Born in Côte d’Ivoire, Ouattara Watts later studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. While in Paris, he met fellow artist and friend Jean-Michel Basquiat, who encouraged Watts to move to New York. Applying an interdisciplinary approach, his work, amongst themes, explicates cryptic ideograms, alchemy, cosmogony and mathematics.
Watts has exhibited internationally and recent shows include The White Hunter. African memories and representations, FM Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2017); Afrique Capitales, 100% Afriques, La Villette, Paris (2017) and Dak’Art – Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, Dakar (2016). He has further exhibited at Hess Art Collection, International Contemporary Art at Glen Carlou, Paarl (2009–10); National Museum of African Art – Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (2006); the New Museum, New York (2003); documenta 11, Kassel (2002); the Whitney Biennale, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002) and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice (1993).