Soly Cissé

Soly Cissé (b.1969) a mixed media painter and sculptor from Dakar, is one of Senegal’s most celebrated artists. He graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar, 1996.

Cissé’s artworks are profoundly inspired by and contextualized through his upbringing. He grew up during an epoch of transition, following Senegal’s period of social and political unrest, where art served as mode of social activism and self-expression for the disenfranchised persons. His work, like a portal where the imagined and physical realms convene, intuitively explores notions of duality and repetition; tradition and modernity, the spiritual and the secular.

“I think and reflect a lot about humans and their relationships. Relationships between humans, the confrontation between humans and nature, humans and religion and then I challenge myself and experiment.”

Cissé’s spontaneous painterly movements, textured accents and neo-expressionistic techniques form depictions reflective of the dissolution of societies moral thresholds, shifts attributable to globalization and modernization. Shapeless human characters distort into anthropomorphic shadows of the other self; identities lost in translation from the past to the contemporary, and abstract lines and bold strokes of contrasting hues intersect, creating a layered configuration of Cissé’s mythical visions.

Soly has had numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums in Europe, the Americas and throughout Africa. He has exhibited at biennales in Sao Paulo, Havana and the Dak’art biennale regularly since 2000. He was featured in the highly acclaimed traveling exhibition, Africa Remix curated by Simon Njami, and his works are housed in prestigious public and private collections.