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Almine Rech

Ouattara Watts: Recipient of The American Academy of Arts and Letters Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Award 2023.

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.

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.