VAboudia Abdoulaye DIARRASSOUBA , Aboudia was born in 1983 in Abengourou, 200km from Abidjan, and discovered art — which he describes as ‘this little thing in me, a place for drawing’ — at school. After winning a competition called Draw Me Your Dream, he left home, aged 15, to study at the Centre Technique des Arts Appliqués in Bingerville, sleeping in the classroom when the other students had left for the night. He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Abidjan in 2005.

His work came to the attention of the wider world in the wake of the conflict that followed Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential elections in December 2010. While other artists fled Abidjan, Aboudia stayed in his studio, hiding in the cellar as the bullets whistled overhead, then venturing outside and painting what he saw.

Despite creating 21 canvases during this time, he insists he is not a war painter. ‘I was simply describing a situation, to create a record of my country’s recent history,’ he says. ‘Artists, writers, filmmakers are spokespersons for an entire nation, their nation, and the world.’

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