ABOUDIA (b. 1983)
signed 'ABOUDIA' (lower left)
acrylic and oil on canvas
4714 x 9314 in. (120 x 236.8 cm.)

Painted in 2012.
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
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Lot Essay

A monumental and powerful piece by the acclaimed Ivorian artist, Aboudia, Mother and Child represents the artist at the height of his artistic achievement. Grand in scale and captivating in composition, this work is rich with Aboudia’s personal experience living amidst the war-torn streets of Abidjan during the 2011 Ivorian Civil War. A product of tumult, the mother and child cradled amidst the chaos on the canvas are inspired by the mothers and children Aboudia witnessed in his home country, left alone to survive.

In the present lot, Aboudia is unrestrained in his use of the canvas to evoke the very real pain and chaos of life. The composition is layered with several scrawls of graffiti, generating a feeling of claustrophobia. Aboudia’s visual vocabulary is rich with characters from his personal neighborhood, references to traditional Voodoo, and Abidjan’s Nouchi dialect. The artist’s macabre figures are reminiscent of Basquiat’s skulls, and his proclivity for revolution could be considered a parallel to Cy Twombly’s spontaneous aesthetic. The details of this work dance in and out of view, increasing in complexity upon further inspection. Evocations of tragedy are matched in the artist’s use of vivid color and potent brushstrokes. Gestural slashes of illegible graffiti and expressive figurations of a mother and child in dismay foreground a landscape of fire red—Côte d'Ivoire in flames, the artist leaving no clear exit from the scene.

The artist regards this painting as one of the most important and personal in his body of work, retaining it in his private collection for several years. Though he never formally offered it for sale, the artist parted ways with the present lot at the request of a large collector of his work, who had only seen an image of the piece. Fresh to market, donned with a stellar provenance and a poignant relic of the artist’s personal reflections on home, Mother and Child is a haunting masterpiece that begs viewers to ponder the humanity threatened in non-Western civil conflict.

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