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Mamadou Saadio Diallo : the Pop Art King of Ouakam

Petites boulots by Saadio
Petits boulots

With Les Petite Pierres, Amalion Publishing , The Art House and now Mamadou Saadio Diallo’s studio all within a small area, it seems Ouakam is fast becoming a creative hub in Dakar.

Saadio’s workspace sits slightly incongruously – yet also completely appropriately for someone adept at mixing up the signifiers of city life – amongst the tailors, bakeries, car part shops and Fataya sellers of Ouakam’s busy main street.

Mamadou Saadio Diallo, photo by Mamoudou Lamine Kane
Mamadou Saadio Diallo

Originally from Guinea, Saadio began his professional life as building painter. He only became an artist aged 32, after he met a well-known Senegalese artist who encouraged him to explore his medium in a different way.

Influenced by Jean-Michel Basquiat, he began creating unique visual patchworks of his urban environment and his African cultural origins.

His paintings capture the buzz  of Dakar’s street life using the motifs that can commonly be found all over the city: scooters and Car Rapides, stray dogs, hairdressers, taxis, street signs, graffiti, and Café Touba sellers.


The canvasses  fizz with exuberance, commotion and chaos, with everyone and everything jostling for space. You can almost hear the cacophony of city noises; the car horns and street-vendors, radios blaring, dogs barking, and cell phones beeping.

Au Salon du Coiffure
Au Salon du Coiffure
'Jazz pop art'
Jazz Pop Art

Saadio has recently begun experimenting with painting on furniture, some of which can be seen in a group exhibition at the British Council in Dakar until January 23d as part of the Partcours Art Festival. If you live outside Senegal and are interested in purchasing Saadios’ work, some pieces are available here.

Thank you to Mamoudou Lamine Kane for providing the photos for this post.


  1. Great work! I have added his name to my list of up and coming African artists to keep an eye on.

  2. Aileen Aileen

    I love the descriptions of the paintings – you really capture the vibrancy of the artworks.

    • Moira Moira

      Thanks Aileen!

  3. Manuela Manuela

    Thanks for the intro Moira 🙂 His art represents Dakar’s charm, creativity and vitality.

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