Omar Ba


For his new exhibition in Brussels, Omar Ba, rising star of the African scene, is presenting an exclusive group of paintings more critical than ever. An original and striking portrait of the continent, the show explores the fragility of democracy and individual freedoms.

Exhibition view, Anomalies, TEMPLON Brussels, 2021
Exhibition view, Anomalies, TEMPLON Brussels, 2021

Anomalies opens with a gallery of portraits of imaginary heads of state. Intertwining mythological and oneiric references, the artist subtly denounces the insidious regimes of leaders “who claim to be democratic but in reality, neglect its most important firewalls, from the constitution to the national assembly.” As a counterpoint, another group of paintings evokes the current pandemic. By juxtaposing a dazzling palette with pale, pervasive flashes, repetitive to the point of obsession, the painter exposes the cracks in our social and mental environment. This new work questions the representation of the “individual”, subtly examining the contradictions of our materialistic values of freedom and fulfilment: to what extent must we place limits on our freedom and comfort in order to save lives?


Discarding the codes of traditional painting, Omar Ba has thrown off the shackles of the predefined format imposed by the frame. He has chosen to paint directly on rolls of bare canvas or on large cardboard boxes placed on the floor. He starts by using black paint to prepare opaquely uniform backgrounds before populating them with a profusion of fantastical beings, part human, part animal or plant. Each painting is then cut out, mounted and framed. Omar Ba develops highly personal narratives and metaphors, drawn from daily life as well as ancient African cultures. Abandoning his early abstract style, he has created an enigmatic figurative style with a blend of oil paint, gouache, Indian ink and pencil. He uses this unique, dense and unsettling visual language to communicate the complexity and cruelty of the themes he tackles: political violence, exploitation of nature and the phenomena of domination and exclusion.

Superman and The Constitution II


The artist

Born in 1977 in Senegal, Omar Ba lives and works in Dakar. His paintings, produced using a variety of techniques and materials, represent political and social motifs open to multiple interpretations. His artistic vocabulary raises historical and timeless questions while formulating a wholly contemporary artistic message.  Omar Ba’s iconography features personal metaphors, ancestral references and hybrid figures. This combination of heterogeneous elements illustrates his desire to abolish boundaries and categories. His work, with its enigmatic nature and poetic intensity, rejects all forms of didactic narrative, seeking instead to express his subconscious and his symbolic interpretation of the real

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