Mounou Désiré Koffi (1994) is an emerging visual artist from Ivory Coast, who not only uses mobile phone keyboards to express the concept of technological evolution, but also raises the accompanying issue of technological obsolescence and environmental pollution as well as other observations such as floods, traffic jams, child soldiers, or simply urban identities passing by.
“Africa is a unique source of inspiration, this is where it all began for me. Most of my paintings talk about the daily life of man in society. I work on what challenges me and what is topical”
Mounou Desiré Koffi (1994), born from a farmers family in the South-West of Ivory Coast, stood out at a young age for his drawing and painting talent, which eventually landed him at the Academy of Fina Arts in Abidjan, where he graduated in painting. Already in his bachelor years, he picked up his fascination for recycling materials, notably mobile phone materials.
He noted that vast numbers of old mobile phones were littering the streets of Abidjan, becoming dangerous waste for children to play with. So he started a project to give these phones a second life by integrating them into bright coloured pop art paintings about urban street life in Abidjan. Since then his exploration has taken him to different ways of expression, both in subjects and materials with one constant: the use of recycled mobile keypads. In that he expresses not only the concept of technological evolution, but also raises the accompanying issue of technological obsolescence and environmental pollution as well as other issues of our time.
By now he has not only raised awareness about the environmental pollution but also recycled many tens of thousands of mobile keypads in his works. He pays a team to gather the mobile phones from the streets in large quantities, whilst people in Abidjan increasingly deposit their old phones with the team for free. Similar projects are being considered in other African countries such as Benin, Mali of Guinea.
His art works have further developed into varying series from urban landscapes to the urban identities he observes in daily Abidjan life. Figurative silhouettes combining the keypads on different surfaces, such as canvas, wood or iron gauze screens.
In his latest series, Mounou combines human silhouettes and inverses of silhouettes of mobile keypads in textile works on recycled jute and natural linen in earthy tones, covered with coloured acrylic prints which call for tolerance and peace.
Despite his young age, Mounou has been recognized early on in his career. He has participated in various solo exhibition and group exhibitions way beyond Ivory Coast, notably in Senegal, Morocco, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands and UK.
Comme unique, Fondation BJKD, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Life there, Donwahi Foundation, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Mercredy Arty, Yemaya Design, Pullman Hotel, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
L’Innocence, galerie iLAB-Design, Genève, Switzerland
Regards croisés, duo solo with Kim Bennani at Terre Océane, Loft Art Galery & Yamed Promotion, Casablanca, Morocco
Disconnection, Galerie Art-z, Paris, France
DAF Frankfurt, via OpenArtExchange, Frankfurt, Germany
Africa Now II, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam (Rotterdam), Netherlands
Soufle d’Afrique (Breath of Africa), So Art gallery, Casablance, Morocco
Africa – The renaissance on the move, Blaise Senghor Cultural center/Dak’Art OFF, OBART/ART Kelen/Jérémy Cauden, Dakar, Senegal
Rio Loco art festival, Toulouse City hall, Toulouse, France
African art acution, Bonham, London, United Kingdom
GRAPA ed3, collective l’AKAFA, galerie Pascal Polar, Brussels, Belgium
African art auction Piasa, Paris, France
Group show III, Gallery ArtTime, Abidjan, Ivory Coast/online
Donkey Art Gallery, Tangier, Morocco
Exhibition and auction Child soldiers, Hotel Drouot/Invisable Borders Foundation and Afikaris/Nelly Wandji Gallery, Paris, France
GRAPA ed2, collective l’AKAFA/Kevin Michel at galerie Ravenstein, Brussels, Belgium
OpenArtExchange, Schiedam (Rotterdam), Netherlands
Jeremy Cauden, Ivory Coast
Mattia Starace, Belgium