Tunde Folawiyo | African Art: The Works of Ephrem Kouakou

As one of the African continent’s foremost painters, the works of Ephrem Kouakou have been displayed throughout the globe, eliciting great praise from fans and critics alike. The artist’s powerful paintings continue to inspire varied cultures throughout Africa and the world as a whole. Brilliantly combining folk motifs, African visuals and Western creative techniques, Kouakou remains a revered figure within the African art community as his works. Tunde Folawiyonominated-as-2010-best-african-entrepreneur-6839/”>Tunde Folawiyo and other collectors of African art may find the works of Ephrem Kouakou to be some of the most significant paintings in existence today.

Born in Africa’s Ivory Coast in 1962, Kouakou is part of the Akan people’s Baoule group. Whilst he initially trained to practice medicine, he participated in a variety of initiation rites that would later prove a significant source of inspiration for his work today. At age 17, Kouakou trekked more than 2500 miles to Algeria from his home in the Ivory Coast. After the three month journey, he embarked on a voyage to France. Here, he studied at some of the country’s finest art institutions, paving the way for a highly successful career as one of Africa’s most popular painters.

With a wide variety of works of art portrayed on both paper and canvas, Kouakou’s creations are admired today for their bold, saturated colors, made by combing raw pigments with glue. His work revolves around themes centered by fertility masks, animal guides, protective spirits and intense spiritual reflection, inspirations that may be recognised by Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others throughout Africa.

Kouakou’s work is amongst a genre thriving in growing popularity. Contemporary African art has experienced a significant boost in sales in recent years, with art enthusiasts around the globe eager to own pieces of this fine art. Kouakou’s work can be found in a variety of high-profile museums throughout the United States and beyond. France, Switzerland and Belgium are amongst the wide array of countries that have showcased the work of Kouakou and other African artists. From New York’s Metropolitan Museum to The Smithsonian’s African Art museum, the world-renowned works of Kouakou may continue to be admired for years to come. His work is represented today by Ellicott City’s Still Life Fine Art Gallery. Residing in the US since 1990, Kouakou has lived in Washington DC, New York while his current residence is located in Baltimore. Tunde Folawiyo and other collectors of African art can visit these revered museums to catch a glimpse of the outstanding talent displayed by Kouakou.

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