BINGERVILLE (Ivory Coast), May 14 – Ivory Coast artist Mounou Desire Koffi hopes to put together discarded mobile phone keypads to create art.
“I wanted to contribute something new,” said the artist, whose work is on display in Abidjan until July.
In his studio in Bingerville, near the commercial capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the 28-year-old describes himself as a “young contemporary artist” who wants to stand out from the crowd.
“I have enjoyed drawing since childhood. It was always me who the teacher sent to the blackboard to illustrate the lessons, “he says.
When he decided he wanted to go to art school, his parents, who worked as farmers in southwest Ivory Coast, had no idea what it was. His art teacher had to visit them to persuade them to let him go.
After graduating from art school in Abidjan as the best in class, he began looking for old keyboards and cell phone screens on curbs, gutters, and trash.
“Now I have a whole team that is paid according to the quality of what they show up with,” he says.
“I told them, ‘Stop throwing things away. Bring them to me and we can work with them. “
‘Solve the problem’
In his studio, someone put down bags full of spare parts for cell phones.
Koffi dives into a pile of keyboards and screens to find the ones he needs.
When placed side by side on a canvas, it creates colorful human silhouettes in an urban setting.
Some of his works sell for as little as $ 1,500 (RM6,597).
According to him, the goal is to try to “solve the problem” in a country where garbage is hardly sorted and most household waste ends up in piles on the street.
“Most of my works reflect the daily existence of man in society,” he said.
“I think phones are the tools that are closest to us right now. We have almost everything stored in our phones. “
The artist, who has exhibited his works in Morocco, Belgium and France, says his works are trying to stimulate waste.
“We find all sorts of things in our trash cans … I’m trying to make people more aware.”
In an effort to reflect current debates, Koffi depicts pollution as well as floods, traffic jams and child soldiers in his paintings.
One of his latest series, entitled “Life Here,” depicts daily life at AbidJanuary
After his first exhibition in the coastal city of Bassam, his work is now on display at the Donwahi Foundation in the capital until July. – AFP