Soly Cissé, 'Untitled', 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm, Courtesy of Sulger-Buel Lovell
Soly Cissé, 'Untitled', 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm, Courtesy of Sulger-Buel Lovell 

One of Senegal’s most celebrated artists, Soly Cissé’s artworks are inspired by his upbringing. Growing up during an epoch of transition, which followed Senegal’s period of social and political unrest, Cissé understands the ways that art serves as a mode of social activism. His paintings are at once pictorial and graphic, rooted in the culture of his hometown, and loaded with autobiographical content. Cissé creates fantasy worlds where figures emerge from chaos and disharmony. His figures merge animal and human forms into strange, improbable hybrids wearing mortuary masks, as if they are deities of the artist’s magical world.

Cissé graduated from Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar in 1996. He is ranked among the 100 top contemporary African artists, and his career includes exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Hayward Gallery in London, UK; Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal; the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, Germany; Musée des Arts Derniers and Tornabuoni — both in Paris, France — and Galèrie des Tuileries, Lyon, France.