Frédéric Bruly Bouabré was born in 1923 in Zépréguhé, Ivory Coast. He was among the first Ivorians to be educated by the French colonial Government and also learnt French. The origin of his work is found in a revelation through an experience he had on 11th March 1948: he had a vision in which he saw seven colored suns in the sky. It led him to the conclusion that his presence on earth was prophetic and decided to call himself “Cheik Nadro”, which means “the one who never forgets”. Since then, he created several drawings which are part of a large cycle called ‘World Knowledge’. He created a 448 letters alphabet called the “The Universal Bété syllabary”. Bouabré always thought that African people deeply desired to learn but that they required a new African and universal language to comprehend all these knowledge. He passed away in January 2014. The origin of all of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré’s work stems from a revelatory experience: on March 11, 1948, “the heavens opened up before my eyes and seven colorful suns described a circle of beauty around their Mother-Sun, I became Cheik Nadro: ‘He who does not forget.’” From then on he tackled every field of knowledge and collected his research in manuscripts about arts and traditions, poetry, tales, religion, esthetics, and philosophy, revealing himself to be an astonishing thinker, poet, encyclopedist, creator. Searching for a way to preserve and transmit the knowledge of the Bété people, as well as the knowledge of the entire world, he invented an alphabet of 448 monosyllabic pictograms to represent phonetic syllables. This endeavor earned Bouabré the legendary reputation of being another Champollion, in reference to the great scholar and linguist Jean-Paul Champollion (1790-1832), who discovered the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs.
The Solo Project Art Fair – Basel / Magnin-A, St Jakobshalle / Basel, Switzerland, 2013; Il Palazzo Enciclopedico / 55th Venice Biennale 55th in den Giardini – Arsenal, kuratiert von Massimiliano Gioni / Venedig, Italy, 2013; Art Paris Art Fair 2013 / Magnin-A, Grand Palais / Paris, France, 2013; Art Brussels, 31th Contemporary Art Fair / Brüssel, Belgium, 2012; The Imminence of Poetics / Sao Paulo Biennale, 30th edition / Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2012; Drawing Now Paris / Magnin-A / Carrousel du Louvre / Paris, France, 2012; Riad Al Maaden/ Marrakesch, Morocco; 2011; Le Monde vous appartient / Palazzo Grassi / François Pinault Foundation/ Venedig, Italy, 2011; ArtParis, Just art! / Grand-Palais / Paris, France, 2011; Frédéric Bruly Bouabré at Tate Modern/ Tate Modern/ London, UK; 2010; African Stories/ Ancienne Banque du Maroc/ Marrakesch, Morokko; 2010; Bon Séjour, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré/ Gallery Du Jour Agnès b./ Paris, Frankreich, 2010; ARTPARIS+GUESTS. André Magnin & Leridon Collection/ Grand-Palais/ Paris, Frankreich, 2010; Africa Arte Contemporanea/ JZ Art Gallery/ Meiland, Italy, 2009; Africa? Una nuova storia/ Complesso del Vittoriano/ Rome, Italy, 2009; Against Exclusion/ 3e Biennale d’Art Contemporain/ The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture/ Moskau/ Russland, 2009; Why Africa? / La collezione Pigozzi, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli / Turin, Italy; 2007/2008; Frédéric Bruly Bouabré. La Haute Diplomatie / Ikon Gallery / Birmingham, UK, 2007; 100% Africa / Guggenheim Museum / Bilbao, Spain, 2006; De ida y vuelta. África / La Casa Encendida / Madrid, Spain, 2006; Dak’art 2006/ Biennale for contemporary Africian art/ Dakar, Senegal, 2006; African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection / Museum of Fine Arts / Houston, U.S.A, 2005; Arts of Africa, The Contemporary collection of Jean Pigozzi / Grimaldi Forum / Monaco, 2005; Africa Remix-Museum Kunst Palast / Düsseldorf, Germany; Hayward Gallery / London, UK; Centre Georges Pompidou / Paris, Frankreich; Mori Art Museum /Tokyo, Japan; Johannesburg Art Gallery / Johannesburg, South Africa, 2004/2007
Bouabré, Frédéric Bruly, André Magnin, Yaya Savané and Denis Escudier, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Éditions Xavier Barral, Paris, 2013; Lombardi, Sarah, "Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: Self-Taught Encyclopaedist," Raw Vision, No. 69, Fall 2010; Dorment, Richard, "Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: A childlike world of goodness and colour," The Telegraph, London, September 4, 2007; Why Africa?, exhibition catalogue, Electa & Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, 2007; Arts of Africa: The Contemporary Collection of Jean Pigozzi, exhibition catalogue, Skira & Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, 2005; Magnin, André and Jacques Soulilou, Contemporary Art of Africa, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1996; Cooke, Lynne and André Magnin, Worlds Envisioned, exhibition catalogue, DIA Center for the Arts, New York, 1995; Africa Now, exhibition catalogue, Atlantic Center of Modern Art, Las Palmas, 1991.
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About Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
Ivorian, 1923-2014, Zéprégüé, Côte d’Ivoire, based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire