Born in France of parents from the Ivory Coast, in Africa, and now living in Canada for over 6 years, Ghislain’s journey has him questioning his identity, immigration and territories but also the different cultures that he experiences. His family’s heritage from the Ivory Coast and Ghana further provides the artist with a background full of dialects and mixed language history. The artist had his first photographic exhibition in an apartment in Paris, he has since had many exhibitions in France, England and Canada.
Currently residing in Vancouver, B.C, Ghislain Brown-Kossi has been accepted in to the 2023 artist residency program at La Napoule Art Foundation, France. His first solo exhibition in the Ivory Coast, Africa, was held in February 2023 at Louise Simone Guirandou Gallery, along with curated shows at Dal Schindell Gallery and the French Culture Center, both in Vancouver, BC.
Ghislain Brown-Kossi’s artworks have been featured in Art Hole Magazine 2021, London, UK, L’Express Magazine, France, 2022, Webouest Magazine, CA, 2022, Create! Magazine, Issue 31, Digital, 2022.
Brown-Kossi’s artistic practice includes researching the histories of the symbols that continue to influence and appear in our daily lives. The symbols employed in these works can be found on rock art from the prehistoric period. Some symbols are universal like the spiral, others are cultural and can be found today among branding. Many have roots in African languages that pre-date Latin, and their influence can be found globally. For centuries symbols have been a way to act on the conscience, to organize, to communicate and to evoke the spiritual. These works mean to play with their polysemous nature, in the hope that you will reflect on the meanings you see. “My aim is to interact and communicate with all people, to stir curiosity, encourage deeper investigation into our connectedness. I want people to look, to discover for themselves, to communicate and feel towards one another.”
In Brown-Kossi’s series, “Artifact”, the artist pushes the boundary of his earlier exploration of a juxtaposing concept: the archaeological pop artist. After a recent trip to numerous countries of his roots, including France and the Ivory Coast, Brown-Kossi explored museums and archeological sites of Afro-descendant frescoes, carvings, and other historical and contemporary art pieces. Using this inspiration, Brown-Kossi is hoping to restore society to our ancestral beginnings. One important reference is the contribution of ancient Egypt to the evolution of the written word as we know it.
The textured surface in Artifact is made of built-up plaster and sand, which point towards the past. The contrasting vivid pop colors act as a signal to the present and future. In this way, the artist is simultaneously portraying multiple timelines and exploring their connectedness. The recollection of what has been lost and what is yet to be discovered in the future is another underlying theme in this new work. Additionally, the artist is interested in archival methods of museums and private collections and the repatriation of historical artifacts to their rightful owners, often Africa. The naming of each piece, 22:22 for example, references the idea of a future archival system yet to be in place for his works. The symbols on each artwork are a continuation of previous series, namely Symbols and Believe, and they invite the viewer to imagine a new language and question its origin.
As the artist describes it, human being tends to want to dissociate, to separate colours, origins, religions, etc. In Brown-Kossi’s new series “Umoja”, the artist visually conveys how one can be different while being part of an interconnected whole. His three cultures are now part of him and he represents them with different shapes and colours; the number 3 also resonated with the artist as it symbolically represents balance, self-expression and free thinking.
Born: 1983, Lyon, France
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2023 AKWAABA, Kostuik Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2023 Future Artifact II, Dal Schindell Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2023 Future Artifact, French Culture Center, Vancouver, BC
2023 Umoja, Art Rentals & Sales, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2022 Believe, Kostuik Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2021 Are We Still Together, Port Moody Arts Center, Port Moody, BC
2019 Mindset, Alliance francaise de Vancouver, Vancouver, BC
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2023 Symbol System, Gallery Louise Simone Guirandou, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
2022 Deck the Wall, Idaho, USA
2022 Artist Residency, Réseau N.O., Saskatoon, SK
2022 Splash, Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2022 25th Anniversary Group Exhibition, Kostuik Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2022 Place, Gibson Public Art Gallery, Curated by France Trepanier, Sunshine Coast, BC
2022 Emerging, Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
2021 Art Rich, Richmond Arts Coalition, Richmond, BC
2021 Place, Evergreen Gallery, Curated by France Trepanier, Coquitlam, BC
2021 Non-Essentiel, Studio 17, Vancouver, BC
2021 Spotlight, Federation of Canadian Artists, Granville Island, BC
2020 YacYacTacTac A Virtual Show of Artist Multiples, Vancouver, BC
2020 Place, Two Rivers Gallery, Curated by France Trepanier, Prince George, BC
2019 Bastille Day Festival, Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre, Vancouver, BC
2018 Galerie Nomade 1.0, Main Alley Building, Vancouver, BC
2017 Emerging Artists, Roam Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2022 L’EXPRESS Magazine, FR
2022 Webouest Magazine, CA
2022 Create! Magazine, Issue 31, Digital
2020 Art Hole Magazine, Art Hole: 10, London, UK
2020 Art Theory, MoMA, NYC, online
Member Canada Council for the Arts
Member Federation of Canadian Artists
Member Le Collectif, French Visual Artists from British Columbia
Member Port Moody Art Centre
Member Seymour Art Gallery