Lot 43
  • 43

Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

3,000 - 5,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
  • Bété Legends
  • crayon and pen on paper
  • 23 by 16cm., 9 by 6¼in.
  • Executed 2007-2011


Acquired directly from the artist
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Paris, Galerie Art-Z, Africa Now, 2016-2017

Catalogue Note

On March 11, 1948, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré left his life as a public servant behind and became an artist. On that day, Bouabré says: ‘the heavens opened up before my eyes and seven colourful suns described a circle of beauty around their Mother-Sun. I became Cheik Nadro: "He who does not forget"’ (Andre Magnin, African Art Now, 2005, p. 74). In the years that followed, the artist would become a polymath, dedicating himself to conducting extensive research in fields such as philosophy, art, language and tradition, amongst many others.

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.