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404 Art Collection opens, “The Revealer”, featuring works by late Ivorian artist Frédéric Bouabré

‘The Revealer’ | Art Life Gallery

20 Oct – 10 Dec, 2023 | Miami, USA

404 Art Collection launches curatorial project “The Revealer”, the first exhibition in Miami of the late Ivorian artist Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (1923-2014), in collaboration with the artist family and The General Consulate of Ivory Coast in NYC, featuring more than 120 drawings from the artist estate, at ArtLife Gallery.

This exhibition explores, Bruly's unique visual language, which he developed after he experienced a transcendental vision on March 11th 1948, on the way to his job as a government clerk; “The sky opened up; seven suns danced around a central star”; and he was inspired to adopt a new name (Cheik Nadro, “the Revealer”) and devoted his life to the artistic expression of the knowledge of the world and continued honoring his West African traditions.

His works were created using humble materials such as cardboard, colored pencils, and ballpoint pens, these unassuming yet captivating drawings serve as an immersive journey into the realm of everyday life, offering a profound exploration of daily routines, and an investigation into cultural facets, including themes like equality and global understanding. During his four decade long career, he created multiple series, including : “Alphabet Bété”, which was the invention of the first writing system for the Bété people, an ethnic group in present-day Ivory Coast, to which he belonged.

As well as the series “Museum of African Faces”, consisting of researching body markings (scarifications) and recording the bodily cuts and scratches he came across, and translating them into graphic form, this series is included on this exhibition, and his most extensive series “Knowledge of the World”, exploring a common human story and everyday activities, a part of this series would be featured on this exhibition.

Each series symbolizes his deep-rooted connection to his heritage and his commitment to preserving its cultural essence.

Some of the milestones in his career include, becoming the second black artist from Africa to have a solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City (MoMa), his works have also been included in exhibitions at The Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, The 55th Venice Biennale, and The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, among others.

The revealer - Frederic Burly Bouabre, Gallery view |  Courtesy of 404 Art Collection
The revealer - Frederic Burly Bouabre, Gallery view | Courtesy of 404 Art Collection



Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, also known as Cheik Nadro ( Zépréguhé, Ivory Coast, March 11, 1923 - January 28, 2014)

Bouabré was born in Zépréguhé, a self-taught artist, not only known for his visual creation, but also thanks to his contributions to other cultural fields, such as poetry, philosophy, and essay writing.

He not only undertook a philosophical research into African reality and the meaning of life, he started to transfer his thoughts to hundreds of small drawings in postcard format, using a ballpoint pen and color pencils. These drawings, gathered under the title of Connaissance du Monde (World Knowledge) , form an encyclopedia of universal knowledge and experience.

Creator of the writing system for his etcnic group Bété people, Alphabet Bété, an alphabet made up of 448 monosyllabic pictograms, intended to establish a connection between the European and African cultures. For Bruly, his drawings were a representation of everything that is revealed or concealed — signs, divine thoughts, dreams, myths, the sciences, traditions — and he viewed his role as an artist as a redemptive calling, Searching for a way to preserve and transmit the knowledge of the Bété people and of the world.

His work reached international recognizition at the exhibition “Magiciens de la Terre” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France in 1989, an exhibition that opened the doors to African artists.

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404 Art Collection opens, “The Revealer”, featuring works by late Ivorian artist Frédéric Bouabré

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