June 28, 2011 - RAW MATERIAL COMPANY - Ibrahima Kebe
June 28, 2011

Ibrahima Kebe

Ibrahima Kébé, “Conseil de famille” (familly meeting), 2011.
Acrylic on canvas, 46x60cm.
Photo by Mamadou Gomis.
Courtesy the artist.

Ibrahima Kébé
28 June–7 September 2011

Raw Material Company
4074 bis Sicap Amitié 2
Dakar, Senegal
(+221) 33 864 0248
info [​at​] rawmaterialcompany.org

Gallery hours:
Tuesday–Saturday from 10am–8pm


Ibrahima Kébé fills the exhibition space at Raw Material Company with his first solo show in a decade. The exhibition presents his most recent creative output in painting and drawing. His work is known for its instinctive, playful, yet provocative and radical character. The exhibition features twenty paintings complemented with twenty-five drawings.

Ecole de Dakar
Along with painters such as Ibou Diouf and Serigne Mbaye Camara, Kébé represents a generation of artists working in the tradition of l’Ecole de Dakar. This tradition was instrumental in establishing recognition for an artistic practice with an academic background for a wide range of African artists educated at Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Dakar from the sixties through the eighties.

Depicting mainly everyday life with a particular emphasis on women, family and community in the genre of portraiture and scenery, and using flat figurative and graphic shapes as a signature style, Kébé’s work is however in contrast with the structural parallellism and abstraction that is predominant in that artistic tradition. And this is where lies his radicality within a local as well as an international context that has neglected figuration in contemporary art practice. The characters in his compositions go to the essence of expression with strength, determination and beauty. He captures the fate of daily life in Dakar in a seemingly naive fashion while exposing its anomalies and monstruosities as a politicized social and cultural criticism.

The corpus of works in the exhibition represents what has been at the heart of Kébé’s concerns in recent years: the relationship between men and women in an environment that generally denies freedom of choice as well as tends to ignore sentimental desires as a valid basis for partnership. Like no other artist in Senegal, Kébé masters the technique of suggestive figuration. Characters are set in attitudes through which their emotions are minimally sketched. The concentration of the expression is put in the gaze that conjures to the work an unusually captivating and enchanting force.

His paintings and drawings are sophisticated, and appealing in their depth and directness. Particular to Kébé’s work is, however, his color palette. The use of bold red, yellow, blue, orange and green confers to his works a sensual visuality that could be read as the reflection of the exuberance of the streets of Dakar. Colors are chosen spontaneously and thickly spread on the canvas. Characters are cut in the body of the color thus attributing to it a role that goes beyond aesthetic form. The color becomes character itself, and in this way bears meaning on the base of which the work is grounded.

The exhibition comes with a fully illustrated newspaper including texts by critic and art historian Prof. Abdou Sylla and curator Koyo Kouoh. The accompanying educational program includes a discussion between the artist and Prof. Abdou Sylla on June 30 2011 at 6pm and a guided tour on July 15 2011 at 6pm.

Ibrahima Kébé
Born in Kaolack (Senegal) in 1955, Senegalese artist Ibrahima Kébé is one of the most prominent artist of his generation. His oeuvre spans over thirty years of practice. He studied fine art at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Dakar from 1976 to 1979. He has exhibited extensively in group and solo shows among others at Schedhalle in Zurich, Musée du Palais des Beaux Arts in Charleroi, the Dakar Biennale and the National Gallery in Dakar. Apart from his studio practice, Kébé has worked as art educator in various institutions in Senegal and abroad. His work is included in a number of private collections as well as the State Collection of Senegal. He lives and works in Dakar.

Raw Material Company is a not for profit center for art, knowledge and society. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, commissioning, knowledge sharing, and archiving of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa. The underlying rationale of its program is a firm belief in visual arts as a potent tool capable of shifting perspectives, and to ignite engagement for art practice as a viable path for social and political transformation. The program is transdisciplinary and is equally informed by urbanity, literature, film, architecture, politics, fashion, cuisine, and diasporas.

Raw Material Company is supported by its income generating activities, private donors and Arts Collaboratory.

Ibrahima Kebe
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