The Ivorian artist Ngoye (Kouamé Jean Ngoran) graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 2006 and impresses with his lively neo-expressionist compositions. The main themes of his works are hidden psychosocial phenomena and human dynamics. Ngoye's works can be found in renowned private and public collections in the Ivory Coast as well as in international collections in Germany, Italy and France. He also won the 47th Art Prize of the Société de Distribution d’eau en Côte d’Ivoire (SODECI).
Ngoye counts Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon among his sources of inspiration, and his art follows their approach of reshaping, deconstructing and rearranging painted objects and figures. In his portrait works, the painter analyses the inner state of mind of people, it is sometimes so different from what is worn on the outside. The people portrayed are no longer recognizable, their mask-like faces fading into each other, almost forming a unity. The motif of masks has occupied Ngoye for a long time. They are not least an expression of mistrust, an isolation of one's own emotions from a hostile outside world.
"These masks we wear hide what is behind them: the true identity. Because we live in a certain mistrust. Since my childhood I have experienced so many crises, this pain during wars, epidemics and even today during Covid: crises that drain us and stress us. That is the reason for me to explore the world behind the façade. That's why I started painting masks and faces. My task as an artist is to show this, but also to turn my gaze inward and ask myself who I am and how I adapt to the changing environment: am I staying who I think I am ?" (Ngoye, 2021)
It is this unfiltered directness that gives his works a deeply impressive aura of the mystical. Almost unaccustomed to the direct gaze of the faces, which seems to take in the viewer in its entirety, the effect of the works unfolds like a wave of intense emotion.
Ngoye himself is fascinated by the strong connection to nature and tradition, which is not least due to a close bond with his own home. The technique is pure is intended to create a more direct, organic connection bet-ween the work and the viewer in terms of content and to refer to the naturalness of man.