Ousmane Sow

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					         OUSMANE SOW

        Ousmane Sow was born in Dakar in 1935. He started sculpting as a child, then
continued throughout his career as a physiotherapist. It was not until the age of fifty that
he decided to devote himself entirely to sculpture.
        With a driving passion to represent Man, he works in series, focussing on the
ethnic tribes of Africa and, later, on the Native Indians of America. Drawing inspiration
from photography, cinema, history or ethnology, his art rediscovers an epic dimension
that was thought to be lost. Basically figurative, yet exhibiting a concern for truth beyond
realism, his larger than life effigies are sculpted without models. His figures have the
power of a successful blend of great Western classical sculpture and ritual practices of
        When his Nuba series burst onto the scene in the mid 80s, Ousmane Sow put the
heart back into sculpture and Africa into the heart of Europe.
Moving from one continent to another, his creation on the Battle of the Little Big Horn
paid homage to the last warriors of a same sun.
From the tribes of Africa to the Native Indians of America, he seeks what is fluid in these
upright men. It is as if he were holding up as a mirror to these proud, artistic, nomadic
tribes, this sedentary art that they lack: sculpture.

        First shown in 1987 in the French Cultural Centre in Dakar, where he introduced
his first series on Nuba wrestlers, the artist exhibited six years later, in 1993, at the
Kassel Dokumenta in Germany. Then, in 1995, he exhibited at the Palazzo Grassi on the
occasion of the centennial of the Venice Biennale.
        His exhibition on the Pont des Arts in Paris in 1999 attracted more than three
million visitors.
        Since then his work has been in exhibited in over twenty locations, including the
Whitney Museum in New York.


       In 1984 Ousmane Sow produced his first series of sculptures: the Nuba
       In 1988, the Masai were created, in 1991 the Zulu, and in 1993 the Peuhl (or
       In 1999 he created “The Battle of the Little Big Horn”, a series of thirty-five pieces
       exhibited on the Pont des Arts, an exhibition that brought together all his series.
       In 2001, the Coubertin and the Susse Foundries were given the task of casting his
       first bronzes, taken from his originals. Since then eighteen bronzes have been
       That same year he produced a commissioned work for the International Olympic
       Committee, “The Runner on the Start Line”, now in the Olympic Museum in
       In 2002, at the request of “Doctors of the World” he created a sculpture of Victor
       Hugo for the “Rejection of exclusion and poverty day”.
       The bronze of this sculpture was commissioned by the municipality of Besancon,
       Hugo’s native city. The work was erected in the city in the autumn of 2003 in the
       Place des Droits de l’Homme (“Rights of Man Square”).
       Ousmane Sow is currently working on the creation of small Nuba sculptures and
       monumental sculptures in homage to the great men who have marked his life. So,
       following in the wake of Victor Hugo, images of his father and Nelson Mandela are
       being created in Dakar.

- “Ousmane Sow”        Editions Revue Noire
                     Distribution Hazan
- “Le soleil en face” Editions Le P’tit jardin
                      Distribution Actes Sud
- “Ousmane Sow, Le Pont des Arts 1999”
                        Editions Le P’tit Jardin
                        Distribution Actes Sud

À paraître: “Ousmane Sow” Editions Actes Sud


- Ousmane Sow (1996 )
International Emmy Awards - New York (nomination 1997)
International Biennial of Art films – Beaubourg (selection 1996)
FIFA - Montreal International Film Festival on Art (selection 1997)
Edition Le P’tit Jardin – Distribution Actes Sud

- “Ousmane Sow, Le soleil en face” (2000)
Montreal International Film Festival on Art Prize - FIFA 2001.

Edition Le P’tit Jardin – Distribution Actes Sud


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