lets talk About Art – half way – Kh Bamba

Kh Bamba, ‘Bassari’, collage of acrylic paint, textile, woven yarn, 125 x 80 cm, 2021
Kh Bamba, ‘Ashanti Akwaba’, collage of acrylic paint, textile, woven yarn, 105 x 70 cm, 2021
Kh Bamba, ‘Gaawu’, collage of acrylic paint, textile, woven yarn, 150 x 80 cm, 2021

Kh Bamba (1991) is a visual artist and graphic designer from Dakar, Senegal, where he lives and works. A graduate of the National School of Arts Senegal.

Kh Bamba: ‘I think we are in an identity crisis, people don’t care about their own culture and tradition, let alone someone else’s. What inspires me is the culture of the people around me, my history but also of people elsewhere. Once you know your own background, it is easier to understand and respect others.’

Kh Bamba creates colorful works with paint, yarn and textiles to reflect on different cultures and their traditional and modern expressions. He wants to show that all cultures are different, but that in the end we are all people of flesh and blood. He tells passionately: ‘My work is a call to end discrimination and racism. The world should be about tolerance, brotherhood, harmony and social justice rather than xenophobia. I developed a concept that I call Mix-Tissage, which means that I am mixing and weaving cultural elements from different backgrounds together so that they form a new unity, in harmony with each other.

He is inspired by Senegalese art history and in particular by the philosophy of ‘négritude’ and the School of Dakar, which the first president of Senegal, Leopold Senghor (1960-1980), founded. He was a poet, philosopher, writer and president who had a warm heart for the arts. Besides, the patchwork clothes of followers of the Senegalese religious community ‘Baye Fall’ is an important source of inspiration. He emphasis: ‘Every piece of fabric stands for one person, and only together we are strong as human beings. We have to unite.’

Currently, Kh Bamba’s work deals with African heritage stolen over the years by the colonial rulers. Kh Bamba: ‘The worst thing is that the youth in Senegal has absolutely no idea about their own heritage. You have to go to museums in Europe if you want to know something about it. It’s time to return heritage.’ His work shows masks and statues of different ethnic groups, with cheerful motifs and a luxurious appearance, such as gold thread. After all, these are precious objects. He proudly tells that friends call him the ambassador, because he is always looking for contact people from other cultures and wants to connect.

Kh Bamba in his studio in Dakar, Senegal.