A self-taught artist, Salifou Lindou is part of the former generations of artists in Cameroon who now teach the new generation. He co-founded the Kapsiki Circle in 1998 to introduce the arts in Douala by organising exhibitions, projects and residencies. 
While Salifou Lindou started his career mainly creating installations, sculptures and mixed collages on canvas, he works with pastels on paper for a few years now. His pastels emerge from an energetic and spontaneous tangle of lines and strokes. If the artist deals with topical issues, he always illustrates the passion and desire to live in opposition to the vulnerability of the body. He puts forward the duality of human beings: between strength and weakness, immobility and movement, peace and chaos. 
On paper and on canvas, Lindou explores the complexity of human beings through scenes of daily life, fed with references to legends and classics, whilst within modern painting. From internal fights to TV debates, going through political instability that leads to an exodus, the work of Lindou talks about and starts from daily life. It is both introspective and inspired by his observation of society. 
In 2022, Lindou celebrated the 30th anniversary of his career. However, it is his participation in the 1-54 London art fair in 2020 with AFIKARIS Gallery, which truly marked his recognition on the international art scene. Since then, his work has been featured in numerous international fairs such as Art Paris (France); Investec Cape Town (South Africa) and 1-54 New York (USA). It has also been part of exhibitions in institutions including the National Museum of Yaounde (Cameroon); Institut des Cultures de l’Islam (France); Art Hub Copenhagen (Denmark). Finally, Lindou represented Cameroon at the last Venice Biennale (2022). Salifou Lindou's first solo institutional exhibition in Europe will take place in spring 2024 at the Ettore Fico Museum in Turin, Italy.
Art Fairs

On the occasion of Salifou Lindou's solo show Dans le bruit de la ville held at the gallery (25 May – 20 June 2023), the artist has been asked a few questions about his inspirations and the genesis of this exhibition. 

In your solo show 
Dans le bruit de la ville, you return to your early practice of composing works from recycled objects such as sheet metal. Why did you feel the need to rework this material?

Yes, around 30 years ago, I started working with sheet metal because the city was modernizing and there was a kind of transformation due to the way advertising was done in the city. It was the advent of big billboards at crossroads. What really caught my attention was the anarchy, the haphazard placement of billboards, which was really brutal for the inhabitants, and me in particular. The disorder - that is, putting up signs and cluttering up not only the view but also the situation. Advertising was a good thing, it brought color to the city, but there was still a certain ambiguity that appealed to me, that of the urban disorder that was taking hold. 

That’s why, even in my painting, there was a desire to express myself on urbanity, and so by working a lot with materials, by making a lot of collages, I was seduced by sheet metal. Like everyone else, I was drawn to it because sheet metal is a very common material in African cities; it’s the easiest and cheapest way of roofing houses, especially in working-class neighborhoods. And so, for me, it was an accessible material, because sheet metal that has aged can be changed at any time. 

In my artistic approach, there was something that fascinated me about ancient African sculpture: the aged aspect. This was done on purpose by the artists or craftsmen of the time, but you could also see that the wear and tear of time was at work. The craftsmen were motivated by the desire to make the sculpture strong, powerful and worthy of its intended purpose. Aesthetics played a part in building the strength they wanted, and so they used tricks to age the object. 

This is the aspect that often appeals to me in ancient works of art, and the aged aspect of metal really spoke to me. The lived-in aspect of metal is fascinating, because it has rubbed shoulders with people, been manipulated by people, transformed by erosion, the sun, even the kitchen fire. This made sheet metal quite interesting for me in my artistic practice and especially in my plastic art.