Born Jan. 1, 1956, in Yako, Burkina Faso, West Africa, to parents from the republic of Mali, Mamadou Diakite was interested in art, particularly in drawing, from a very early age. After attending the center for agricultural training in Samanko, Mali between 1973 and 1977, Mr. Diakite found his genuine vocation: painting.
A self-taught artist, Mamadou Diakite moved along this new path with great enthusiasm, settling in the Ivory Coast in 1978 to further his artistic knowledge; there, he developed new techniques in different media, including modeling, paste collages, and the use of sand.
Following a long period of research and experimentation, he created his unique style: a three-dimensional art combining painting, modeling, pasting, and sanding. Mr. Diakite's specialty is created witn raw and hand-worked materials from Africa, such as wood dust, natural sand, pieces of hand-woven cloth, traditional necklaces, and decorated calabash fragments.
Little by little, Mamadou Diakite and his new style became known and appreciated by the public and art experts of West Africa. In Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast, his early art was honored in numerous exhibitions. His early exhibits included:
1984, cup of Africa nations, Ivory hotel, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
1985, exhibition 85, chamber of industry of Ivory Coast, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
1987, Festimask, mask festival, Yamoussokro, Ivory Coast (here, Mr. Diakite was elected general secretary of the Ivory Coast artisans National Union)
In 1990, Mr. Diakite returned to Burkina Faso and became a member of the Intl. Assn. of Plastic Arts for UNESCO, Ouagadougou. Following a period of intense creative activity, he was exalted in national and intl. Exhibitions.
At his exhibition in the French Cultural Center of Cotonou, Benin, Mr. Diakite's art was noticed by the American consul who helped him obtain a visa to promote his work in the U.S. In 1993, Mr. Diakite embarked upon the journey to Washington DC. His work has been shown at the Alliance Francaise, the Smithsonian International Festival, among others. Currently he resides in the U.S. and is one of the area's best known African plastic artists. In 1997, he created the African Fine Art Foundation, a non-profit organization that will promote African artists and education of African art forms.
Mamadou will continue to display his work throughout the world and develop new projects, and welcomes visitors at his studio.