Michel Kodjo

born 1935 in Soumier-Bia, Ivory Coast
Died March 2021 in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast

Michel Kodjo is considered one of the greatest of the first generation of Ivorian painters, and the first of them to show his works in a solo exhibition in Abidjan, in 1957, three years before the Ivory Coast’s independence. This exhibition became the starting point for his international career. Kodjo received a scholarship to l’École des Arts Décoratifs de Nice (1959 - 1960) and also attended l’École des Beaux-Arts de Clermont-Ferrand in France (1968 - 1970). In 1970, he settled in the creative quartier France in Grand-Bassam, where he lived and worked until his death earlier this year.

Concepts of cultural and artistic heritage are significant to Kodjo’s work. His paintings draw on concepts of mysticism and meditation, the enigmatic faces peering out of his most significant works implying reflection and a connection to the divine. In terms of both subject matter and technique, Kodjo elegantly mixed the traditional with the contemporary, creating an unprecedented body of work in which each painting is uniquely expressive.

Kodjo’s works have been exhibited internationally, notably in Paris and New York. He has also received several awards, including the gold medal at the 14th Salon International de Paris.

Biographie / CV