FEMINISTIC ART, CREATIVE TRANSITION AND POLITICS: MEET BURKINABE SCULPTOR OUEDRAGO BOUREMAI

 

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Burkinabe artist Ouedraogo Bouremai. Photo credit: kwame aidoo

kw: Hi, what’s up?

OB: Good. I go by the name Ouedraogo Bouremai. I am an artist, modelist and sculptor. I use wood sometimes but the main material of choice for me is bronze. I want my work to be easily accessible, that’s why I have my office here(at the forefront of L’Atelier Théâtre Burkinabé (ATB) or The Burkinabe Theatre Workshop (ATB)- a theatrical structure that has been involved in research, development and production of art, shows and typical African theatrical approaches mainly based on participation, with the purpose to contribute through artistic expression to the awakening of consciences, for behavioral change and participatory development for the past 32 years (since June 18, 1978)). This same space happens to be the exact spot for my artistic thinking process and fabrication of the art pieces you see on sale, as well as the space for micro exhibitions.

kw: That’s interesting. How many years have you been in this business?

OB: It’s been 14 years. I never studied in an art school. I only followed some school of thought concerning my practice through research and I’ve been very observant. I started under a mentor called Fiavre. He taught me what I needed to know in a year. around that time, I was as well into theatre and I made mud cloth during my free time.

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kw: How do you find inspiration:

OB: I find it everywhere around me. Even this conversation might be  a source of inspiration. I can make a sculpture of a man with a recorder or anything else.

kw: What informs your choice of materials for your creative process?

OB: The properties of the materials and the energies of transformation from one state to the other to achieve the final product is a powerful ‘message’ for the artist. It feels as if the materials ‘talk’ to me.

kw: What about the political state of your nation? Has it affected your work?

OB: All the unfolding political and social events have contributed to my work one way or the other. I’ve been really inspired by Sankara’s position and fight for the emancipation of women. Some of my sculptures identify symbolically and strongly in the line of fighting for the rights of women.

kw: What message would you deliver to the youth or those interested in art?

OB: I would advise those interested in this art form or any art form for that matter to live their art. The prime and most important thing is to have passion in one’s field and not necessarily be wooed with money. Pleasure for the work should come before love for money.  People notice the difference easily and would rather pay for talent than anything else when they are convinced enough. I personally do not take any days off. I always keep busy with work, even when I’m sleeping I sometimes dream up ideas.

kw: Have you exhibited your work elsewhere?

OB: France, Belgium and Germany. It is nice to see other people’s perspectives and creations. It helps a lot.

kw: How much do your pieces cost?

OB: Sculptures range between 30,000 and 1,000,000 CFA. It depends on the size. Sometimes my mood affects things also.

kw: Do you see a distinct connection between art and Africa’s future?

OB: Yes. art is the future of Africa. I don’t know why people are seeking for a future over there, even though we have everything here.

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Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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