An unexpected outcome of the recent visit by Ivory Coast artist Aboudia was the proclamation he made 48 hours into his time with us: “CSW, c'est mon école!” And a truly wonderful outcome it was, pleasing to us all and to NYC gallerist Ethan Cohen '79 who made the introduction between Aboudia and CSW.
Last week, Aboudia spent two days at CSW -- setting up a studio in one of our classrooms and completing four canvasses, each of which invoked his deep relationship with the street children of his home city Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. (You can view a photo album with highlights from his visit here and a Youtube video of highlights here.) He has given his life and work over to these children, and it is clear he channels them into the vibrant canvasses that express a form of freedom and fluidity that is exhilarating. Many of our students worked alongside Aboudia in the studio, co-creating a piece that Aboudia has donated to the school, a school that he now sees as his place, too.
Last Friday evening, as we celebrated 10 years of The Garthwaite Center for Science & Art and the Thompson Gallery (where Aboudia’s work is exhibited through June 9), we honored Aboudia for his dedication to children. On behalf of CSW and the Thompson family, Andrew Thompson ‘05 presented Aboudia with our recognition of his work with these words: “The Cambridge School of Weston recognizes Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba as a social justice artist-activist, dedicated to the belief in the power of art as an agent of social change. We honor his work to give voice to the voiceless and marginalized street children in his home city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.”
We also gave Aboudia a replica sculpture, created by Niho Kozuru ‘86, of CSW's iconic “We Are” emblem. In a delightful and rather beautiful moment later that evening, Niho learned that Ethan's parents had visited Niho's family home and art studio in Fukuoka, Japan, in the late 1970s. During their meeting, Ethan’s father encouraged Niho's father to become a visiting fellow at Harvard’s ceramics studio; Niho’s father agreed and brought his whole family with him and this is how Niho ended up attending CSW.
It's all rather wonderful and heart-warming and yet another in a set of stories about CSW and the wonder of art and endless connections. CSW, c’est mon école aussi!
The Cambridge School of Weston is a coed day and boarding private school, located near Boston, for students in grades 9-12 and PG. We offer an innovative and rigorous academic program that fosters critical thought, hands-on experiential learning and deep academic inquiry. Students choose from more than 300 courses through our unique Mod System; no two student schedules are alike.