Illustrator / Artist, Montreal, QC. Born: Togo, West Africa.
Didy is an internationally recognized Canadian artist, singer, drummer, percussionist, dancer, and a teacher. After having studied visual art, music and dance in Paris, France, he moved to Montreal to continue his studies in graphic art and illustration at the CEGEP Ahuntsic (1973); advertising at the University of Montréal (1978); and art history at the University of Quebec (1985).
Didier has had a varied career in the entertainment industry. In 1962, he played drums alongside the great Louis Armstrong in Lomé, Togo, and jammed with renowned drummer, Cozy Cole in the Ivory Coast; was the lead singer with the group Akouéson and performed at the Moulin Rouge in Paris in the 60s; and in 1971, danced with the M. Maurice Béjard troupe at the Place-des-Art in Montréal.
Since 1981, Didy has dedicated himself and his time to painting and illustration. He participates in numerous exhibitions in Canada, the U.S., the caribbean, Cuba, France, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Africa. And his work has been featured at the Biennale Internazionale Del L’Arte Contemporanea in Firenze, Italy (in 2003); Hearst Art Council (2005), House of Humour & Satire in Gabrova, Bulgaria (2007); the International Symposium of Myths and Legends, Stara Zagoara, Bulgaria (2008); and Cercle des Artistes Peintres & Sculpteurs du Quebéc, Holland (2010).
Honours: Including International Festival Vues d’Afrique’s first prize (1987); honourary diploma from the University of Cuba (Faculty of Medicine, 1997); Black History Month’s first prize (for poster, in 2000); Canadian National Griot Awards nominee (2003); International Academy of Beaux-Arts in Quebec’s Athena Bronze award (2006); inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 1st & 2nd editions (2002 & 2006).
Affiliations: Founder of Union of the Artists Origin African, Montréal (1986); member of RAAV (Quebec’s Association of Visual Artists), SODRAC (International Copyright Society for Visual Arts), AIBAQ (Academy International of beaux Arts du Québec), ELAN (English language Art News), ACCAF (Afro-Canadian Contemporary Arts Fondation), DAM ( Diversity Artistic of Montréal), and CAPSQ (Cercle des Artistes Peintres et Sculpteurs du Québec.)
Favourite book? I don’t have one. I love to buy books on history, arts, crafts, and books on the places I’ve visited.
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Show people how to be happy; stress is killing people.
Who and what inspires you? Brake, Gauguin, Miro, Peelee-Peelee, AYI, Morrisseau and Pellan. These are artists that I love. They are telling a stories from their experiencies on their canvas. What inspires me most, there are many tribes in my country (Togo), who have rich stories, rites and other myths and legends. Togo is a tiny country in Africa but there is a lot to learn about it.
Why do you do what you do? Because I love it. I’m a griot. Through my art I tell stories about myths and legends, about what I know, what I have learned and what I have heard. I’ve learned to listen, not to judge. My art is based on three things: story, concept, and colour. When I sign my name to artwork, it’s because I’m satisfy and very happy with my