- Simon Njami
(b Diré, Feb 1, 1953).
Malian painter, sculptor and installation artist. He was trained at the National Institute of Arts, Bamako (1976), and the Superior Institute of Arts, Havana (1978–85). His colourful figurative paintings are relatively abstract, with thick paint revealing brushstrokes. In 1992 he began making political statements with his work, investigating themes as general as the social role of artists or the intersection of modernity and heritage, or as specific the massacres in Rwanda, Bosnia and Angola. His Homage to Mande Hunters (1994) is a large wall hanging to which cowry shells and amulets are attached. In other pieces he employed eggs to convey the fragility and vulnerable precariousness of human life; in one, a large rock is suspended over rows of eggs in a bed of sand. Konaté sees himself as the keeper of tradition; for him, being a contemporary artist does not have to mean forgetting the past. He participated in the Havana Bienal and Daka Biennale, and in ...