Mansaray, Abu Bakarr
Born in 1970 in Tongo, Sierra Leone
Lives and works in Harlingen, the Netherlands
After leaving school in 1987, Abu Bakarr Mansaray settled in Freetown where he became a dedicated autodidact, interested in practical science and engineering, which subsequently influenced his artistic process. He revived a technique popular in Central Africa of manufacturing decorative objects and toys out of wire and iron. Increasingly, he became more adept at drawing plans for futuristic machines, forming contraptions that could produce fire, light, air, water, cold, motion and sound. Mansaray once proclaimed, “I am an artist making creations without limitation.” The tumultuous economic, political and social status in Sierra Leone, a nation drained by civil war, has irrevocably shaped Mansaray’s imagination. In 1998, he managed to escape his country however, his work continues to bear witness to the atrocities 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). Notably, Mansaray’s work has featured in the touring exhibition Africa Remix, which started in 2004, under the artist direction of Simon Njami, and Why Africa, at Picocateca Agnelli, Torino (2008).
Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Julumbu, 2018, Ink, coloured pencil, pencil on paper, 80 x 120 cm, 31 1/2 x 47 1/4 in, Courtesy of The Gallery of Everything