b. 1967, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Born to a French mother and a father from Côte d’Ivoire, Valérie Oka grew up in France. She graduated from the École Supérieure d’Arts Graphiques, Paris, in 1990. In addition to her artistic practice, she has worked as a graphic designer; a professor of contemporary art at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts et de l’Action Culturelle, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; and Director of Communications, Arts and Culture, for the Zuloga Group, Beijing.
Oka’s work blends diverse mediums and artistic disciplines in order to achieve dynamic, multimedia compositions. Her performances, installations, drawings, paintings, and sculptures explore the fundamentals of human relationships: sexual and emotional intimacy, desire, violence, and communication or its absence. Chaos, repetition, and simplified linear shapes are frequent motifs in her work.
Oka recently completed the performance dinner and installation In her presence at NIROX Projects, South Africa (2011); and her work has been shown internationally at venues such as Galerie Kajazoma, Abidjan (2011, 2007); Galerie le LAB, Abidjan (2005); and Africalia, Brussels (2004). She participated in the 3rd World Festival of Black Arts, Dakar (2010); 4th and 7th Dak’Art, Dakar, Senegal (2000, 2006), where she received the European Union Award in 2000; and a series of guerrilla exhibitions called Boulev’art, Cotonou, Benin (2003). She also received the Award for Best Contemporary Artist from the Union de Journalistes Culturels de Côte d’Ivoire (2006) and Grand Prix from the YEHE Foundation, Côte d’Ivoire (2003). Oka lives and works in Abidjan.