featured artist: Abdoulaye Conde

Posted by: Steven Huyser-Honig | November 2, 2023 | Featured Artist


Raining Wisdom by Abdoulaye Conde

Congratulations to Abdoulaye Conde for winning first place in the public vote in the 2023 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Abdoulaye takes home a prize of $125,000 for his entry “Raining Wisdom,” a 30×66 foot mural depicting an idyllic scene of humans and elephants playfully interacting in an African river.

According to Abdoulaye, “This large-scale mural is inspired by the noteworthy contributions that elephants make to their families, groups & habitats. In Guinea, West Africa (my home country) elephants are revered not only as the national animal (called “Syli”) but as intelligent, powerful, and wise creatures who love and care for each other. As humans, we can always strive to better ourselves and our communities by demonstrating love and acceptance of others, honoring and celebrating diversity, and celebrating the wealth of wisdom shared between us all. In this mural, elephants are helping us do just so – by showering us in their WISDOM of these ideals and inspiring us to pay it forward.”

We first met Abdloulaye in March when he and his wife, Anisa Shaw, brought in a few of his originals for our photography and proofing service. We were struck by his unique style which uses bright colors and a mosaic of lines to portray his subjects. This style, which Abdoulaye calls “gnabassan,” is a concept that comes from Malinke, the West African language Abdoulaye grew up speaking, which means all mixed up.

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