Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell! Sinister Project! Return of the "Xynomorph"! No, these are not the obscure horror/spy/sci-fi B-movies: rather, they're the titles of some of Sierra Leone artist Abu-Bakarr Mansaray's works.

Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell (2003). Ballpoint pen and graphite on paper, 100 x 130 cm (left).

Sinister Project (2006). Pencil and felt tip pen on paper, 150 x 205 cm (below, left).

Return of the "Xynomoph" (2013). Ballpoint pen and coloured pencils on paper, 102 x 160 cm.


Like a sort of modern-day Leonardo fed on comics and cartoons, Mansaray, who taught himself chemistry, physics, maths and electronics when he quit school at the age of 16, has produced a staggering number of plans and sketches for preposterous machinery—from "the most sophisticated radar of the moment" to sort of helicopter-type-thing meant to "extinguish the fires of Hell".

And, very kindly, he often also provides detailed explanations of his works—for example, for one of his early works, Isomerism (1992, pencil and ballpoint pen on paper, 27.8 x 21.5 cm), he says:

This machine has been constructed for multiple uses. It is very sophisticated, contains electronic and computer parts of my own fabrication. It is a spaceship with multiple uses.

It is also the most sophisticated radar of the moment.

It is the most powerful fighter airplane, the fastest spaceship. It moves at 93,000,000 miles per minute when it is heading toward outer space. It also launches missiles, detects and destroys mines.

It also scrambles communication and other radar instruments that try to surpass it.

This machine is a feat of computer technology, it is filled with magnetism and electronic power.

As for the instructions—

1) It uses eight 1.5-volt R20 batteries.

2) Place the batteries in their recess, respecting their polarities.

3) Turn the motor on and watch the terrifying action.

Here are a few more of my favourites:

Sumanguru III (7) (1997). Pencil and black and red ink on paper, 21 x 30 cm.

Computer Virus (The Male) (2008). Ballpoint pen and pencils on paper, 120 x 200 cm.

Evil Detector (2005). Ballpoint pen and graphite on paper, 160 x 213 cm.

Images via CAACart and Magnin-A—where you can also find more images.