Abidjan and its influencers

PEINTRE OBOU, Visual artist

“I love Abidjan for its infectious energy, its dabali*, the warmth of the people and, above all, the party scene. Abidjan is everything!”

Born in 1992, Obou Gbais is a young painter of the Ivorian creative scene. He is known for his colourful masks mixing tradition and modernity. Behind these mysterious faces, you find not only art, but also a committed artist. Marked by the war, he depicts Ivorian society in a raw and truthful way that shows both the ugly and beautiful sides of things. This was the essence of an artistic movement called “Braid Art”. Obou does not hesitate to multiply his artistic performances, notably with his gigantic mural that he painted in Abobo, always with the ambition of changing the way people look at things.

LAFALAISE DION, Fashion designer

“I had just earned my secondary school diploma that year. I had to leave the town of Divo where I grew up to go to Abidjan, the capital, the sweetest place in the world. I was finally about to experience it for myself. I had to live with my aunt who lived out in 2 Plateaux, in those old buildings that saw every bit of Abidjan’s rapid urbanisation. 

I would walk down Latrille Boulevard every day to get to the establishment I was going to at the time. Along the way, there was a massive wall and huge trees covered with leaves. I started reading what I saw written on that massive wall: “Ananias Leki Dago”. It was a name. And that was the first time I saw the Donwahi Foundation. That name written in large letters was the name of one of the most talented Ivorian photographers who was presenting an exhibition there. I repeated his name to myself so many times that day. And then, as time went by, there were other names, other artists I would discover on that same wall, and then go look up on Google. The Donwahi Foundation, for me, represents a place where knowledge is within reach, a place for research, to connect with nature, but above all, a home for artists that gives them a chance to showcase their talent. This year, I had the opportunity to make my first artistic performance there. A childhood dream, finally come true.”

Lafalaise Dion is an Ivorian fashion designer. She has become famous for her beautiful ornaments made from cowrie shells, which have been used for centuries in West Africa. Her creations, by drawing from ancestral African art, contribute to the promotion of African culture throughout the world. It didn’t take long for her to reach a great level of success. The designer has appeared in many of the biggest fashion magazines and made pieces for international stars, including musician Beyoncé.

KONNIE TOURÉ, Radio and TV host, producer and actress.

“My absolute favourite has to be Hôtel Particulier. I love this hotel situated in the heart of Abidjan. There’s something about its modern design that creates a peaceful and romantic ambiance. I am a huge fan of this place and others like that feel like a refuge from the busy urban city life. Abidjan is a great city to live in and is a place where having a good time just comes naturally. So, how about you? Will you come and take full advantage of these places and discover why Abidjan is the sweetest city in the world? I highly recommend you do.”

Konnie Touré is one of the most followed female public figures in Côte d’Ivoire. She is a radio and TV host, producer, singer, actress and, today, the managing director of one of the highest-rated radio stations in the country. Her professional track record and vision make her an icon for the younger generation. Konnie Touré is a ball of optimism and energy.