Retro Africa is pleased to present From Mali with Love, A Group Contemporary Art Exhibition featuring Abdoulaye Konaté, Amadou Sanogo And Ouologuem Abdou. Curated by Dolly Kola-Balogun, the exhibition is on view from May 12th – July 14th at Retro Africa Gallery, Abuja, Nigeria. This 2023 opening show features paintings and installations by three Malian contemporary art masters.
"From Mali, With Love" is a sonnet of affection penned by curator Dolly Kola-Balogun, an ode to a land that nurtured her sensibilities from childhood and the revelations gathered through her journeys in curatorial research. It is a lyrical journey that unfolds the essential truths that underpin Africa's pursuit of excellence.
In this exhibition youwill encounter Ouloguem's brushstrokes on jute that paint a profound message, one that questions humanity's comprehension of divinity. The crucifix, along with the portrayal of God and his people, highlights the misunderstanding of the divine role and identity. Arabic writings cast shadows, intertwining thick West African strokes with curved Maghrebi calligraphy. Through this literary combination, Ouologuem captures the quintessence of Mali's cultural heritage that has withstood the test of time. Sanogo's art exudes an enigmatic aura, replete with symbols that address political complacency, ignorance, and avarice, all the while utilizing abstract and figurative aesthetics, and infused with humor. His paintings are a personal voyage that reflects his roots in Mali, as well as the country's history. In his colossal creations, Konaté weaves textile masterpieces that evoke the Sahel's memory, from antiquity to the contemporary. Through his art, he explores the socio-economic and political terrain of modern-day Mali, all while preserving the country's traditions.
Mali's significance as a mythical cradle of humanity goes beyond its ancient cities and ruins. The country is also home to some of the most unique and diverse cultures on the continent. From the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara to the Dogon people of the Bandiagara Escarpment, Mali is a melting pot of different traditions and ways of life. The country's music and art traditions are also celebrated around the world, from the bluesy melodies of Ali Farka Touré to the vibrant, colorful paintings of Amadou Sanogo. Today, as we grapple with the challenges of the modern world, Mali offers us guidance and inspiration. It reminds us of the resilience and creativity of the human spirit, even in the face of adversity. It shows us the transformative power of culture and tradition, and the importance of preserving heritage for future generations. And it reminds us of our shared history and the inter-connectedness of our world.
Retro Africa Founder Dolly Kola-Balogun, states: “Through this exhibition, I choose to honour Mali through this exhibition titled “From Mali, With Love,” a love that extends far beyond its borders. The artists that I worked with, including Abdoulaye Konaté, Abdou Ouologuem, and Amadou Sanogo, were pivotal in my curatorial development and remain an integral part of my practice. Their works explore identity, civilisation, and social justice, reminding me of the crucial art plays in storytelling and preserving our history. Culture is not merely decorative, but a living and breathing entity that connects us to our past, defines our present, and molds our future."