Ivorian Neo-Expressionist Ouattara Watts

A  painter originally from Côte d’Ivoire, Ouattara Watts art is described as everything from neo-expressionist to primitive pop

Bursting with color and layered in fabrics and objects picked up from his global travels, Watts’ paintings are  entrenched in his own style of Neo-Expressionism. Cryptic serial numbers abound, alluding to a secret code that only he knows about, but one that could potentially be worked out through clever deciphering or a deep understanding of West African cosmology. The mysticism that prevails reflects a coalescent spirituality, his beliefs not tied to one religion or another, but that together are very much a part of his enduring creative passion.

Although known in his own right, it’s difficult not to associate Watts with the legendary artist Jean-Michael Basquiat. The two met in Paris while Watts was studying at the renowned L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and while their friendship was short-lived due to Basquiat’s death, Watts considers him almost like a soulmate. Basquiat convinced him to move to NYC, where Watts gave rise to African art with prominent shows at the Gagosian and Vrej Baghoomian galleries.