Mistral – Technology, Money and Politics, 2015
The title “Mistral” refers not to the wind, but to a French-designed helicopter carrier. Russia had ordered two of these ships for its Black Sea fleet. President Sarkozy approved the deal, which was expected to inject 1.2 billion euros into the state coffers. When Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, France’s allies ran up a storm: under no circumstances were the ships to be delivered to Russia. Sarkozy’s successor in the presidency, François Hollande, solved the dilemma in a Solomon-like manner: Russia got the money back and the two “Mistrals” were sold to Egypt.
Konaté belongs to the generation of African artists who, with the independence of their countries, developed their own, locally colored idiom. Schooled in Western modernism, he eschewed brushes and canvas to work painterly with traditional textures (woven fabrics) and techniques.