Born in Zéprégühé, Ivory Coast, as a member of the Bété community, Bouabré was one of the first from this historically non-literate group to be exposed to written language. This exposure, in combination with a desire to preserve Bété history and knowledge, sparked the artist’s desire to create a new alphabet. With 448 characters, this pictorial alphabet, ‘which can transcribe all human sounds, reflects the essence of [the artist’s] thoughts: to achieve universality and to unite mankind’ (Andre Magnin, African Art Now, 2005, p. 74).Bouabré documented each character in the form of postcard-sized works made with pen and coloured pencil.
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