Côte d’Ivoire

Artist: Koffi - Yao

*1971 in Daloa (Cote d'Ivoire)

1994-95: Diplome supérior des Beaux-arts (Abidjan)
1995-96: Ecole des Beaux-arts de Paris
1996-2002: Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne (License, Maitrise, DEA d'arts plastiques, Doctorat)

Exhibitions (some):
1996: Marne la Vallée (Paris)
1997: Nanterre Université (Paris)
1999: Salon Harkady (Abidjan) as well as Galleries in Paris
2000: MFA; Annapolis (Maryland, USA)
2001: Galleries in New York und Paris
2002: Diverse Galleries in Berlin



My piece should paint a true picture of village life in a farming community. The Bear is adorned with a piece of material named "Pagne", "Kita", or "Kint" This robe is often worn in subsaharan Africa. The way in which it is worn reminds one of the Greco-Roman civilization. This manner of wearing the clothes has disappeared in Europe, yet is still found in Africa, which convinces one of the will of the people to uphold their tradition.

In the Cote d' Ivoire, "Kita/Kint" is a national clothing article. It is an honourable and festive style of dress for rural village dwellers. It is worn for special festivities (wedding, birth, death or the coronation of a king). It becomes a prestige item through the completely hand woven material from which it is made. Nevertheless, even the less wealthy compatriots have a "Kita". Either costly or simple or altogether humble materials can be used.

The idea depicted is that of a fellow countryman from Cote d'Ivoire carrying the "fruits of his labour" on his back in a basket. Ivory Coast's economic and financial success rests on its being the number one producer of cocoa in the world, supplying 40% of all cocoa produced worldwide.

From an aesthetic point of view, the bear is wearing a modern suit under the Kita, a shirt and a pair of trousers. Complementing the Kita robe is a pair of "Abodje" or "en entendant," footwear similar to sandals.

Koffi - Yao