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Armand Boua highlights the struggles of Abidjan’s street children

Armand Boua, Manawa II, 2024. Mixed media on canvas, 207 x 150cm. Courtesy of the artist and OOA Gallery.

OOA GALLERY is delighted to present the highly anticipated solo exhibition of Armand Boua, titled ‘Manawa’, running from May 18th to June 30th. This groundbreaking exhibition showcases Boua’s exceptional talent and offers a profound exploration of the lives of marginalised youth colloquially known as ‘Manawa’ in Abidjan.

Armand Boua, born in Abidjan in 1978, is a distinguished artist whose career has spanned domestic and international acclaim. With a background in fine arts from the National School of Fine Arts of Abidjan and the Technical Center of Applied Arts in Bingerville, Boua has emerged as a prominent figure in the contemporary art scene.

‘Manawa’ comprises a collection of 14 mixed-media artworks, each offering a unique perspective on the lives of the homeless children portrayed. Through his expressive brushstrokes and innovative techniques, Boua sheds light on the struggles and triumphs of the ‘Manawa’ community, a term derived from the French word “manœuvre,” signifying young labourers in urban environments.

Boua’s artistic journey has been marked by numerous solo and collective exhibitions worldwide, including prestigious venues such as the Jack Bell Gallery (London), Ethan Cohen Gallery (New York), Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Dakar and Paris), the Dakar, the Venice Biennale and the Montresso Foundation (Morocco). His work has been featured in renowned collections across the globe, attesting to his status as a leading contemporary artist.

A master of his craft, Boua’s technique combines painting on cardboard with acrylic, followed by scraping, tearing, and repainting, resulting in textured and visually captivating artworks. His urban-inspired aesthetic reflects the resilience and vitality of the human spirit while inviting viewers to contemplate the unseen struggles of marginalised communities.

‘Manawa’ transcends traditional categorisations, blending elements of figuration and abstraction to create a visual language that resonates with viewers profoundly. Boua’s artwork challenges societal norms and prompts reflection on social justice and human dignity issues.

In his compelling series of works, Boua explores the realities faced by street children and marginalised individuals, inviting viewers to confront their perceptions and biases. Boua captures the fervour and adversity of labour through bold colours and abstract imagery, eliciting empathy and introspection from his audience.

Sylvain Sankalé, an esteemed art writer, art collector, and President of Dak’Art 2000, reflects on Boua’s artistic significance: “Armand Boua’s ‘Manawa’ exhibition offers a transformative journey into the lives of marginalised communities. His artwork challenges us to confront our own moral culpability and inspires us to take action.”

The opening reception for ‘Manawa’ will take place on Saturday, May 18th, at 8 p.m. at OOA GALLERY in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain.

Armand Boua’s ‘Manawa’ exhibition promises to be a thought-provoking and immersive experience. It invites viewers to engage with the artist’s powerful narrative and explore the complexities of the human condition.

For more information, please visit OOA Gallery.

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