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Biography of Iba NDIAYE

Senegal > Arts : Iba NDIAYE

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Biography :

Iba N'Diaye (b.1928 -in Senegal , died  October 4, 2008 in France  ),was  a Senegalese artist.

Iba N'Diaye was born in 1928 in Saint Louis, Senegal, which, like all port towns, is a place where many races and cultures meet. At the age of fifteen, when he was a student at the Lycée Faidherbe, he painted film posters for the town's two cinemas. This early familiarity with cinematographic images would eventually influence his painting techniques.

By 1949 he was living in Paris, where he studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and frequented the city's jazz clubs. But it is the sculptor Zadkine to whom he owes his discovery of traditional African sculpture. Soon he began to travel around Europe, visiting art museums with his pencil and sketchbook in hand.

However, he did not forget his native country, and it was Senegal's independence that led him to return home in 1959. He enthusiastically accepted an invitation to participate in the creation of the Ecole des Arts du Senegal, where his first personal exhibition was held in 1962, and where he remained as a teacher until 1966.

With the goal of asserting a "black identity", the organizers of the Contemporary Art Exhibition at the first "Festival des Arts Negres" (Dakar, 1966) favored the Primitivist movement, which Iba N'Diaye had tried in vain to oppose. Once again, he realized that it was preferable for him to leave his native country. It was in Paris, at his studio in the "Atelier de la Ruche", as well as at his country home in the Dordogne in southwestern France, that Iba N'Diaye began his series of 10 oil paintings on the theme of "Tabaski" (the ritual sacrifice of a lamb). These paintings were exhibited in France in 1970 at the Sarlat Festival, and again in 1974 at the Maison de la Culture in Amiens.

In 1981, Iba N'Diaye showed his work in New York for the first time. The catalogue accompanying this exhibition, which concentrated on the theme of jazz, contains a preface written by Lowery Sims, then curator of the Modern Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 1987, the Museum für Völkerkunde in Munich organized the first major retrospective of Iba N'Diaye's works in Europe. This exhibit then traveled to the Africa Museum of Berg en Dal in Holland in 1989, and to the Tampere Museum of Modern Art in Finland in 1990.

Iba N'Diaye's temporary move to a studio in the Montmartre area of Paris, and his travels back and forth between the Dordogne region in southwestern France and the 15th arrondissement of Paris, could have distanced him from his native Africa, but instead led to a resurgence of memories of his childhood and adolescence.

In 1996, the Museum Paleis Lange Voorhout in The Hague hosted "Iba N'Diaye: Painter between Continents", an exhibition organized by Franz Kaiser, head curator at the Gemmentemuseum, also in The Hague. This show presented significant works illustrating N'Diaye's Thematic Series, which developed over the forty-year career of an artist who is a model of tenacity.

In January, 2000, Iba N'Diaye began the new millennium with an exhibition in Saint Louis, his birthplace, which he had left fifty years earlier. This show illustrated his objective: to succeed in constructing a personal and authentic style of painting that bridges the continents and draws on the rich reservoir of global culture.

"To paint, for me, was to discover what others did before learning, and to understand the language of the profession I was entering." - Iba N'Diaye, 2002.

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Last update : 10/12/2008

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