Interview // Ousmane Niang

Posted by Julie Mathon on

Even if 1-54 New York art fair is postponed, we propose you to discover the artists who were supposed to be featured on our booth, throughout a series of interviews. Today, Ousmane Niang tells us more about his work and future orientations. 

Ousmane Niang, Sans titre, 2020

Ousmane Niang, Untitled, 2020, 170x150 cm

Acrylic on canvas


As an artist, what are your goals?

I am part of the young generation of artists from Dakar, which explores symbolic figuration. I represent societies surrounding me and universal human behaviors.

As an artist, I’m committed to offer contemporary solutions to the issues I observe in my country. The purpose is to make move, travels, and speed easier in Senegal.

 What is your perception of movement and travels between territories?

My artworks already traveled through several countries. I went to Paris to exhibit a few canvases on the occasion of the AKAA art fair in November 2019. Human displacements are the source of every single exchange, in terms of business, intellect, technology…

While they are moving, people always have a goal, a point of departure and a way to move. When they are moving, humans behave, react, and interact.  The road, no matter if it leads to the living room or a foreign country, is motivated by a will of change. It is not always easy.

Movement covers all men’s desires. People take the boat to escape, the plane to meet someone, the bike to go to work, and walk to come back home.

My work aims at pointing out social issues within daily life. I believe that movement perfectly illustrates social cohesion and organization.

For you, In which direction will your work evolve?

I would like to work on the concepts of organization of displacements that I observed when I came to Paris - while I was strolling into the streets of the city – in comparison to Dakar. Journeys’ fluidity gives me some freedom, both when I physically go from one point to another and when I’m painting because in that case, I let my body freely express itself on the canvas.

Feathers also take a more and more important place in my work. In my imaginary, feathers testify from humans’ bad behaviors and lessons received. When their feathers die, birds get rid of them. As they do not matter anymore, they don’t keep them. They throw them as we would get rid of a default or a bad side of our personality.

In terms of technique, would you say that your work changed from your beginnings?

My creation process remains the same. When I go outside, I always carry a sketchbook and my camera.  Thus, I can catch street scenes. I compare them, superimpose them, and then, create my canvases.

From a technical point of view, I make the scenes occurring on my canvases evolve – they were until now, pretty fixed – to more fluid and blurred scenes.

Pointillism technique is ideal because it allows me to break the characters in movement or, at the opposite, to fix the static ones. The individual is sharp while the masses are confused.

My style tends to emancipate from the rules of figuration, superimposing movement to scenes on the same canvas. Colors, at the heart of my work, play a central role in the artwork’s readability and the distinction of the elements.