Obou Gbais, born in 1992 in Guiglo, western Côte d'Ivoire, is a contemporary artist who graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Abidjan with a degree in painting in 2019. He lives and works between Abidjan and Berlin. After experimenting with different techniques, Obou finds his artistic identity which he draws from the cultural traditions of his origins. In the artist's work, the mask acquires a new international visibility and a modern meaning.
Among the Yacouba, the Dan mask has a great sacred dimension. Female Dan masks are known to give great importance to the beauty of the face. The function of these masks is to arbitrate disagreements and to protect newborns. The face of male Dan masks is more realistic. It has a vital force and protects from danger. Obou proudly integrates his traditions and customs into his creations because they are an integral part of his culture. He wishes through a mirror effect to challenge the visitor and invite him to his own cultural introspection.
Since 2017, Obou has exhibited his work in national and international exhibitions. In 2021, he presents his drawings on paper in the online exhibition 1-54 New York. During the summer of 2021, he participates in residencies in Paris, Chambéry, Montpellier and Sète. In October 2022, he was exhibited by Tumo Gallery at the Scope Art Show in Miami Beach. In Abidjan, Obou presented his exhibition "Man Dan" at LouiSimone Guirandou Gallery. A large installation of cardboard houses was presented in March 2022 at the 193 Gallery as part of the exhibition "Babi is sweet" in Paris. For the Dakar Biennale Off 2022, Obou exhibited his art at the Loman Art Gallery. He was also exhibited at the Vytautas Kasiulis Museum of Art in Vilnius, at the Filafriques in Geneva and at the exhibition "Contemporary Identities of the Ivory Coast" in 2022.