MAGNIN-A

ABU BAKARR MANSARAY



Né en 1970 à Tongo, Sierra Leone.
Vit et travaille à Freetown, réfugié en 1998 à Harlingen, Pays-Bas.

Abu Bakarr Mansaray est né en 1970 à Tongo, en Sierra Leone et s'installe à Freetown en 1987. C'est dans un des pays les plus pauvres d'Afrique que Mansaray décide de devenir artiste avec une volonté inouïe d'apprendre et d'inverser la marche d'un pays qui sombre dans la guerre civile. Il réinvestit une technique très courante en Afrique Centrale, qui consiste à fabriquer en fils de fer des objets décoratifs ou des jouets. Mais il applique cette technique pour la réalisation de machines futuristes au fonctionnement extravagant. Il étudie seul dans les manuels de chimie, de physique, d'électronique, de mathématique et s'autoproclame "Professor", travaillant inlassablement à l'élaboration de systèmes et de machineries. Il réalise désormais exclusivement d'extraordinaires dessins à la mine de plomb et crayons de couleurs, faits de calculs, de schémas représentant de complexes mécanismes avec des commentaires esquissant d'incroyables machines futuristes.



 Born 1970, Tongo, Sierra Leone.
Lives and works in Harlingen, The Netherlands.

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in western Africa; in choosing a career as an artist Mansaray has laboured to stem the collapse of a nation drained by civil war. After leaving school in 1987, he settled in Freetown, where he became a voracious autodidact, studying all aspects of practical science and engineering.  He revived a technique especially popular in central Africa of manufacturing decorative objects or toys out of wire and iron. But he applied an extreme form of this technique to build futuristic machines for extravagant purposes, creating contraptions that could produce fire, light, air, water, cold, motion, and sound.  “I am an artist making creations without limitation. I do drawings, paintings, sculptures . . . I also invent machines for my own use at home and sometimes for other people,” he has proclaimed.  

Mansaray’s preparatory drawings also stand as independent artworks.  These studies consist of detailed calculations, sketches, diagrams, and commentaries executed in pencil, ballpoint pen, and crayons.  “I like doing strange, complicated drawings and designing intricate machines inspired by scientific ideas that are at times beyond the human imagination (for example, the machines I designed called Hell Extinguisher and Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell). . . . I want people to feel the power of creation.”  No doubt the economic, political and social situation in Sierra Leone, a country where war has left behind nothing but ruins and charred bodies, has shaped Mansaray’s imagination and the inspiration.  In 1998 he managed to escape his country under extremely difficult circumstances; however, his work continues to bear witness to the horrors of war.