Color is life, explains his powerful voice Samba Diallo in the middle of the twenty paintings of the exhibition « African sun Held in December 2017 in D akar. The basketball physics of the self-taught artist claimed and assumed is proportional to the size of his canvases.
Coming to the world 2 years before the years 68, period of protest of the youth in Senegal and in France, two countries in which the artist has a part of his family, Samba Diallo received the gift of drawing. The native of La Medina, not far from the administrative quarter of Dakar, Senegal, tells that he has always drawn, only the supports of his paintings havechanged.
Samba Diallo has remained constant in his love of art despite the lack of optimism from a part of his family. Today, the artist who savored his journey so far, has been helping young artists for 10 years and wishes to transmit an artistic legacy to his youngest son with whom Samba shares the love of brushes and basketball.
During his childhood, longtime before selling his paintings in France and Senegal, Samba Diallo was a volunteer designer. Students came from all corners of his native Medina and neighborhood Liberty 6 where he grew up, to entrust him to decorating their notebooks. The latter being required to applicants to the entrance examination in 6 th and Certificate of Elementary Studies Completion.
This fervent disciple of the influential Mouride Brotherhood did not learn to paint with a master painter. ” In my family, it is said that an uncle I did not know was a painter ” confess Samba who learned by observing other paintings and was especially inspired by the most beautiful work : the divine creation. ” Colors are life, I love colors as I love the sun, a visual and spiritual symbol ”
Samba Diallo remembers his first paintings, actually his first drawings on plywood ! ” I was convinced to make masterpieces, but it was work done with more passion than technique “states Samba without any doubt, the look appeased, sheltered behind his vision glasses.
Slavery was one of the themes of the two artworks that Samba transported 26 kilometers between Dakar and Saint Louis of Senegal to present to Jacob Yacouba. It was in 1985. ” When I entered the studio, I was more than ever confident in my desire to be a painter ! It was a magnificent room , vast and impressive ! There was a large table of 2m, hectoliters of real painting and especially beautiful paintings ”
Jacob Yacouba took the time to observe the plywood drawings of the young Samba Diallo, gave the young man several technical advices and concluded with an injunction that the artist still applies : work more !
In addition to drawing, Samba Diallo loves basketball, he plays with SICAP Liberté . He continues his career playing with the college Jeanne d’Arc team, a private high-school that he joined after his failure in the CFEE in public education. The young man will follow this sport- studies course , playing in junior, cadets, seniors, learning architecture drawing by the way, and often leaving his markers to draw his friends and classmates .
Portraits, abstract, mid-figure, mid-abstract, painting coffee and many other artistic styles, Samba Diallo tried everything in his youth. ” When I liked a work, mentally I was convinced I could do better, I tried and I think I often managed to understand the technique, even if I destroyed some paintings, supports and wasted a lot of time and paint during my self-training. ”
Both literally and figuratively, art takes more and more space in Samba Diallo’s life. Canvases accumulate in the family home where priority is given to the study of science. His siblings, 2 brothers and 5 sisters, do not approve his artistic orientation and they hope that Samba goes on to something else while growing up.
This hope is broken when the young schoolboy stops studying to devote himself to painting. Decision announced shortly before his first collective exhibition in 1987 at the Blaise Senghor Cultural Center.
This first real jump in the professional artistic community leaves Samba with a mixed feeling : ” several visitors to the exhibition appreciated my work, but I did not sell any paintings ”
Two years later Samba Diallo’s works have been selected by Unicef, meanwhile, when his older sister leaves the family home to get married, she takes two canvases.
These two paintings will be noticed by Mactar Sylla then director of TV5 Africa. The media man detects the potential of the artist and contacts him. ” One Sunday morning, I see TV5 cameras coming to the family home to interview me Says Samba Diallo who remembers being happy to feel his work recognized.
Mactar Sylla buys him two paintings « one was not finished, but Mactar paid cash and told me to deliver it to him after finishing it ”
The story will continue with TV5 and a few months after the television show in 1995, t Mactar Sylla acquired for TV5, some cards painted by Samba ” I saw the look of my family changing, they finally understood that art could bring money and notoriety ”
Becoming more and more confident, Samba continues to learn, to perfect his technique by making reliefs and mosaics on his paintings. ” I painted everything that came to mind. I was a little rebellious. Some tried to reframe me, I did not obey them, fiercely attached to my freedom of expression, I did what I wanted to do. ”
At that time, Samba Diallo is so immersed in his art that he has ” ebb of images During his sleep. ” I thought I was losing my mind ! He adds when he remembers that singular period.
He exhibited at the Canadian Embassy, then in 2002, made his first solo exhibition at the Blaise Senghor Cultural Center.
In 2004, his younger brother living in France is visiting Dakar for the holidays and returns to France with canvases. The work seduces Europeans who advise Samba’s brother to bring him to France.
In 2006, having obtained a visa to go to the fair of Cergy, Samba Diallo leaves Dakar. During this event, he sells twenty paintings. ” It was unheard of! My works had a hit as soon as I finished a painting, it was purchased ”
After the fair in May, the works of Samba Diallo seduce Christian Pierret former minister and former mayor. Following more than twenty exhibitions, Samba is invited to the International Festival of Hagiography at the Pierre Noel Museum.
The works Samba travel gain in reputation with all these exhibitions : Paris, Biaritz , Dax, Vittel, Brussels. On December 15, 2015, Samba Diallo returns to Senegal, the artist exhibits 22 paintings at the National Gallery. The theme is all : ” back to the roots ”
Exactly Two years day by day, Samba Diallo presents about twenty paintings at Kemboury Gallery . Theme of the exhibition : ” African Sun ”
One of the injuries that the artist remembers took place in 2016. Samba Diallo learns that his work has seduced other French art lovers, everything goes well until the patron who wants to expose discover that the artist is a black. ” I needed a visa to go to France, first I felt the enthusiasm of this patron down, then following my calls he became downright brittle, finally he broke all contact after having clearly stated his thought, he did not want to expose me because I was black ! ”
Samba Diallo began to transmit his passion throughout the period when his studio was at the socio-cultural center of SICAP Liberté 5. The artist has supervised the younger ones, offered them easels, paintings, painting and sometimes contacts so that they can exhibit their works.
Since returning to Senegal, the artist’s main studio has been in his home in the Sacré-Coeur district. ” In general, I have friends at home every night, but sometimes I leave them in the living room to go paint He explains.
To make a great traveling exhibition on peace, it remains one of his projects but Samba Diallo avoids giving too many details, just said it will be to show how on several continents, illustrious men have worked for universal concord by resisting hate from wherever it comes.
Samba is not exclusively a painter, in France he made sculpture from the recovery. The artist wants to move to iron sculpture, in a style that allows him to stand out.