James Houra

born 1952 in Adiaké, Ivory Coast
Died January 2020 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

James Houra is an award-winning artist and academic. He graduated from both L’École Nationale des Beaux-Arts d'Abidjan, where he was a student of the great Ivorian painter Samir Zarour, and L’École des Beaux-Arts de Paris. He then pursued a PhD in art history before returning to Abidjan, where he would eventually become director of L’École nationale des Beaux-Arts.

His vibrant colour palette and checkerboard-style are characteristic of his paintings and reminiscent of the traditional woven Kita- or Kinté Pagne. Houra’s works usually centre around people, showing them in portraits donning traditional fabrics and jewellery, or in bustling market scenes. His paintings clearly engage with themes of cultural heritage and tradition through both subject matter and style.

The accessible language of Houra’s works is appreciated not only by art amateurs - his works have been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in several public and private collections.

Biography / CV