Fofana, Aboubakar
Born 1967 in Bamako, Mali
Lives and works between France and Mali
Aboubakar Fofana is dedicated to exploring and preserving the traditions of fermenting indigo dye practiced throughout West Africa. Returning to his native Mali after training in calligraphy, Fofana remembered a plant he had seen as a child whose green leaves, when crushed, stained the fingers blue. He embarked on a journey through the region in hope of finding anybody who could train him, but the skill had been replaced by chemical dyestuff. The artist then used colonial-era ethnographic texts recounting the fermentation process to launch his practice and revive this art. Selected recent group shows include Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York (2018); documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); Cloth and Clay – Musing on Land and Material Culture, Kim Sacks Gallery, Johannesburg (2012).
Aboubakar Fofana, ye bolo ni Muso bolo (Harmony), 2018, From the series, Symphony of Untold History, Hand-sewn linen and fermented vegetable indigo dye, 117 x 436 cm. Courtesy VOICE gallery