Biography of Abu Bakarr MANSARAYSierra Leone > Arts : Abu Bakarr MANSARAY
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Biography :Abu Bakarr Mansaray
(born in 1970
) is an artist
from Sierra Leone.
Born 1970, Tongo, Sierra Leone,lives and works in Harlingen, The Netherlands
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in western Africa; in choosing a career as an artist Mansaray has laboured to stem the collapse of a nation drained by civil war. After leaving school in 1987, he settled in Freetown, where he became a voracious autodidact,
studying all aspects of practical science and engineering. He revived a technique especially popular in central Africa of manufacturing decorative objects or toys out of wire and iron. But he applied an extreme form of this technique to build futuristic machines
for extravagant purposes, creating contraptions that could produce fire, light, air, water, cold, motion, and sound. “I am an artist making creations without limitation. I do drawings, paintings, sculptures . . . I also invent machines for my own use at home and sometimes for other people,” he has proclaimed.
Mansaray’s preparatory drawings also stand as independent artworks. These studies consist of detailed calculations, sketches, diagrams, and commentaries executed in pencil, ballpoint pen, and crayons. “I like doing strange, complicated drawings and designing intricate machines inspired by scientific ideas that are at times beyond the human imagination (for example, the machines I designed called Hell Extinguisher and Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell). . . . I want people to feel the power of creation.” No doubt the economic, political and social situation in Sierra Leone, a country where war has left behind nothing but ruins and charred bodies, has shaped Mansaray’s imagination and the inspiration. In 1998
he managed to escape his country under extremely difficult circumstances; however, his work continues to bear witness to the horrors of war.
Selected Group P Exhibitions
Arts of Africa
Monaco - France
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA
2004 – 2006 (travelling exhibition)
Africa Screams – Das Böse in Kino, Kunst und Kult
The Evil and the Uncanny in Cinema and Art
29/04/04 – 12/09/04
Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth
Bayreuth – Germany
05/11/04 – 05/02/05
Vienna – Austria
03/04/05 – 12/06/05
Aalen - Germany
08/07/05 – 15/01/06
Museum der Weltkulturen Frankfurt
Frankfurt - Germany
2004 (travelling exhibition)
Art contemporain d’un continent
24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004
Museum Kunst Palast
Düsseldorf - Germany
10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005
London – England
15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris – France
Feb – May 2006
Mori Art Museum
Lyon Biennal for Contemporary Art
Die ver-rückten Stücke
Stiftung für Eisenplastik
7. Triennale der Kleinplastik
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.
Africa Screams: Das Böse, in Kino, Kunst und Kult
Exhibition catalogue by Tobias Wendl. Published by Peter Hammer.
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz.
Lyon Biennal for Contemporary Art, France.
7. Triennale der Kleinplastik
Exhibition catalogue. Abu bakarr Mansaray by J. Soulillou.
Text in German p.176-177.
Contemporary Art of Africa, p.164-167.
Text by Jacques Soulillou.
Edited by André Magnin and Jacques Soulillou.
Publisher Harry N. Abraams.
Last update : 07/24/2007Update this page