Baba Wagué Diakité
Baba Wagué Diakité was born in Bamako, Mali, in West Africa. His mother gave him her father’s name of “Wagué”, which means “A Man of Trust”. He spent his early childhood with his grandmother in the village of Kassaro for his first education. There, he tended his uncle’s sheep and helped in his grandmother’s rice and peanut fields. His free time was spent with friends in the bush; catching lizards and protecting rice and peanut fields from birds and monkeys.
Later Wagué moved to Bamako to be with his mother and to get formal schooling. He maintains his best education came from stories that were told him by his grandmother and mother about animals and the First People.
Wagué grew up drawing–first for his own pleasure, then for schoolwork and finally for part-time jobs. He first learned claywork however, after meeting American artist Ronna Neuenschwander, and moving to Portland, Oregon in the US. There, he began using clay as his canvas.
Wagué had his first solo exhibition at the Jamison Thomas Gallery in Portland, Oregon and since has shown in group and solo shows throughout the United States. His work has received critical acclaim in international magazines such as American Ceramics, Ceramics Monthly, African Arts, and AFRIQUE/Etats Unis. He taught in the Oregon public school systems through the Art-in-Education, and the Young Audiences program. He has traveled throughout the U.S. for author visits and workshops, including the Museum of African Art at University of Iowa, the Holter Museum of Art in Montana, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art. He has been commissioned to create poster designs for a number of city-wide art festivals, and was honored to be chosen to create the artworks for recipients of the 1990 Governor’s Arts Awards in Oregon. In 2001, Wagué created an 84′ long mural and other artworks for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando, Florida. Baba Wagué Diakité is represented by Pulliam Gallery of Portland, OR.