Soly Cissé

Born 1969 in Senegal

Lives and works in Dakar, Senegal


Soly Cissé is a mixed media painter and sculptor from Dakar, and is one of Senegal's most celebrated artists.


Cissé's artworks are profoundly inspired by and contextualized through his upbringing. He grew up during an epoch of transition, following Senegal's period of social and political unrest, where art served as mode of social activism and self-expression for the disenfranchised persons. His work, like a portal where the imagined and physical realms convene, intuitively explores notions of duality and repetition; tradition and modernity, the spiritual and the secular.


"I think and reflect a lot about humans and their relationships. Relationships between humans, the confrontation between humans and nature, humans and religion and then I challenge myself and experiment."


Cissé's spontaneous painterly movements, textured accents and neo-expressionistic techniques form depictions reflective of the dissolution of society's moral thresholds, shifts attributable to globalization and modernization. Shapeless human characters distort into anthropomorphic shadows of the other self; identities lost in translation from the past to the contemporary, and abstract lines and bold strokes of contrasting hues intersect, creating a layered configuration of Cissé's mythical visions.


Cissé graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar, in 1996. He has had numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums in Europe, the Americas and throughout Africa. Cissé's recent exhibitions include Les Mutants, Musée Dapper, Paris; Lumières d'Afriques, African Artists for Development, Palais de Chaillot, Paris (2015); and Solycolor, Musée des Arts Derniers, Paris (2009). His work also featured in the seminal exhibition Africa Remix (2004-2007), Dak'Art - Biennale de l'Art African Contemporain (2006), the Havana Biennial (2000) and Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (1998). He is listed by Forbes as among the top 100 contemporary African Artists based on monetary value alone.