Ivory Coast Culture and History

By | September 19, 2021


According to cancermatters, the Ivory Coast is very important in the entire historical-artistic panorama of Africa, as in it, with the abstractionist styles of the Senufo of the North, with the stately Guinean art of the Baulé and Anyi and with the masks of the Man group, the main artistic currents of the continent are present. Witnesses of a more prestigious past are some finds from the archaeological age; particularly worthy of mention are the delicate terracotta heads connected with the kingdom of Krinjabo, which reveal how the high artistic tradition of which Ife and Benin were the most advanced centers had extended to almost all the countries of the Gulf of Guinea. Of contemporary production, alongside the masks and statuettes, which are the most widespread genre, we must remember the exquisitely carved cult drums,


Two filmmakers trained in Paris stand out in the panorama of the Sixties: Timité Bassori (b. 1933), who can be considered the “dean” of local cinema, author of documentaries and short films and of the film La donna con cucina (1969), a style very European, on the theme of a dreamlike sexual inhibition; and the most gifted Désiré Ecaré (b.1938), who shot Concerto pour un exil (1968) and À nous deux, France directly in France (1970), highly personal apologues, with an extraordinary musical rhythm, of intellectuals and women of his country who cannot decide between the two civilizations. The cinema soon gained considerable importance in the country; it was here, in fact, in 1962, that the Ivory Coast Cinema Company was founded; the most important films are all in French. Other names appeared in the following years: the Guinean H. Duparc (The family, 1971; The wild grass, 1977), and the native R. Gnoan M’Bala (b.1943), director of Abidjan television, author of satirical short films (Come va?, 1972; The suitcase, 1974; The hat, 1976). One of his latest works (Adanggaman, 2000) tells of the controversial role of Africans in the period of the slave trade.


Another coup d’état, during which its inspirer, former president Gueï was killed, was foiled in September 2002, from that moment the country became the scene of a civil war with clashes between rebels of opposing factions organized in the MPCI (Patriotic Movement of the Costa d ‘ Ivory) and the government. In January 2003, in Marcoussis, France, a peace agreement was signed under the aegis of France between the government and rebel forces: a government of national unity was created in which representatives of the rebel factions also participated. The agreement was immediately contested at home and the fighting resumed.

A brief respite occurred in February 2003 when President Gbagbo, accepting the Marcoussis agreements, gave Seydou Diarra the task of forming a new government of national unity; as a consequence, in July the rebel forces declared an end to hostilities. It was a short-lived peace so that in March of the following year the opposition accused the government of not respecting the agreement and, as a protest, some political formations including MPCI (which had changed its name to “New Forces”), left the government; this led to the resumption of armed conflict between government troops and rebels at the end of 2004. While the UNhe sent an international peace contingent to avoid further worsening of the situation, peace agreements followed one another (Accra, July 2004 and Pretoria, 2005) that the government was then unable to implement. In November 2004, the president bombed some rebel strongholds and a French military base: in response the French annihilated the Ivory Coast Air Force. In March 2007 an agreement decreed the end of the conflict. Although the disarmament procedure had begun and it was decided to grant citizenship to Ivorians expelled during the war, President Gbagbo continued to remain in office. The parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled, first for 2008 then for 2009, and later postponed to 2010, were further postponed sine die by Gbagbo. The latter took place on November 28, 2010 in a climate of very high tension; the Ivorians elected Alassane Ouattara, but President Gbagbo illegally attributed the victory to himself, getting himself nominated for a new term by the Constitutional Council. L’ African Union, through its president, Bingu Mutharika, urged Gbagbo to leave and to respect the will of the people. In March 2011, forces loyal to Gbagbo launched a military offensive against the areas controlled by Ouattara’s supporters, but after a few weeks of violent clashes, especially in the capital, French special forces and UN soldiers arrested Gbagbo. In December the legislative elections were held, won with a very large majority by the party of President Ouattara.

Ivory Coast Culture