abouka…jan jan

Aboubakar Fofana was born in Mali but left to live in Paris when he was ten. From an early age he was fascinated by the natural world, and was introduced to indigo plants at the age of seven.

Fofana spent many years working in Paris as a calligrapher and graphic designer but was always drawn back to the country of his birth, and to the idea of green leaves that make blue.  He began to return regularly to West Africa and to undertake a self-imposed apprenticeship in indigo dyeing. After winning the prestigious Villa Medicis Hors les Murs, undertaken in Japan and focussing on his project ‘Sublime Indigo – Japan-France-Mali’, Fofana decided to follow his passion for the textile arts, with a particular focus on the increasingly rare techniques of indigo and mud dyeing native to his birthplace. His original passion for calligraphy still surfaces in his textile work, especially in the medium of mud-dyeing.

Fofana has exhibited in joint and solo shows throughout the world, and continues to share his passions through his work and his teaching. He has collaborated with interior and fashion designers, as well as with ceramicists, leatherworkers and other artisans, and his work and his story have been included in a number of books.

Fofana’s art is directly informed by the raw materials he uses. The cyclical movements of the natural world, the way time alters living things, the beauty of these changes and their ephemeral states, are all mirrored in his work.