Oumarou Ilboudo


Batik Artist

Oumarou Ilboudo, born in Ouagadougou in 1983, is a batik artist.

He began his formation in 2002 at the Centre National d'Artisanat et d'Art (CNAA) in Ouagadougou and since 2005 manages the center's batik department.

In 2007 he obtained the master diploma in fine arts and batik.

From 2007 to 2010 he taught artists in Benin.

In 2010 and 2012 he participated in the Semaine Nationale de la Culture (SNC) in Bobo-Dioulasso.

In 2013 he won the first price in the category batik/bogolan in a contest initiated by Doctors of the World and the Ministère de la Culture et du Tourisme with subject ”The problem of mortality of pregnant women and small children in connection with financial barriers to healthcare access“.

2018 participation at Salon International d'Artisanat (SIAO) in Ouagadougou

The subjects that Oumarou Ilboudo deals with in his batiks span a broad range. A major part of his works is dedicated to traditional life in Burkina Faso. The harvest, daily work, village life and dancing are recurring motives. Recently he is taking joy in alienating these idyllic settings by incorporating skyscrapers and big city skylines in his designs.

Along with this, there are more intellectually demanding works to be discovered, such as the two large pictures Entrée en ville (above left) and Sortie de la ville (above right), which are concerned with the nature of big cities as places that attract the rural population, as everything seems to be possible there, and which they leave frustrated and hurt after discovering the decline behind the façade. Or the composition L'égalité entre l'homme et la femme pour un lendemain meilleur (below left), that uses numerous symbols to depict the cultural heritage of Burkina Faso which equally involves both sexes. Oumarou Ilboudo is an excellent designer with an enviably effortless way to stage people and objects.

At the same time he is a master of the batik technique and continuously extends it with new textures and color combinations. Some of his works resemble in fact impressionistic paintings. He makes a point of working without retouches and other tricks of the trade.

Batik is a traditional method of dying textiles, which originally stems from Java, the main island of today's Indonesia. In Javanese language "batik" means simply "draw". However, wax instead of paint is used for drawing.

The wax is applied to the tissue in several steps. The following coloration only dyes the parts of the tissue that have not been covered by wax. The sequence of applying wax and coloring is repeated until the desired pattern results.

The artist has to plan every step exactly and have a precise idea of the final picture, as the result only shows after the last coloration.

The history of batik in Africa began in the first half of the 19th century, when Dutch manufacturers tried to reproduce the hand-crafted Javanese batiks by industrial methods in the Netherlands. Ships charged with those tissues took a stop on their way from Holland to Indonesia at the trading spots along the Gold Coast (today Ghana). There the wax-prints were greatly appreciated - all unlike in Indonesia. The Dutch ended up adapting colors and ornaments to the esthetic expectations of African customers. Until the independence of Ghana in 1957, wax-prints were in fashion in the whole region and had become icons of national identity.

Artists like Oumarou Ilboudo use batik technique to produce pictures on a high artistic level.