Dossounon Koné

Fono blacksmith, sculptor and cloth painter, c. 1908–
Odia, Côte d‘Ivoire

The Fono blacksmith Dossounon Koné from Odia carved wooden figures and painted flafani (fla-cloths). He explained how it developed that, being a blacksmith and at the age of about 35 year, he painted his first cloth:

"I learned it myself. I asked someone to paint a shirt for me, and he declined because he had a lot of work. I knew what it takes to produce the color, so I just cut the leaves, made the color and painted a cloth. The other painter and I argued at the place where one washes cloths. Since that time I paint myself.“ (Dossounon Koné, 1977)

Dossounon Koné won the foundation paint from the leaves of the Nigalama tree. He painted his cloths first with this light color and covered it afterwards with a special iron-containing liquid that changes the color into black. Dossounon Koné drew geometric patterns, using different stamps.

The pair of figures carved by Dossounon Koné shows straight shoulders, an elaborate coiffure with fine lines, the figures are painted black except of the eyes and the mouth, they stand on a rectangular base. Both figures are stylistically very similar, it is striking that only one figure shows feet.

Dossounon Koné with a pair of figures made by him. Photo: Karl-Heinz Krieg, Odia (Region of Boundiali, Côte d'Ivoire), 1976



Private notes taken in the field, Karl-Heinz Krieg

Text: Helen Krieg and Daniel Mato, PhD