Pape Cisse (Butterfly Wing Artist)

Pap Cisse: Artiste Extraordinaire

The drawings of Massaer Diallo (aka Pap Cisse) are truly amazing works of art. Fascinating, full of color and imagination, and wonderfully crafted, Diallo uses the wings of butterflies to create abstract designs, birds, women, etc. which transport the viewer to Senegal, his native country (see images of his work on the links, below). Using an extraordinary range of colors he glues pieces of butterfly wings on a sheet of white paper to form his images that are both soothing to the eye and spirit.

Born on January 20th, 1962 in Hlm II, where he was reared and educated, Pap Cisse (after having worked for a short time in a uniform factory) discovered his true avocation as an artist. Pap Cisse (in an interview by ADFR, June 2010) said:

I began my creations that are not paintings but rather artistic collages in 1986 after a meeting I had with Alexandre – a truly great artist from Burkina Faso. It was this man who initiated me in this type of art. The material I use for my work is paper, glue, and butterfly wings. As you may well know, these wings exhibit every color of the world. A butterfly’s life lasts only 48 hours and once they are dead they are collected. These butterflies are particularly beautiful and abundant in Burkina Faso and I have friends there who collect the dead creatures and sell them to me. It is always a great pleasure when I receive the packages they send me because in that country there are many butterflies with extraordinary colors.

In order not to damage the wings I use small pincers to handle and cut them to a determined size. Then I place the selected piece on a paper that has already been smeared with glue. Prior to placing them on the paper, I of course draw the figure of women, animals, or other images I want to represent. It takes me about 30 minutes to produce a single figure and I can usually produce from 5 to 10 compositions in a single day.

To sell my work I go to various places like museums, exposition halls, etc. in Dakar and sometimes in Mbour at Sally, where I have some middle men that help me sell my work. Generally sales are good and the proceeds help me live decently. My clients are typically Americans, Europeans, and other foreigners; but locals seldom buy my work which I usually sell for $30 and upwards per piece.

My most fervent wish is to visit the USA or Canada where I am certain my work will be well received. That is why, I ardently solicit the authorities of the State (especially Ali Diouf, the mayor of Dakar) to help me realize this dream.

Pap Cisse currently lives in HLM. 605 (Dakar Senegal) and can be reached by telephone at (221) 775779072.