Emerging artist Atowla Kouadio (1997, born in Côte d’Ivoire) studied at the École Nationale des Beaux Arts in Abidjan and won the "Prix des Jeunes Artistes d'Avenir (JAA)" and the "Prix Paix et Environnement" in Abidjan in 2019.
Atowla's paintings resemble photographs - to achieve this he uses different techniques and materials for his predominantly realistic depictions of figure paintings and portraits. He combines oil with acrylic paint and marbling. This gives his paintings a unique character and great intensity, which is further emphasized by the use of bold colors.
The artist draws his inspiration from his own photos and from borrowed images, such as iconic photos of celebrities and political or historical figures from the African continent, but also from social platforms such as Instagram and photographic archives. Sometimes Atowla also refers in his portraits to the typical cliché of identity cards. His paintings are intense and impressively capture the person depicted.
"Portrait photography has a loaded history in the colonial context. Now I use the same medium to portray African people as people." (Atowla)
His work questions the power of pictorial representation on many levels, from the reproduction of historical and iconic images to the phenomenon of the social media age.
The artist Atowla has been chosen by the Peruvian government to exhibit his work in the summer of 2021 for the 200th anniversary of Peru's independence (28 July 1821).