This exhibit—with a title that combines two words, MAN [Man, but primarily the town] and SONGE [Dream]—presents new, previously unshown, works by three young painters and visual artists who aim to redefine the Ivorian art scene. The scene is hot, no doubt, but has also come a long way from Côte d’Ivoire’s modernist movements, including “VOHOU VOHOU,” with its esthetic of rupture, the ephemeral “TRACES” or, most notably, “DARO DARO,” which sounded a victorious rallying cry in the Odjukru language.
The visual techniques of the three artists—Sess ESOH, Ange-Arthur KOUA, and Albéric KOUASSI—explore new paths in the on-going search for identity that is the proper of all creative visual works. MANsonge is thus the portmanteau that expresses the quest shared by these three artists, brought together here in this masterful exploration of our cultural memory.
MAN refers to the city in western Côte d’Ivoire, the capital of the region of Tonkpi, a major cultural center whose masks and unique statuary have exercised great influence in the Western Art tradition, notably in German Expressionism, Surrealism, and Cubism.
SONGE evokes the reality of the spiritual, the dream of exploring the unknown, epitomized in our Ancestral Art, which explored the world of animal spirits and has come to be known as “art nègre” [“Black Art”].