Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Divine peinture relevée sur une orange, 2011, Ballpoint pen, coloured pencil on cardboard, 19 x 15 cm, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A
Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Divine peinture relevée sur une orange, 2011, Ballpoint pen, coloured pencil on cardboard, 19 x 15 cm, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A 

The origin of all of Frédéric Bruly Bouabré’s work stems from a revelatory experience: on March 11, 1948, “the heavens opened up before my eyes and seven colourful suns described a circle of beauty around their Mother-Sun: I became Cheik Nadro: He who does not forget.” From then on Bouabré tackled multiple fields of knowledge, his manuscripts revealing his extensive research on the arts, poetry, folk tales, religion, aesthetics, and philosophy; evidence, indeed, of an astonishing thinker, poet, encyclopedist, and creator. Searching for a way to preserve and transmit the knowledge of the Bete people, as well as a universal language, he invented an alphabet of 448 monosyllabic pictograms to represent the phonetics of linguistic syllables. This endeavor earned Bouabré the legendary reputation of being another Champollion, in reference to the great scholar and linguist Jean-Paul Champollion (1790–1832) who discovered the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs. Bouabré’s alphabet, which transcribes human sound, reflects the essence of his aspiration to unite humankind.