Adama Abib Coulibaly artist statement
B. 1995, Katiola city, Cote D’Ivoire
Lives and work in New York, NY
The path out of darkness is light, and mine is lit with color. I find comfort in vibrancy, and I crave the control found in geometric order. The contrast within my art is representative of a split in my life; difficult childhood years are the base layer of support for my more recent, positive experiences. The positive experiences only manifested after I found an outlet through creativity. My art is an autobiography. I hope it tells my story, but more importantly, that it brings a sense of calm to the viewer, like the process of creating it does for me.
I am 22 years old, and a student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Before moving to the United States -before arriving in NYC, with its vim and color — I was raised in the Ivory Coast where life was harsh. I had no control in my life. I suffered during conflict, and though the Ivory Coast is still a part of me, I shed a little bit of those memories through each celebration of color and order I create. As a child, I experienced great darkness. I was never able to relax, and so it was difficult to enjoy my childhood. Sometimes it felt like I was unable to breathe. The Breathing Heart — just one example in a growing canon- expresses love, calm, and adventure, those aspects of life that were missing when I was a boy, and a reminder that I became a piece of color in the darkness. But my work isn’t about me but to what I came across
Primarily, my portfolio consists of colorful geometric patterns on a black background. I am now completing large scale oil paintings in this style. The dark background is representative of my childhood in the Ivory Coast: dark, brutal, abusive, traumatic. It is overlaid by patterns of ordered color that exhibit the positivity I felt after arriving in the United States. It represents the moment when love and gratitude flooded my heart like a rushing tide of water. It represents this place, where after witnessing devastation, I was finally able to breathe, and to express myself through my art. Expression, to me, is exhalation.
Some of my art has been commissioned by various parties and organizations. In 2015, I donated a piece entitled ‘Love & Leadership’ to the International Rescue Committee, an organization that provides support in the Ivory Coast. Other pieces have been exhibited or purchased by artists and organizations. Most recently, graphic design firm That’s Nice — located in NYC — exhibited a selection of work from my portfolio.
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