Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The Tenor from Abidjan

The Tenor from Abidjan follows Landry Assokoly, a young man from Côte d’Ivoire, as he follows his dream to become a famous opera singer. Landry’s hope is to study at a top-tier music academy, and ultimately, to be seen and heard on stage as a world renowned opera singer. 

Monday, August 12th, 2013

When Jean-Michel Basquiat went to Africa

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the first American artist of African descent to achieve international stardom, often referenced Africa or the African diaspora in his work. Take, for example, 1983′s “The Nile” (a painting that featured nods to Egyptian hieroglyphs,...

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

How to Paint Ghosts: An Interview with Ivorian artist Aboudia

“Artists don’t create reality they make phantasms”, using a kind of “fantastical technique to produce an artificial dream for the waking world”. At least that’s what Plato thought. In the paintings of Aboudia, we cannot be sure if the...

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Guggenheim’s map–Where is the rest of Africa?

Guest Post by Jennifer Bajorek and Erin Haney The recent announcement of the Guggenheim Foundation’s new “Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative” bears all of the hallmarks of the present era. It is funded by a bank....

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Les Fantômes

A painting sits glowering on the wall of the Jack Bell Gallery in London. Figures daubed in bright colours stare out from the canvases against a dark background broken up by bits of newspaper cuttings. This is...

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Things will get better

Magic Systeme and Tiken Jah Fakoly tells their fellow Ivorians “Ca va aller.”

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Orientalism in Sub-Saharan Africa

James North: Orientalism takes a different form in sub-Saharan Africa.  There, Orientalists do not emphasize the “Islamic” angle quite as much, although they do sometimes suggest that a “fault line” running across the Sahel, with an expansive “Islam”...

Monday, April 11th, 2011

‘In the end, just a guy in a bad Hawaiian shirt without a clue’

That’s how Alexis Okeowo (on Twitter) sums up the end of the four-month stand-off against democracy by Cote d’Ivoire’s former Life President, Laurent Gbagbo. The New York Times has the details and the photograph above on the...

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Patriotism, Ivorian Style

Away from Al Jazeera English, Twitter, Facebook and CNN’s cameras and his country’s media muzzled and harassed, Cote d’Ivoire’s life president and xenophobe, Laurent Gbagbo, uses the army (this is crucial support; about 60,000 men) and armed...

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

A Message from Abidjan

Zepekenio, an Ivoirian-based artist has just released a track called “No Stress” a timely message out of Abidjan.  This party rap track on the label Frimaur is part of a genre Zepekenio’s calling “Le Chocogangsta Rap.” Listen...

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Toxic Mess

As The Guardian reports today oil trader Trafigura has been fined €1 million for attempting to transport toxic waste to Ivory Coast in 2006. Trafigura had initially chartered the ship Probo Koala, used to transport hundreds of tonnes...

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Paul Sika, “Andy Warhol’s grandson”

The very talented Ivorian artist Paul Sika (I’ve linked to Paul’s work last year on my old blog) has sent me an email about the publication of his new book, “At The Heart Of Me…” which is...

Friday, May 7th, 2010


Didier Drogba is all the rage now–“Time” named him to the magazine’s annual 100 Most Influential People,” largely because of his apparent role  to end the civil war in his native Cote d’Ivoire’s civil war through football.  As...

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Gold Coast Trading Co.

I like the initiative and work of the designer, Emeka Alams (his family is Ivorian, I think) and his clothing line Gold Coast Trading Co.. I first saw a reference to his work in Clam Magazine‘s most...

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

There is no African Middle Class

Some would argue that middle class people do not exist in African countries while others would charge that you can’t really define them–that there’s the super rich and those whose livelihoods are precariously linked to the state,...

Monday, October 5th, 2009


Images from Miss Authentica, a beauty competition in Cote d’Ivoire that promotes “natural” beauty. Only women with “untreated skin” can enter. Skin bleachers which contain cancer are used by 75% of women in Cote d’Ivoire.

Monday, September 14th, 2009


Espoir 2000 with “Abidjan Farot.” Via Things Seen and Heard.