Ouattara Watts

  • , Flash of Shango, 2002-2018
    Mixed media on canvas
    300 x 418 cm
    118 x 164 1/2 in
  • , Cultural Alchemy, 1999
    Mixed media on canvas
    238 x 358 cm
    93 2/3 x 141 in
  • , Imagine Peace, 2018
    Mixed media on canvas
    264 x 246 cm
    104 x 97 in
  • , KA CABALA VOODOO, 1995
    Mixed media on wood
    280 x 244 x 19.2 cm
    110 1/4 x 96 x 7 1/2 in
  • , My Favorite Things, 2016
    Mixed media on canvas
    246 x 264 cm
    97 x 104 in
  • , Shango 1, 1998
    Mixed media on canvas
    212,1 x 152,4 cm
    83 1/2 x 60 in
  • , Spirit King, 2005
    Watercolor
    66 x 101,6 cm
    26 x 40 in
  • , The Poem, 2011
    Mixed medias on canvas
    152,4 x 122 cm
    60 x 48 in
  • , To Fela, 2011
    Mixed media on canvas
    265 x 247 cm
    104 1/3 x 97 1/4 in
  • , Vertigo # 5, 2011
    Mixed media on tarp
    274 x 305 cm
    108 x 120 in
  • , Vertigo # 3, 2011
    Mixed medias
    260 x 440 cm
    102 1/3 x 173 1/4 in
  • , Wanted 3, 2008
    Mixed media on canvas
    122 x 122 cm
    48 x 48 in
  • , Wait Until Tomorrow, 2005
    Watercolor, pencil on paper
    54,6 x 74 cm
    21 1/2 x 29 1/8 in

In his works, American artist Ouattara Watts summons imaginary worlds and mystical visions, from ancestral to contemporary, to observe the metaphysical relationship between creatures. Vibrant colors, mysterious figures, and allusions to spiritual rites in the form of equations and cryptic symbols are apparent, and the interrelationship of these elements creates a dimension unique to Watts. His source material is colorful and varied, from traditional fabrics and paint to cut-out photographs and digital prints. The added layers forge a sense of his multicultural identity and reflect upon an increasingly multicultural society. Regardless of the origin of these elements, the discernable spiritual power of his works conveys another world that is both instantaneous and timeless.

Born in the Ivory Coast in 1957, Watts lives and works in New York. He was persuaded to move to the city in the late '80s by Jean-Michel Basquiat, after meeting the artist at an opening in Paris. Lifelong friends, a thematic similarity is evident in their art, both of which highlight African culture, philosophy, and spirituality.

Ouattara Watts has been exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, the Venice Biennale, and MoMA. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art, Washington, D.C.; The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Collection Mohammed IV, Morocco; Fondation Dapper, Paris, France; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York; and the UC Berkeley Museum of Art and Film Archive, Berkeley, California, among others.


Exhibitions


Selected press