After leaving school in 1987, Abu Bakarr Mansaray settled in Freetown, where he became a voracious autodidact, studying all aspects of practical science and engineering.
Mansaray revived a technique especially popular in central Africa of manufacturing decorative objects or toys out of wire and iron. But the artist applied an extreme form of this technique to build futuristic machines for extravagant purposes, creating contraptions that could produce fire, light, air, water, cold, motion, and sound. Abu Bakarr Mansaray’s preparatory drawings also stand as independent artworks. These studies consist
of detailed calculations, sketches, diagrams, and commentaries executed in pencil, ballpoint pen, and crayons. No doubt the economic, political and social situation in Sierra Leone, a country where civil war has drained the country, has shaped Mansaray’s imagination and inspiration. In 1998 he managed to escape Sierra Leone under extremely difficult circumstances, and spent several years in the Netherlands; however, his work continues to bear witness to the horrors of war.
Mansaray’s works featured in Art / Afrique: le nouvel atelier, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017); Regarding Africa: Contemporary Art and Afro-Futurism, Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2016) and the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).