Le monde cherche un futur marks an aesthetic, as well as an ideological evolution in the work of Ousmane Niang. In a series of three paintings, Ousmane Niang breaks away from the figurative scenes he usually depicts and ventures toward compositions on the verge of abstraction. All three, introduce a human figure into the artist's traditional bestiary. There is no sharp dichotomy between man and beast or even between species, but it is rather an evocation of the diversity of beings as a whole.
In this new chapter, Ousmane Niang extends the lines of thought he has developed in the past and disseminates the elements necessary to establish the foundations of a sustainable future and respond to the challenges involved. He encourages individuals to reinvent themselves in a collective commitment supported by youth and carried out by education.
Ousmane Niang's work aims to make his audience question research and create, his arch of future-seeking animals naturally features an iconography linked to education through the traditional motif of the book, but also the telephone - anchoring its purpose in contemporary society. The new means of communication reveal to be an infinite source of knowledge and a tool for mediation.
Within one of the canvases, a monkey is reading, accompanied by a curious meerkat. The book is at the centre of the composition, and becomes the main subject. It is around it that people gather, the pointillist motif aims towards it, while the background is composed - uncharacteristically for the artist - of irregular colour patches. The manual is bathed in a luminous yellow, it lights up the canvas. Its sunny hue reverberates on the plant elements that grow around it. Colour, and by extension culture, becomes a source of life and it lends its hues to nature. Ousmane Niang, with his pictorial verb, addresses that knowledge makes life grow. Thus the future he draws is based on knowledge and education, the thirst for learning, which leads to the mastery of contemporary subjects, is the fundamental pillar of a prosperous future.
Ousmane Niang used to stage the social hierarchy through the figure of the animalised man and the animal that remains wild; this split is no longer so clear-cut. On the contrary, the anthropomorphic figures reach out to the other animals. This idea of taming goes hand in hand with the solidarity emerging from the entire composition. However, the dominant side of the relationship that Ousmane Niang exposed in his series Jeux de cartes (2020-2021) is symbolised through the figure of the firmly held fish. This position of superiority could be a source of de-motivation for young people and risks degradation in developing societies. Thus, Le monde cherche un futur marks an aesthetic, as well as an ideological evolution in the work of Ousmane Niang. In a series of three paintings, Ousmane Niang breaks away from the figurative scenes he usually depicts and ventures toward compositions on the verge of abstraction. All three, introduce a human figure into the artist's traditional bestiary. There is no sharp dichotomy between man and beast or even between species, but it is rather an evocation of the diversity of beings as a whole. Ousmane Niang focused on man as ‘Homo Sapiens' within the context of the evolution of monkey to man. On the canvas, symmetrical to the simian figure, he evokes temporality in reference to the Darwinian theory of evolution. The roots that extend the bodies reinforce this idea of genealogy and heritage. Thus, the Senegalese painter invokes the past and present of humanity to suggest its future. Beings shall not be thought in opposition but in parallel. By extension, Ousmane Niang applies this metaphor to humans and nations, the artist's paintings teach us to build the future in cohesion rather than in adversity. It is a call to renounce conflict, to put aside ego and personal interests because the key to a better future lies in a collective movement. In conclusion, Ousmane shows individuals who coexist in peace, those who merge with nature, mixing and blending their bodies with the roots of a tree, while also depicting harmony and cohesion through fantasised nature.
Previously discreet, the floral elements sometimes emerge as a mutation of the pointillist motif. Whilst individuals and nature merge, in the future predicted by Ousmane Niang, man has found his path among the living world. Following the image of the rhizome developed by Edouard Glissant - itself borrowed from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari - Ousmane Niang calls to build a composite culture. Rather than annihilating one or the other, he invites us to draw on the richness of each to compose the future together. As Felwine Sarr points out in his essay, Habiter le monde (2017): "To inhabit the world is to conceive oneself as belonging to a space larger than one's ethnic group, one's nation... it is to fully inhabit the histories and riches of the plural cultures of humanity."
Thus, in Le monde cherche un futur, Ousmane Niang invites the audience to dream of a better future.