Iniva at Rivington Place presents Abdoulaye Konate Window Commission 2011

. December 2, 2011 . 0 Comments

Iniva at Rivington Place presents Abdoulaye Konate Window Commission 2011 on 7 December 2011–3 January 2012.

Abdoulaye Konaté, “Le dos à l’Âme (Soul Denial),” 2008. Textile, © the artist. Photo: Jeff Morgan.

Artist Abdoulaye Konaté speaks to the street in Iniva’s (Institute of International Visual Arts) fifth annual window commission. He reflects on the relationship in Africa between power and religion—the position of Christianity and Islam within political and cultural life. Commissioned especially for the vast window space of Rivington Place, this new 7 metre long textile work merges political commentary and traditional craftsmanship.

Born in Diré, Mali in 1953, Konaté lives and works in the country’s capital, Bamako. Having trained as a painter, he now works with Malian cotton creating textiles and canvases in response to a lack of availability of other materials. These large expanses of fabric play host to an array of stitched and woven symbols as well as swathes of colour. In this new work he has drawn on the striking plumage of the guinea fowl as his starting point. He also draws upon its significance south of the Sahara where it appears in tales, legends, theatre and literature.

The artist’s past work effectively communicates his political concerns: be it highlighting environmental issues such as de-forestation, living under dictatorship, threatened minority groups or human rights issues. His response is not one of despair, but one of hope, exploring the human condition through thoughtful and critical expression. Here Konaté is reflecting on Malian writer Massa Makan Diabaté’s comment that ‘the guinea fowl spreads out its colours over its plumage and man keeps them in his heart’ (from The Hairdresser of Kouta). Konaté sees this as akin to the ambiguous position heads of governments take with respect to religion.

In 2008 Konaté was nominated for the Artes Mundi Prize. Other recent exhibitions include Documenta 12, 2007 and Africa Remix, Contemporary Art of a Continent in 2005 at the Hayward Gallery, London. Past artists who have created work for Rivington Place’s window include Philomena Francis who used piped black treacle in her artwork mo’lasses III to raise questions about identity and viewing the black female body, and most recently Nilbar Güres’ Beekeeper, a photographic composition examining representations of femininity and cultural identity.

The artist will be in conversation with writer Coline Milliard on 6 December from 6:30pm. Visit or for further details and to reserve your free place.

Visitor information
The window commission is on view day and evening from Rivington Street. Rivington Place opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am–6pm, Late Thursdays: 11am–9pm, Saturday: 12noon–6pm, closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission free. Nearest Tubes: Old Street/Liverpool Street/Shoreditch High St. For further information about Rivington Place contact: +44 (0)20 7749 1240,

About Iniva
Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) engages with new ideas and emerging debates in the contemporary visual arts, reflecting in particular the diversity of contemporary society. We work with artists, curators, creative producers, writers and the public to explore the vitality of visual culture. Iniva programmes at Rivington Place, off-site and virtually. (

Iniva at Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA

Category: Fine Art

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