Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien
Born in 1990, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien has lived in Paris since leaving Côte d’Ivoire in 2004 during the civil war. In her work, she seeks to juxtapose diverse cultural elements, bringing them together to form new, syncretic pieces with additional layers of meaning. Interested in the complex relationships between notions of a universal popular culture, everyday life, and traditional handmade construction processes, Manlanbien creates physical encounters between industrial and artisanal materials. She is inspired greatly by the traditional practices of the matriarchal Akan society in Côte d’Ivoire, who historically crafted weights in order to value gold.
The artist speaks of her intention to create ephemeral, poetic narrations which are in perpetual renewal, resulting in tangible pieces which both ‘witness' and ‘trace’ past diverse cultural histories. She sees her practice as an ongoing development and an exploration into the intersectional positionalities of women, which she represents in part through an experimental approach to the configurations of her works from one exhibition to the next.
With each installation she strives to create poetic spaces, each piece manifesting a separate plural identity, representing their myriad cultural influences. Manlanbien defines herself as simultaneously a storyteller of poems and maker of forms.
Manlanbien has exhibited widely since being awarded her MA in Fine Art at the National Superior School of Art in Paris, having shown previously in London, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, USA, Berlin and most recently in Ireland, where she took part in the 38th International EVA Biennale in Limerick. Since EVA, she has been supported by the French Institute and the French Embassy in Ireland.