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Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

Chaussures Ralph Lauren (from ‘Publicités’ series) 2007

Frédéric Bruly Bouabré | Côte d’Ivoire b. circa 1923 | Chaussures Ralph Lauren (from ‘Publicités’ series) 2007 | Coloured pencil and ballpoint pen on cardboard | 20.5 x 16cm x 2cm (framed) | Purchased 2010 with funds from the Bequest of Grace Davies and Nell Davies through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

Chaussures Ralph Lauren (from ‘Publicités’ series) 2007

Frédéric Bruly Bouabré claims to have experienced a vision on 11 March 1948 that directly influenced his subsequent work as an artist. Since that time he has embarked on an  ever-expanding project to document all the cultural forms of his own Bété people in the Côte d’Ivoire, as well as those of other cultures he encounters.

Since the 1970s, Bouabré has transferred his thoughts and research to postcard-sized drawings, which are gathered together under the title of ‘Connaissance du Monde’ ('Knowledge of the World'). Among Bouabré’s most renowned works is a series of 448 drawings depicting monosyllabic pictograms, designed to transcribe all human sounds and provide a means to preserve the oral literature of the Bété people, which has been on the decline since the introduction of French as the official language for schooling. Other series of works record the artist’s visions and dreams or transcribe different systems of knowledge and communication.

Chaussures Ralph Lauren belongs to a series of drawings titled ‘Publicités’, which constitutes an increasing catalogue of the productions of the advertising industry. Documenting advertisements for products including Belgian beers, Starbucks coffee and Ralph Lauren shoes, these drawings are executed in Bouabré’s trademark indexical format.