Kadiatou Coulibaly is a Brooklyn-based contemporary artist and cosplayer born in Mali and raised in Gabon. Her mother taught her how to paint when she was 8 years old. Coulibaly founded Nerdy Bae LLC, an African nerd lifestyle brand in 2019. For Coulibaly, cosplaying and painting are both art forms activating her creativity. Cosplaying helps her celebrate powerful characters that animate her imagination, while her paintings reflect her Bambara background, upbringing in Gabon, experience as an African immigrant living in the U.S.
Coulibaly’s art practice is centered around a concept she calls Denbaw Gaari meaning “mothers thread” in Bambara, her native language. Denbaw Gaari is a process exploring maternal relationships. She uses acrylic paint as her primary medium along with bogolan (mudcloth) fabric collage. Coulibaly’s love for bogolan comes from genetic memory inherited from her late paternal grandmother who made bogolan when she was young.
Coulibaly presented her first bogolan-inspired paintings in an exhibition titled TRAJET in February 2020 at the Black Gotham Experience in New York City’s Seaport District. She has been featured in Mahyue Magazine and her paintings shown by Roaring Artist Gallery, Black Girls Who Paint and Art on the Ave. She was Summer 2021 artist-in-residence at The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus.