Art for Life: “Mixed Media Artworks and Glass Paintings by Ibou Ndoye”

September 21 - November 2, 2014

Ibrahima Ndoye, who goes by “Ibou,” has been an artist all his life. Born in Senegal to a family who expressed their creativity in tie-dying, embroidery, welding and dressmaking, Ndoye learned from an early age that nearly any material can lend itself to creative hands.

“When I was a boy, my mother would tease me, saying that if I didn’t create something, my hands were blind,” he says. He grew up surrounded by textiles in rich colors and bold patterns, in a culture that was very creative – Dakar, he says, is one of West Africa’s most progressive cities. So it only seemed natural that Ndoye was drawn to art as a vocation, beginning his career as a painter in the late 1980s while still living in Senegal. He was influenced by a popular movement that encouraged artists to embellish the urban environment by painting murals on buildings and walls – he painted several in the suburban city of Pikine that were featured in a French documentary in 1990.

He then learned the technique of glass painting, a Middle Eastern tradition that had been introduced to Senegal a hundred years earlier. Adding an innovation of his own, Ndoye began using broken pieces of glass, some of it repurposed from old windows and other discarded glass. He feels it conveys another layer of meaning, about the broken communications and broken relationships that people persevere to overcome.

“The more you talk with people the more you know who they are,” he adds. He views art as a vital way of communicating. When he moved to the United States in 2001, he was initially drawn to Hudson County because he had friends here, but stayed because of the vibrant arts community. He joined several artist organizations, and helped Liz Cohen and other Hoboken artists to found the hob’art artists gallery group. Through these contacts, his work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in and around Hudson County. He also has taught several art workshops, in the homeless shelter and at the Hoboken Library. “People really value art here – it’s like a cultural exchange,” he observes.

Lately, he’s been fascinated with the question of recycling and laundromats, inspired in part by the post-Sandy clean-up. “Everyday objects have an importance for me,” he says. “And finding new uses for everyday objects is not just a way to help our ecosystem; it also makes the city beautiful and clean again.”

Several of the works that he will exhibit in his new show, “Mixed Media Artworks and Glass Paintings by Ibou Ndoye,” in the Museum’s Upper Gallery will be brightly colored creations made of cut and assembled pieces of detergent bottles and other laundry paraphernalia. In addition, he will show several glass paintings on salvaged windows he has collected around Hoboken from home remodeling projects. He enjoys giving a second function and new artistic life to windows, which have always been a part of his art. The show opens on Sept. 21, with a free reception from 2 – 5 p.m., and remains on view through Nov. 2.

To see more examples of Ndoye’s work, visit his website, www.iboundoye.com.

Click here to see a virtual gallery of the exhibit.

The exhibit is supported by a block grant from the State/County Partnership program for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.