The artist I present is Charly d’Almeida. He is a painter and a sculptor.
He was born in Cotonou (Benin) in 1958. Charly D’ almeida is a plastics technician who began in self-taught then did a training course famous painter in Benin during 4 years.
His realizations become soaked with ancestral faiths and with cultural traditions. He worked a lot on the iron god, the divinity Ogun (voodoo) which he represents by the sign or by the material in his composition. In Benin, more than a religion the voodoo is a culture, a tradition reason why it is often present in artist works.
The references to Africa and to its culture are also represented through the used materials: it is materials which remind him his childhood, natural materials such as the sand, the sheets, the wood etc.
Colors are hot: ochre, yellow, brown.
The sculptures of Charly d’ Almeida associate essentially two materials: the metal and the old wood. The artist is particularly conscientious as for the choices of materials: “ I get back these fragments in the street or in the villages. They have they the mark of and of the history, of the cult. Wood for example is always very old. Most of these pieces had their place in everyday life or traditional.
Could you introduce yourself?
I am a painter and sculptor. I lived in France but I’m definitely returned to Benin for 4 years.
I paint since 1988. I started the sculptor 13 years ago.
Why this evolution?
Language, transmission of my emotion on a painting did not fit me. I was looking for another way to describe what I wanted to say and show. I wanted to show in my expressions differently, seeking to touch, to feel. That’s how I have evolved into sculpture
It is a material that in 3 dimensions that allowed to get the feeling I wanted.
Why did you choose this profession?
I am passionate about drawing since childhood, I constantly drew what caused a lot of tension with parents who did not understand this interest in drawing. I have also always loved tinkering to give expressions and life to my imagination. In primary it was accentuated because I was drawing all the time, both in the classroom and at home. Also it’s important to know that older artists from Benin, those of the older generation do not set a good example, many of them had stories of lives quite “tumultuous” which frightened my parents.
What is your background? Your influences?
I trained for 4 years by a great artist from Benin: Joseph Kpobly. I will not say that it influenced my work but he directed it (or guided)?.
Then I had the chance to travel, I have done research on art, I wanted to know more, teach me. I met the sculptor Winny, it was a decisive encounter that influenced my work.
I was also greatly influenced by Benin African artists but also artists from Togo and other neighboring countries
What inspires me is essentially my daily worries. I express these feelings by transcribing them on paints or sculptors. It is true that it is in particularly difficult times that my work is the strongest, most inspired.
When I was younger, and I unknown my work was totally different. Today with the fame, my work does not have the same depth.
It is a different intensity.
I lived many years in France, so what Western life also influences my work. My path between Europe and Africa changed me and broadens my horizon and so my inspiration.
What is the step you prefer to create?
Generally, I prefer the final stage because it makes me forget the initial stage because it can be long at times.
When you create, you have a clear idea of the desired outcome?
When I work on a specific topic, usually I know exactly where I’m going and I do not deviate along the way. But sometimes I also start a creation by setting myself the goal but in the end, the result is different that what I was expected.
Where do you work?
In France my studio was located at home.
In Benin, I preferred partitioning artistic life / work and family life. When I’m at home with family, I’m 100%.
Are you in associations, groups, collectives or other artists? If yes, why?
I am part of the club rotarie.
I am also a member of several associations that promote young artists plastic worldwide.
I have also initiated the “experimental Cenacle,” which is a residence for the benefit of ten young painters whose works are predestined to a promising future if we framed them and gives them the tools for success.