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Biography of Abu Bakarr MANSARAY

Sierra 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
Grimaldi Forum
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
Kunsthalle Wien
Vienna – Austria
03/04/05 – 12/06/05
Kunstverein Aalen
Aalen - Germany
08/07/05 – 15/01/06
Museum der Weltkulturen Frankfurt
Frankfurt - Germany
2004 (travelling exhibition)
Africa Remix
Art contemporain d’un continent
24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004
Museum Kunst Palast
Düsseldorf - Germany
10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005
Hayward Gallery
London – England
15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005
Centre Georges Pompidou
Paris – France
Feb – May 2006
Mori Art Museum
Lyon Biennal for Contemporary Art
Lyon, France.
Die ver-rückten Stücke
Stiftung für Eisenplastik
Zurich, Switzerland.

7. Triennale der Kleinplastik
Stuttgart, Germany.

Selected bibliography

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.

Africa Remix
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz.

Exhibition catalogue.
Lyon Biennal for Contemporary Art, France.

7. Triennale der Kleinplastik
Exhibition catalogue. Abu bakarr Mansaray by J. Soulillou.
Text in German p.176-177.
Stuttgart, Germany.

Contemporary Art of Africa, p.164-167.
Text by Jacques Soulillou.
Edited by André Magnin and Jacques Soulillou.
Publisher Harry N. Abraams.

Last update : 07/24/2007

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