Ousmane Sow

Dimensions 87 cm x 110 cm x 26 cm
Materials Sandblasted glass, cast glass, bronze, wood

Ousmane Sow, a Senegalese contemporary artist, whose work I greatly admire, was born in 1935. As a young man he moved to France in 1957where he studied nursing and physical therapy. He pursued this profession for almost 20 years. In 1984 he returned to Dakar with the intention of opening a practice. Viewing an exhibition of photographs of the Nouba people by the celebrated German artist Leni Riefenstahl at the French Cultural Center in Dakar made a profound impression on him and he decided to use his knowledge of the human form to begin to create sculpture. He was 50 years old when this work first began.

The technique used to build his often larger than life-size pieces is uniquely his own with an influence of traditional African art. The figures are constructed off of a welded metal armature to which he adds straw and fabric dipped in a mixture of resins and earth. The formula for his concoction is a well-kept secret.

In 1999, over 3 million people visited his exhibition on the Pont des Arts in Paris, based on the events of Custer at the Little Big Horn. This event marked the beginning of his worldwide reputation. Until recently he worked in Dakar producing new commissioned work such as his portrait of the black French writer Alexander Dumas author of “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Christo”. Mr. Sow passed away on December 1, 2016.