After training at the Ecole des Arts de Dakar with artists such as Iba Ndiaye, Souleymane Keïta developed his artistic practice and experimented with different media ranging from painting, fresco and mosaic to ceramics. A major figure on this scene, he took part in several historic exhibitions, including the First Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers, Algeria (1969), the Ife Festival (Ife, Nigeria, 1970), and Art Sénégalais d'aujourd'hui at the Grand Palais, Paris (France, 1974).
However, Keïta moved away from the aesthetics of the first generation of the Ecole de Dakar in the mid-1970s, with a trip to Mali, followed in 1980 by a trip to the United States, where he lived until 1985. Over the years, Keïta developed his own unique aesthetic, based on his world, his travels and his personal history, inspired as much by American abstraction as by traditional Mandingue culture.
In 1985, the artist returned to live in Gorée, from where he never left again. From the 1990s onwards, Keïta developed the major series Scarifications and Chemises du chasseur, which testify to the artist's reappropriation of his Mandingue culture and the rituals that characterize it. From the 2000s onwards, Souleymane Keïta developed two other major series, Criquet and Synthèse. Throughout his life, Keïta has worked on several series simultaneously (Gorée, Signes et Tourbillons, Etudes de la Sardine, Méduses et Papillons, and Pleine Lune), until the 2010s, when he seems to have devoted himself exclusively to the Synthèse series. As its name suggests, this series combines the artist's various works and movements.
A first solo exhibition at the Galerie Cecile Fakhoury, who represents the Estate since November 2023, Signes, will be held in Paris from December 14, 2023 to January 27, 2024, and a reference monograph featuring a significant body of work and contributions from African, European and American authors and researchers will be published in spring 2024.
Acquired directly from the artist by the previous owner, DakarPrivate collection, ParisPIASA Africa + Modern & Contemporary Art Auction, November 15th, 2023, Lot 30