Zeitz MOCAA presents Idéogrammes, signes, symboles et logos (hommage – Youssouf Tata Cissé et Germaine Dieterlen) a large-scale installation by the renowned Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté (b.1953). This richly detailed, four storey high textile piece, adorns the museum’s interior wall in the BMW Atrium. Upon arrival and from various points in the museum, visitors are confronted by the striking strips of burgundy, coral, crimson and indigo encompassed in this monumental work.
This never-before-seen tapestry was conceived as a site-specific work for Zeitz MOCAA. As indicated by the title, the work was made in honour of two iconic thinkers who are distinguished for their immense contribution to culture. Ethnologist and Malian historian Youssouf Tata Cissé (1935-2013) specialised in canonising oral history from various parts of West Africa. Germaine Dieterlen (1903-1999), a French anthropologist, is noted for her pioneering research on Dogon astronomy and the Bamana cultures of Mali. Much of Konaté’s work has referenced motifs and apparel of Malian masquerades, bringing important rituals into the foreground.
Over the last forty-four years, Konaté’s work has engaged with many socio-political and environmental issues. These range from global epidemics such as HIV/AIDS to freedom of expression, Islamic fundamentalism and political satire, to migration, music, language and spirituality. The myriad of individually hemmed appliqued fabric fragments in Hommage – Youssouf Tata Cissé et Germaine Dieterlen not only add rich colour and texture to Zeitz MOCAA’s concrete walls but also contributes to a dialogue around materiality in contemporary art from Africa.
The installation was unveiled on 12 February 2020 and will be on view for one year.