Armand Boua Abidjan, Ivory Coast, b. 1978

Armand Boua lives and works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He illustrates his works based on the lives of street kids who testify to the violence and political struggles in West Africa. He wants to show the lives of these street children in a way that not so many people can relate to. Working in Abidjan, the economic capital at the crossroads of urbanisation and industrialisation, Boua experiences the Ivorian landscape with heightened sensitivity. His observations of children are drawn largely from street scenes where urban migrations create ethnic, linguistic, cultural and social entanglements that have come to enrich and problematize the region in equal measure. Children abduction in Ivory Coast remains a chilling real issue with myths of human sacrifices and other rituals fulling the market for organs of the young, who also fall victim to sex trafficking, illegal adoption rings and plantation labour.

 

Boua's subjects could be victims of such exploitation, or symbols of hope and innocence. The severity of this crisis foreshadows the practice of the street-based artist, who sees the atrocities of man echoed in everyday life and gives them shape through painting and emotive movements. Having studied in the National School of Fine Arts and the Technical Centre for Applied Arts both in Abidjan, he immersed himself deeply in the artistic world, depicting the real issues of the young volatile children. His principle is one born out of an engagement with found material, to which he applies his signature forms that invoke images and scenes in remembrance. Boua is noted for his textured and layered compositions, using tar and acrylic on found cardboard boxes. Each layer is applied and then scrubbed and stripped back, leaving abstract forms that come in and out of focus. He achieves a careful balance between his heavy gestures and violent execution and the gentle treatment of his subject matter.

 

"I wanted to show their suffering, their way of life, so that people are finally aware of this painful reality they pretend not to see."