Laurent Ilboudo

Like most artists from Burkina Faso Laurent Ilboudo is a self-taught man. He learned the “trade” from a number of settled artists, including his uncle Sama and the artist Fernand Nonkouni. The latter inspired him to use strong abstract forms and bright colours. Now he also gets his professional knowledge and ideas from cultural exchange projects and workshops in West-Africa and in Europe.

Together with a number of friends Laurent has his own workshop in the centre of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Life in the bustling city is an important source of inspiration for him. He works quickly and on a large scale, using abstract signs as symbols for his difficult youth and the color red to suggest both the pain of that time and the dynamics of surviving in a city like Ouagadougou. Increasingly in his work there is the search for nature and the roots of Africa.Laurent Ilboudo’s works have been exhibited in various West-African cities as well as in Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen, and this fall in Amsterdam and Groenlo in The Netherlands.

“I come from a (Mossi) family of artists. My mother is a master of the traditional bogolan paint technique and uses symbols of the Dogon as motifs. After taking drawing lessons at the French cultural centre in Ouagadougou, I started to paint. I am an artist who is in contact with animals, who likes animals and who regards them as human beings. On my body I have as a tattoo the symbol of a bird, which was drawn by my grandfather (during my initiation). It appears on many of my paintings. I am a painter of the street. I had a difficult youth and grew up with violence in my family, due to quarrels between my father and mother. I often use the color red to express my family pains. I, child of the desert, use natural pigments on my canvasses that always represent the desert for me. Man is free on earth and earth belongs to man and man learns always to live on earth.”

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