first artistic researches and develops a new corpus of works in their own rights. The canvases, with ever growing sizes, are covered by cryptic ideograms, by symbols from a forgotten religion, by complex equations.
Since the beginning of his carrier, Ouattara Watts' work has been displayed in prominent international events namely the Venice Biennial in 1993, Documenta 11 in Kassel in 2002, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London in 2014 or the Dakar Biennial in 2017.
Besides numerous personal exhibitions, his work has also been exhibited in Body of evidence at the National Museum of African Art, at the Smithsonian Institute of Washington and in The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movement in Africa, 1945-1994 at MoMa PS1 in New York. More recentlsy, his works were part of Afriques Capitales at La Villette in Paris and in 2018, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury dedicates him a personal exhibition, Before Looking at This Work, Listen to It, his first in Ivory Coast, his native country.
Selected exhibitions: Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain - FIAC, Grand-Palais, Paris, (France, 2019) ; L'Esprit du large, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Dakar et Abidjan, 2019) ; Résonances, Espace Paul Rebeyrolles (France, 2019) ; Before Looking at This Work, Listen to It, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, Abidjan (Ivory Coast, 2018) ; Afriques Capitales, La Villette, Paris (France, 2017) ; The Short Century : Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994, MoMa PS1, New York (USA, 2002)
Image: Dogon culture, 2018