Sculpted Clay Paintings Show Universal Connectedness

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I was first introduced to Arnaud Ramde at a live music venue in NYC through a dear friend of mine. Like all of the people I have met from Burkina Faso, he emanated a calm, comforting, positive energy; an obvious contentment with life that is uncommon in the Western world. He seemed to have an understanding of the universe and the love that connects us all. When I first saw his art, it was like he had found the way to express all of this knowledge and share it with the world. Using a mixture of homemade clay and acrylic paint for color, Ramde brings a canvas to life with unique texture and dimension in a practice he calls “Vie Nenga” which is French for “Life Figures.” His sculpted paintings express a universal truth- the value of family, love, and work.

It’s no coincidence that family is such a strong element in Ramde’s works. He grew up in a close knit family, fourth of seven children in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where he began painting at the age of seven. Once he has mastered art techniques and portraits, he was driven to be more original and combined his appreciation for sculpture with painting to create his sculpted painting technique. Inspired by the birth of his son Anseleme, he set out to remind people of our connection to our mothers, one another, and our universal mother- the Earth. Ramde explains:

“I begin a piece by thinking about my life and the lives of those around me. I am inspired by memories of my childhood, loving parents and the happiness of the everyday people around me. I’ll usually have a precise idea in my mind for a piece, and I am able to translate that idea to canvas exactly the way I envisioned it. While creating art, I go from painter to sculptor and back again.”

Creating art is Ramde’s passion and he hopes his paintings will inspire people to want to learn more about Africa and cultivate a new form of art appreciation in America. The happiness he sees when someone new views his work inspires him to create more. See more of his work and get your very own piece on You can also connect with Arnaud Ramde on Facebook.

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