What are we meant to do with the large, iron chassis of a car? Oil barrels, a scrapped shovel crane, the wing of a plane, an old fridge door, or a garden gate? For most of us they are no more than metal surfaces, but for Hamed Ouattara and his team they are valuable materials waiting to be injected with new life. In their hands, the surplus scrap materials of society are transformed into beautiful furniture and interior designs.
The rough, worn surfaces in collaged colours echo with industrial modernity and urbanity, and despite having a new form and function also bear testimony to the previous life of the metal. There is often a brand name – a strategically placed word like ‘Cat’ (from the brand Caterpillar) or ‘Total’ (from the petrol station) – on Ouattara’s cupboards or tables.
Fine ornamentation and patterns from railings cover a green cupboard door, skilled metalwork moulds the futuristically shaped furniture. The pleasure of craftsmanship and joy of creating something new out of something old permeates everything Ouattara touches. Through his furniture the artist renews the local design traditions of Burkina Faso, but also African design as such. For Holbæk, Ouattara has created a brand-new work using a wrecked car from the local scrapyard.
Born in December 1971 in Ouagadougou, Hamed Ouattara first studied accountancy, then applied design at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, before establishing himself as a self-taught painter and later as an industrial designer. He has won several design prizes, the most recent being the Africa Design Award 2014. He has exhibited widely in Belgium, Italy, Spain and USA. He runs his own gallery in Ouagadougou.