Omar Ba. Océan Atlantique 3 (Atlantic Ocean 3). 2021. Private Collection, Switzerland-Geneva. © Omar Ba. Photo: Philipp Hänger. Courtesy of the artist and Wilde

Omar Ba: Political Animals

Overview

This is the first U.S museum exhibition of Omar Ba (born Dakar, Senegal, 1977), one of today’s leading contemporary African artists.

The Geneva- and Dakar-based painter is acclaimed for his site-specific installations and kaleidoscopic, large-scale compositions on black backgrounds that merge the intimacy and detail often associated with drawing with the scale and grandeur of contemporary history painting. Thematically, Ba’s work explores the exercise of power in all its guises, exemplifying the Aristotelian dictum that humans are by nature political animals. His images encompass a range of people and subjects—from African dictators to U.S. foreign aid—as well as real and imaginary creatures that together create a rich social tapestry.

The exhibition includes approximately 15 paintings made on canvas and corrugated cardboard supports, inventive modular works made using shoeboxes, and a site-specific mural. Together these works demonstrate the technical mastery and depth of an artist who fuses scenes of everyday life in Senegal with an experimental and highly unique touch.

This exhibition is organized by Leslie Cozzi, BMA Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.