Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

Born around 1923 in Zéprégühé, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.
Died in 2014 in Abidjan, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, where he lived and worked.

Biographical summary by Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, dated November 2, 1988: "Yes, my name is Bruly Bouabré Frédéric. I was born around 1923, in Zépréguhé, in the sub-prefecture of Daloa, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. Being a Negro of purplish aspect, I believe myself to be from now on of the "violet race" badly known and confused with the "typically black race". For me, the "7 colors of the rainbow" influence the whole content of the great humanity.
Divine destiny has integrated me into French civilization. From the age of 8, I attended the French school for 10 years: "from October 1, 1931 to September 1940". And my schooling ended at the superior elementary school of Bingerville. Being therefore of primary education, I know that my "cultural bases" are not solid. But the love of the "very French culture" which animated me at the time of my brutal exit of the French school advised me to attend forever the very apotheosis French school of life which I will know how to leave only after my death. And if at present, my soul, my spirit, my star, I would say, gives off a very tiny glow that is quite perceptible in our present foggy universe, I sincerely recognize that I owe this happy and curious glow to this school of life.
During the Second World War, I served as a sailor in the French Navy in the West Indies [1], for five years (1941-1945). At the end of the war, having entered civilian life, I served for 3 months as a clerk in the railway, Dakar-Niger, in Rufisque, Senegal. Having left the railway service in December 1945, in January 1946, I was hired as a clerk in the "judicial identity service of the 'general security in West Africa'", in Dakar. From there, I was assigned, in 1958, to the direction of the police security of the Ivory Coast. This service having declared itself to be in excess of the great number of its required personnel, gave me to the civil service of this then autonomous Republic. The ministry of the civil service assigned me to the ministry of the interior, to the direction of the political affairs in Abidjan.
The management of the French Institute of Black Africa (IFAN), having discovered that I was the inventor of an African alphabet, asked the Ministry of the Interior to transfer me to IFAN, Abidjan, in 1958. And I remained in the service of IFAN until 1973. The direction of the faculty of Letters of the national university of the Republic of Ivory Coast having approved the scientific nature and the classical sense of my manuscripts of which it entered in possession, requested, in its turn, my transfer to the university: service of the institute of ethnosociology, in 1973. It is this service that assisted my retirement in 1981. My great joy of my life is in the great number of my children: they are 15 Ivorians added to the demographic greatness of my very dear country!
Signed Frédéric Bruly Bouabré "

The origin Frédéric Bruly Bouabré’s work stems from a revelatory experience:  on March 11, 1948, when “the heavens opened before my eyes and seven colorful suns described a circle of beauty around their Mother-Sun, I became Cheik Nadro: ‘The one who does not forget.’
The origin of all of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré’s work stems from a revelatory experience:  on March 11, 1948, “the heavens opened up before my eyes and seven colorful suns described a circle of beauty around their Mother-Sun, I became Cheik Nadro: ‘The one who does not forget.’
Since then, Bouabré  compiled his research in manuscripts that deals with art, traditions, poetry, tales, religion, esthetics, and philosophy - revealing himself to be an astonishing thinker, poet, encyclopedist, creator. Searching for a way to preserve and transmit the knowledge of the Bété people and of the world, he invented a unique alphabet of448 monosyllabic pictograms, an inventory of sounds that would allow to transcript all the languages in the world.
This endeavor earned Bouabré the legendary reputation of being another Champollion and translates the universal thought of Frederic Bruly Bouabré who since his vision, seeks to unite and pacify mankind. In the 1970s, he started to transfer his thoughts to hundreds of small drawings in postcard format, using a ballpoint pen and colour pencils. These drawings, gathered under the title of Connaissance du Monde (World Knowledge), form an encyclopedia of universal knowledge and experience.  For Bouabré, his drawings are a representation of everything that is revealed or concealed — signs, divine thoughts, dreams, myths, the sciences, traditions — and he views his role as an artist as a redemptive calling. 


Contemporary African Art Collection - Jean PIGOZZI Collection, Genève, Suisse
Musée National d'Abidjan, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Fond de dotation, Collection Agnès b, Paris, France
Fondation François Pinault, Palazzo Grassi, Venise, Italie
MNAM, Centre Georges Pompidou en dépôt au Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris, France
Groninger Museum, Groningen, Pays-Bas
Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico, Mexique
Galerie Tanya RUMPFF, Haarlem, Pays-Bas
Tate Modern, Londres, Grande-Bretagne
Musée d’Art Brut, Lausanne, Suisse
Collection Lambert (LAC), Genève, Suisse
Collection Madame et Monsieur David-Weill, Paris, France
Collection Gervane et Matthias Leridon, Paris, France