Born in Ghana in around 1919, Ataa Oko suddenly took up drawing at the age of eighty-three. He began by drawing from memory the personalized figurative coffins that he once actually built as a carpenter craftsman - one in the shape of a fish for a fisherman, or another in that of a tomato for a farmer. Gradually, his compositions began going beyond the scope of his memory, opening the way to a profusion of new, brightly colored subjects: animals, human figures, pieces of fruit or imaginary, even monstrous beings.
Privy to visits from the spirits and constantly connected with the Hereafter, Ataa Oko remains linked as well to the spiritual beings he depicts on paper. The latter are characterized by vivid graphic ramblings but also by commonplace and fertile images of everyday life, which he takes as signs meant to stimulate his creativity.
Set up at a makeshift table in front of his house, and now aged ninety, Ataa Oko undauntedly continues producing his oeuvre; to date, he boasts 2,500 drawings in colored pencil, done over a six-year period (2003-2009). A large body of these is on display in the exhibition, together with two coffins by his hand (resp. hen- and rooster-shaped).
The Collection de l’Art Brut extends special thanks to Regula Tschumi for her collaboration with this show, and for her generous donation.
From March 5, 2010, to January 30, 2011
Vernissage on March 5, 2010, at 6.5 pm
Philippe Lespinasse, Sarah Lombardi, Lucienne Peiry et Regula Tschumi, Ataa Oko, Lausanne/Gollion, Collection de l’Art Brut/Infolio, 2010.
Ataa Oko et les esprits, de Philippe Lespinasse, Regula Tschumi et Andress Alvarez, 16 min., Lausanne/Le Tourne, Collection de l’Art Brut/Lokomotiv Films, 2010.