Armand Boua, was born in 1978 in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire. His work is based on the lives of street kids who testify to the violence and political struggles in West Africa. He wants to show the lives of these street children in a way that not so many people can relate to. Working in Abidjan, the economic capital at the crossroads of urbanisation and industrialisation, Boua experiences the Ivorian landscape with heightened sensitivity. His observations of children are drawn largely from street scenes where urban migrations create ethnic, linguistic, cultural and social entanglements. They have come to enrich and problematize the region in equal measure. Children abduction in Ivory Coast remains a chilling real issue with myths of human sacrifices and other rituals fulling the market for organs of the young. The latter are also victim of sex trafficking, illegal adoption rings and plantation labour.
Boua’s subjects could be victims of such exploitation, or symbols of hope and innocence. The severity of this crisis foreshadows the practice of the street-based artist. Indeed, he sees the atrocities of man echoed in everyday life. He gives them shape through painting and emotive movements.
He studied in the National School of Fine Arts and the Technical Centre for Applied Arts both in Abidjan. Doing so, he immersed himself deeply in the artistic world, depicting the real issues of the young volatile children.
When it comes to his paintings, Armand describes the plight of his subjects:
“I wanted to show their suffering, their way of life, so that people are finally aware of this painful reality they pretend not to see.
His principle is one born out of an engagement with found material. He applies to them his signature forms that invoke images and scenes in remembrance. Boua is noted for his textured and layered compositions, using tar and acrylic on found cardboard boxes. Each layer is applied and then scrubbed and stripped back, leaving abstract forms that come in and out of focus. He achieves a careful balance between his heavy gestures and violent execution and the gentle treatment of his subject matter.
Through his various personal and group exhibitions, Armand Boua never stops questioning the medium of painting and its “canons”. He keeps in his technique a rigor worthy of a certain pictorial classicism : geometric composition of the scenes, play of light at the heart of the choice of colors, work of the material in successive couches. Armand Boua overcomes the constraints of figuration and literally deconstructs his images. It offers to the spectator the contemplation of the scenes at the borders of abstraction. However the renderings remains a palpable vitality, as nourished by the excitement of the street and the inhabitants who inspire it.