| 8 December 2023, Friday |

Some Niger artists voice support for new military rulers

Paintings of Niger’s coup leader, national flags, and symbols of togetherness have appeared in the capital since the military takeover last month, prompting some artists to join a pro-junta campaign.

Niger military soldiers who toppled President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 resisted UN, regional, and Western appeals to reinstate him, gathering thousands of people at demonstrations decrying the West and praising Russia.

Members of a small painting collective worked under the shade of trees in a quiet corner of Niamey to make a portrait of coup leader Abdouharamane Tiani on an outline of Niger, adding a protester here, an inspirational quote there.

Artist Ali Garba said he and his colleagues wanted to play their part in unifying the nation.

“All citizens must make their contribution,” he said. “Without social cohesion, there is no nation.”

West African armies have threatened military action against the new regime if it does not restore civilian rule, a prospect portrayed as missiles dropping on a dark desert scene by Boubacar Djiboby, who also painted tied hands breaking free.

There has been little public sign of resistance to the coup, although a former rebel leader and politician announced a movement to restore constitutional order last week.

  • Reuters