With his strange figures, Méderic Turay paints the African dream.

Out of Africa Gallery
Jan 17, 2018 6:34PM

It is difficult to forget the colourful drawings which decorated the trains and tramways of Rabat (Morocco) in April 2017 during the cultural event “Africa in Capital”. After his exhibition in December 2017/January 2018 organized by Galerie 38 in Marrakech, Mederic Turay returns to Spain to present his new exhibition “African Dandy” in Out of Africa Gallery from March 10th through April 15th in Sitges (Barcelona).

In his previous exhibitions, strange figures filled his paintings and sculptures. The faces of these figures recall African masks as Turay’s style is influenced by other cultures and alternates between impressionism, cubism and graffiti.

Beneath his look of a rapper, which is perhaps linked to his first career as a singer, Turay is really a poet at heart, one who followed a classical education in art.  He is inspired by great painters such as Picasso and Basquiat and in his latest works, you can detect the Mona Lisa, Venus or the Ginga queen, revisited in the eccentricity of Turay.  

Like Basquiat, Turay lived in the US before returning to Abidjan and becoming one of the most recognized artists of his generation.

Never satisfied, this 38-year-old artist is in constant search of the perfect expression of his style, which he calls “Trace”, named for the cultural mix reflected in his work. Although he aims to be a contemporary artist, Turay isn’t limited by any artistic trend. For him, art is experimental. To give life to his figures, he doesn’t just paint, he assembles and cuts and pastes.  For 7 years, the artist has used coffee grounds in his work, a nod to his country of origin, the Ivory Coast, one of the largest coffee producers in the world.

Today, Méderic’s work hasn’t gone unrecognized and attracts collectors from all over the world. For “African Dandy”, Méderic Turay felt free to express himself with colour.

The exhibition “African Dandy” will be a festival of colours of happy dandy African people, like Turay himself. For the artist, African youth have to be able to take chances, to change and develop Africa. An engaged youth will do what is necessary to make a paradise in Africa.   Currently, Méderic Turay is living and working in Morocco. For him, Morocco is essential. It’s a true crossroads of different cultures and civilizations.  Historically, the number of well-known artists who passed through Morocco is important and greatly inspires him.  

Music was Méderic Turay’s first passion. As a teenager living in the US, he followed all that was related to hip-hop and other similar kinds of music. At the same time, he developed an attraction to the visual arts. With time his interest in the visual arts overtook his interest in music.

His inspirations are his daily life, the news and his immediate environment. All that he sees around him inspires his work. His personal life influences his work, too. He tries to transmit his emotions in his creations. Africa inspires him enormously: the colours, the atmosphere around him… There are also many artists who inspire Méderic Turay, among others, Fadairo, El Anatsui, Léonard De Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Basquiat and Francis Bacon.

His adolescence in the US had a major influence on his work. It helped him to have a more open mind, to develop his art and to make the contacts that would help him along the way. This cultural mix, including his American influences and his African roots, is a combination of Western modernity and African tradition. The African note can be seen from afar. People feel it directly. He can create a Mona Lisa with the soul of an African. When he works on his faces, he creates them like masks. The tribal side, the “Art Brut” is one of his components.  

Important for Méderic Turay is to leave a trace so that he can inspire the next generation of artists to develop contemporary art and its mentalities. He wants to be part of a generation of contemporary African artists who has his say and to be a part of the tapestry which is the international art market. It is the result of teamwork because he has always been helped and encouraged by people, friends, galleries and collectors.  

His figures don’t have specific identities, they don’t have nationalities. They express a global theme, but they remain without identity. His hope is that people will identify with his figures and feel more involved in the history that the masks and figures represent.

New solo exhibition, “African Dandy” in Out of Africa Gallery from March 10th until April 15th in Sitges (Barcelona).

Sorella Acosta - Director - Out of Africa Gallery - Sitges – Barcelona - Spain  

Méderic Turay - Réunion de la Sape au Village - 2018 - 200x200cm - Acrylic and oil pastels on canvas

Méderic Turay - African Dandy - 2018 - 200x200cm - Acrylic and oil pastels on canvas

Méderic Turay - Les fruits de Korotoumou - 2017 - 150cm h x 100cm W - Acrylic and oil pastels on canvas

Méderic Turay - Dandy in Nature - 2018 - 200cm H x 150cm W - Acrylic and oil pastels on canvas

Out of Africa Gallery