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Striving for Freedom

In his paintings Famakan Magassa moves skillfully between social satire and sensitive depiction of life situations, and interpersonal relationships. He deals with power relations, the pursuit of personal freedom, the need for connectedness, emotional turbulences and ambivalences.

Famakan Magassa, grew up, lives and works in Mali – confronted with rapid developments, traditions and resistance to modernity.

The enigmatic, undulating figures that populate Magassa’s canvases are a direct allusion to the Kourédougas – mysterious ritual dancers. The Kourédougas are members of a non-religious community who follow a code of conduct and philosophy that emphasize wisdom, righteousness, and humility. These are values and ideals that also have a special meaning for Famakan Magassa. Externally, the Kourédougas can be recognized by their festive and extravagant attire of hats, feathers, objects and jewelry, which they use to express their sense of dignity and beauty.

Famakan Magassa, born in 1997, received his BFA from the Conservatoire Arts etMetiers Multimedia Balla Fasséke Kouyaté in Bamako, Mali in 2018. In 2019, he exhibited for the first time in several institutional exhibitions, including presentations at L’Institut-Français du Mali and Fondation La Maison de l’Artiste in Assinie, Ivory Coast. In 2021, his works were featured in the exhibition “Hotel Sahara” at BETC, Paris, France. In 2022, Magassa made his U.S. debut at Albertz Benda Gallery, New York, with his exhibition SOIFS. In August 2023, Magassa was awarded the Grand Prize of the Norval Sovereign African ArtPrize. In September 2023 he was exhibited by AG18 Gallery at the at fair “Art Vienna”.

Available Art: