Iba N'Diaye was born in 1928 in Saint Louis, Senegal. As a high school student, he painted film posters for the town's two cinemas. N'Diaye studied architecture in Senegal and continued his creative studies in France at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montpellier, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. At the request of President Léopold Sédar Senghor, N'Diaye returned to Senegal in 1959 to create the Department of Plastic Arts at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Dakar. He returned permanently to Paris in 1967.
The artist frequented jazz clubs in Paris in the 1940s, and his love of music continues to inform his artwork. In 1987, the Museum für Völkerkunde, Munich, organized the first major retrospective of N'Diaye's works in Europe. His artwork has also been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.