Boghossian, Alexander (Skunder) (1937–2003) By Cantone, Helena
Alexander Boghossian, better known as Skunder, was one of the most prominent figures of African modernism. Born in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in 1937 to Ethiopian-Armenian parents, Boghossian won a government scholarship to study in Europe aged seventeen. He studied in London at St. Martin’s School, the Slade, and the Central School between 1955 and 1957 and then moved to Paris in 1957 to 1966 where he continued his training at L’École National Supérieure des Beaux Arts and L’Académie de la Grande Chumière. Boghossian became part of the artistic and intellectual fabric of Paris during the late 1950s and 1960s, meeting influential figures in the Pan African and Négritude movements, including philosopher Sheikh Anta Diop, Léopold Senghor, and the Congolese poet Tchikaya U’Tamsi. In particular Aimé Césaire’s poetry greatly influenced and inspired Boghossian’s vision. Artistically, Boghossian was associated with the Surrealist movement and artists including Wilfredo Lam, Paul Klee, André Breton, Max Ernst, Gerard Sokoto, and Georges Braque.