Hamidou Sissoko immigrated to the US in 2001 from the Francophone West African country Mali. “I grew up fixing cars and bikes. As I got older, I learned more and more, I started fixing more complex equipment. We never wasted any materials in Mali and would always find creative ways to repair things.”
In the US, Hamidou worked as a car mechanic and started to learn how to weld. Then his life took a dramatic turn. “When my kids were born, I became a stay-at-home dad. We spent a lot of time outside in the garden observing different plants and animals.” Ultimately, his appreciation for the nature around him coupled with his penchant for not wasting materials led to a new career as a successful found object sculptor.
“My son was really into dinosaurs. One day, we visited a museum, and I imagined how to recreate a dinosaur skeleton out of scrap metal that I had in the backyard – an oil drum and some chains.” Now, their property in Chatham County is inhabited by dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds, giant fish, and all sorts of strange creatures assembled from rescued, un-wanted and discarded materials. Hamidou’s shop is also filled with sculpting equipment that he has restored into working order.
Hamidou Sissoko exhibits his sculpture in several area art festivals including
– The Fearrington Folk Art Show
– Come Out and Play
– The Festival for the Eno
– Bluegrass in Durham
– Sculpture in the Garden at the North Carolina Botanical Garden
“Hamidou’s impressive sculpture of an insectivorous plant won honorable mention in the 2021 show,” notes Emily Oglesby, NC Botanical Garden Communications & Exhibits Coordinator.
Hamidou sells his garden sculptures for $25 to $4000. Images of his eclectic creations appear on his Instagram postings at: Hamidou Sissoko (@sissokoartsculpture) • Instagram photos and videos
Hamidou Sissoko will make his Chatham Studio Tour debut the first two weekends in December. “I hope that people who see my sculptures can get an appreciation of how used and discarded objects can be transformed into beautiful and joyous works that make us happy.” More information about Hamidou can be found on his Chatham Artists Guild gallery page.