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artist essoh sess, cote d’Ivoire: the man and his words

the man and his words

by Yannick Effoumy, Cote d’Ivoire

Artist Sess Essoh’s recent exhibition Un Genre D’histoire showcased this past August at Sofitel Hotel Ivoire Gallery in Abidjan was a pivotal point is Sess’ career.  A Type of History, the English translation is an imaginary tale by the artist according to his vision of an ideal and fantasy world. It’s a medium for the artist to present the fruit of his work and creative maturity since his last exhibition in Cite des Arts last January. The exhibition will close October 13, 2017.

Sess is a visual artist born in 1988 in Dabou. He graduated from the Mural Arts Workshop of the National School of Fine Arts of Abidjan in 2012. Currently, he lives and works between Abidjan, Dabou, and Bingerville. Skillful with words and inspired by his surroundings; he is also passionate about music and history. Underneath his “bad boy” looks, the artist hides an incredible gift that he keeps perfecting by continuously evolving with his style. Constantly reaching for a perfect freedom of speech, he separated himself early on away from the traditional mountings to explore less usual ones. When Sess creates, the world around doesn’t exist.  He sketches with chalk on dark materials. His paint sometimes is white, red or golden can be seen on plastic or textile materials to reveal the free expression of his being. His techniques are as diverse as the materials he uses, which gives his pieces a unique touch.

At the beginning of his career, Sess participated to collective exhibitions like Abidjanon Dit Quoi.  Believing in an educational form of art, the artist has shown at Lebasquiat Gallery.  Sess continues to enlarge his constructive vision of street arts in several collective and interactive projects. In 2015, he collaborated with other equally passionate artists to found the group Yes Grafitti. Yes Grafitti conducts powerful socio-cultural actions at MACA Correctional Center to assist adolescent and teenage prisoners, by promoting culture and education. Sess is also the artistic director of the Reggaeart exhibition that is held for the international reggae festival of Abidjan Abireggae.  In January 2017 he was showcased at Bao Cafe for the Cite Des Arts project which was a turning point for his career as a visual artist.

HAF questions Sess

HAF:  How has your decision to move away from traditional methods of your culture impact your style and political approach to your work?

Sess: My favorite subjects have always revolved around the themes of history and human societies. The political connotation that can emerge from it is in the image of the reality that our society lives. It’s a current subject. The only objective of this approach is to question the key issues, to stimulate debate.

HAF: What type of art presentation did you conduct with YES Graffiti for the Maca underage prisoners?

Sess: The YES Graffiti project is a collective initiative undertaken with two other artists. The fundamental objective is to inculcate educational values and restore the collective memory of society.  We have therefore collaborated with a non-governmental organization on a project within the Abidjan Prison and Correctional Center. We were targeting minors in rehabilitation. We have, after several exchanges with them, made large murals, most of them, figures which inspire them to positive change.

HAF:  How was your exhibition at Bao Cafe for Cite Des Arts in 2017 a turning point in your career?

Sess:  The “Friction” exhibition at the Bao Café was my first solo show. It was she who revealed to me that all around, there was the accompaniment, media coverage. This exhibition was the second of a project “Cite Des Arts,” initiated and piloted by young people who, with all their strength, try to propose alternative ideas that the Ivorian artistic scene badly needs. It is also what makes its charm.  I was able to meet people, talk to them about my work and some future projects. It will be a very important moment for me.

 Yannick Effoumy is a writer for Life Magazine, Abidjan Cote d’lvoire.  The original French text translated into English by Stephane Flame Zbavy. Ron Shelton contributed to this story.

 

 

sess essoh, cote d'Ivoire: the man and his words
sess essoh, cote d'Ivoire: the man and his words
sess essoh, cote d'Ivoire: the man and his words
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