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From political concern to action emergency in the work of Barthelemy Toguo

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

Indignation, denunciation, reaction: it is in these terms that one could describe Barthélémy Toguo's committed work. Described by the art historian Philippe Dagen as an artist with "inexhaustible energy", the Cameroonian creator stands out not only by his prolific work but also by the diversity of the themes he addresses. By multiplying his productions and his subjects, is not Barthélémy Toguo trying to show the multiplication of alarming findings that occupy our daily lives today?

Born in 1976 in Cameroon, Barthélémy Toguo, a leading figure of contemporary African art, attaches particular importance to news and history. Sensitive to the questions generated by these topics, the political preoccupation is continuously guiding its artistic approaches. Working between Paris and Bandjoun (Cameroon), Barthélémy Toguo shows great sensitivity to the crucial issues affecting the African continent. The performance "Afrika Oil", presented in many exhibition spaces from 2005 to 2008, is revealing of the striking actions that the artist leads. He initiates this performance by placing himself in a barrel painted in white on which stands out this accusatory message falsely questioning: "Africa oil? ". In addition to denouncing the reductive image of Africa considered solely as an oil resource, Barthélémy Toguo attacks those responsible for this situation. This includes political corruption, unequal inter-country trade and the pressure exerted by the oil groups.

Afrika Oil - Barthelemy Toguo
"Afrika Oil" performance by Barthelemy Toguo

Criticism loses neither strength nor violence with regard to migration policies in Western countries. It is a frontal attack on the inhumanity of which migrants are victims. At the National Museum of the History of Immigration (Paris), Toguo’s monumental installation, Climbing Down (2004), is presented as a sinister and deserted Babel tower. The imposing structure consists of six wooden bunk beds overloaded with forty multicolored bags. This invented place evokes the real transit place, the crossing of borders, which can lead to this long and forced coexistence between migrants of different origins in unbearable conditions.

Climbing down - Barthelemy Toguo
Climbing down, Musée national de l'immigration, Barthélémy Toguo

With determination, Barthélémy Toguo affirms his duty to awaken consciences through a committed creation, always in resonance with the current world.

 Written by Eléa Sicre

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Indignation, denunciation, reaction: it is in these terms that one could describe Barthélémy Toguo's committed work. Described by the art historian Philippe Dagen as an artist with "inexhaustible energy", the Cameroonian creator stands out not only by his prolific work but also by the diversity of the themes he addresses. By multiplying his productions and his subjects, is not Barthélémy Toguo trying to show the multiplication of alarming findings that occupy our daily lives today?

Born in 1976 in Cameroon, Barthélémy Toguo, a leading figure of contemporary African art, attaches particular importance to news and history. Sensitive to the questions generated by these topics, the political preoccupation is continuously guiding its artistic approaches. Working between Paris and Bandjoun (Cameroon), Barthélémy Toguo shows great sensitivity to the crucial issues affecting the African continent. The performance "Afrika Oil", presented in many exhibition spaces from 2005 to 2008, is revealing of the striking actions that the artist leads. He initiates this performance by placing himself in a barrel painted in white on which stands out this accusatory message falsely questioning: "Africa oil? ". In addition to denouncing the reductive image of Africa considered solely as an oil resource, Barthélémy Toguo attacks those responsible for this situation. This includes political corruption, unequal inter-country trade and the pressure exerted by the oil groups.

Afrika Oil - Barthelemy Toguo
"Afrika Oil" performance by Barthelemy Toguo

Criticism loses neither strength nor violence with regard to migration policies in Western countries. It is a frontal attack on the inhumanity of which migrants are victims. At the National Museum of the History of Immigration (Paris), Toguo’s monumental installation, Climbing Down (2004), is presented as a sinister and deserted Babel tower. The imposing structure consists of six wooden bunk beds overloaded with forty multicolored bags. This invented place evokes the real transit place, the crossing of borders, which can lead to this long and forced coexistence between migrants of different origins in unbearable conditions.

Climbing down - Barthelemy Toguo
Climbing down, Musée national de l'immigration, Barthélémy Toguo

With determination, Barthélémy Toguo affirms his duty to awaken consciences through a committed creation, always in resonance with the current world.

 Written by Eléa Sicre

Read more


New "Upright man" standing in Brussels, by Bruce Clarke

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

The artist Bruce Clarke has just accomplished a monumental street art performance on a Brussels' building in commemoration of 25th birthday of Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. A new part of his "Upright men" project.

"I am your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather, your sister, your brother, your aunt or your uncle, your cousin, or your child who died 25 years ago in Rwanda. For so long, I have silently cry out my anger, my distress, my broken life. Despite the horror and indifference, I'm still standing upright, waiting for 25 years to get back what was taken to me and what is owed to me: my dignity.
Every April my heart bleeds and every April I struggle and I fight so that those crimes do not go unpunished, so that those crimes are not repeated. Every April I rise up as a torch of hope and every April I stand as a rampart against oblivion.
Every April I am the guardian of the memory of the victims of the Rwandan Tutsi genocide."

"Upright man" by Bruce Clarke in Brussels

The "Upright Men" pursue their fight against dehumanisation, oblivion and ignorance. The project conceived by Bruce Clarke and the Collectif pour des Hommes debout, attempts to give an image of resilience and of dignity to the survivors, to give symbolic reparation to the victims of the Tutsi genocide. initiated in 2014, it has been presented in around twenty cities around the world.

Provisional date for inauguration: April 11, 2019.

Upright Man by Bruce Clarke in Brussels

Upright man by Bruce Clarke in Brussels

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New "Upright man" standing in Brussels, by Bruce Clarke

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

The artist Bruce Clarke has just accomplished a monumental street art performance on a Brussels' building in commemoration of 25th birthday of Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. A new part of his "Upright men" project.

"I am your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather, your sister, your brother, your aunt or your uncle, your cousin, or your child who died 25 years ago in Rwanda. For so long, I have silently cry out my anger, my distress, my broken life. Despite the horror and indifference, I'm still standing upright, waiting for 25 years to get back what was taken to me and what is owed to me: my dignity.
Every April my heart bleeds and every April I struggle and I fight so that those crimes do not go unpunished, so that those crimes are not repeated. Every April I rise up as a torch of hope and every April I stand as a rampart against oblivion.
Every April I am the guardian of the memory of the victims of the Rwandan Tutsi genocide."

"Upright man" by Bruce Clarke in Brussels

The "Upright Men" pursue their fight against dehumanisation, oblivion and ignorance. The project conceived by Bruce Clarke and the Collectif pour des Hommes debout, attempts to give an image of resilience and of dignity to the survivors, to give symbolic reparation to the victims of the Tutsi genocide. initiated in 2014, it has been presented in around twenty cities around the world.

Provisional date for inauguration: April 11, 2019.

Upright Man by Bruce Clarke in Brussels

Upright man by Bruce Clarke in Brussels

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Ouattara Watts, story of a success

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

With two exhibitions organized in Abidjan: one at the Rotonde des Arts, a center dedicated to contemporary art, and the other at Cécile Fakhoury’s gallery. The return after great success around the world to his native Ivory Coast at the end of 2018 of the internationally famous painter Ouattara Watts made a lot of noise.

Mixing paint with recovered objects and raw materials in addition to the dynamic shapes and sustained colors, creates a monumental composition. His canvases are the medium of exploration of spiritual bonds that transcend nationalities and territories and abolish classifications. He adds ideograms and hypnotic symbols that, in his opinion, refer to cosmos. He evokes his multicultural identity, as an artist who does not want to be ranked in any movement or school. This artist claims his freedom by refusing to enter a category or to be labelled as an African or black American artist. Music has a singular role in his work: Ouattara Watts paints while listening to jazz, reggae, popular songs or Afrobeat, which are all sources of inspiration. For example, he made the painting Oté-fê after listening to a reggae album by Alpha Blondy. In this painting, he evokes the looting of Africa’s raw materials and the degradation of the continent.

At the beginning of his career, Ouattara Watts did not want to exhibit his works immediately in galleries. However, he quickly attracted many collectors, including French-Spanish director and photographer Claude Picasso and interior designer Andrée Putman. After his decisive meeting with the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1988, his fame will continue to grow over the exhibitions where his work will be shown. In 1993, he attended the Venice Biennale and then exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 1995. In 2002 he was represented at the Whitney Biennale in New York. Boulakia Gallery, in Paris, exhibited his works in 2015 and the value of his paintings was then estimated between 27,000 and 100,000 euros. His success has grown over the years, and his paintings are more and more appreciated. He was represented during "Afriques Capitales" exhibition at La Villette in Paris in 2017, whose main motivation was to show the real face of the continent by coming out of the exotic clichés. The same year, at the first sale of contemporary African art organized by Sotheby's in London, one of his paintings was bought for 34,000 euros.

His work now attracts collectors from all over the world and today, according to the gallerist Cécile Fakhoury, « he is the highest valued Ivorian artist. »

Written by Chloé Fayette

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Ouattara Watts, story of a success

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

With two exhibitions organized in Abidjan: one at the Rotonde des Arts, a center dedicated to contemporary art, and the other at Cécile Fakhoury’s gallery. The return after great success around the world to his native Ivory Coast at the end of 2018 of the internationally famous painter Ouattara Watts made a lot of noise.

Mixing paint with recovered objects and raw materials in addition to the dynamic shapes and sustained colors, creates a monumental composition. His canvases are the medium of exploration of spiritual bonds that transcend nationalities and territories and abolish classifications. He adds ideograms and hypnotic symbols that, in his opinion, refer to cosmos. He evokes his multicultural identity, as an artist who does not want to be ranked in any movement or school. This artist claims his freedom by refusing to enter a category or to be labelled as an African or black American artist. Music has a singular role in his work: Ouattara Watts paints while listening to jazz, reggae, popular songs or Afrobeat, which are all sources of inspiration. For example, he made the painting Oté-fê after listening to a reggae album by Alpha Blondy. In this painting, he evokes the looting of Africa’s raw materials and the degradation of the continent.

At the beginning of his career, Ouattara Watts did not want to exhibit his works immediately in galleries. However, he quickly attracted many collectors, including French-Spanish director and photographer Claude Picasso and interior designer Andrée Putman. After his decisive meeting with the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1988, his fame will continue to grow over the exhibitions where his work will be shown. In 1993, he attended the Venice Biennale and then exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 1995. In 2002 he was represented at the Whitney Biennale in New York. Boulakia Gallery, in Paris, exhibited his works in 2015 and the value of his paintings was then estimated between 27,000 and 100,000 euros. His success has grown over the years, and his paintings are more and more appreciated. He was represented during "Afriques Capitales" exhibition at La Villette in Paris in 2017, whose main motivation was to show the real face of the continent by coming out of the exotic clichés. The same year, at the first sale of contemporary African art organized by Sotheby's in London, one of his paintings was bought for 34,000 euros.

His work now attracts collectors from all over the world and today, according to the gallerist Cécile Fakhoury, « he is the highest valued Ivorian artist. »

Written by Chloé Fayette

Read more


Africa's growing place on global contemporary art scene.

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

The taste of contemporary art collectors has been shifting to the South for over a decade. The contemporary arts of Africa are more attractive and the artists are more and more presents in European fairs, galleries and museums.

Between October and December 2018, fairs 1-54 (London) and AKAA (Paris) have become accustomed to gather artists, gallery owners and collectors of contemporary African art scene. These occasions are opportunities to see great names of the art scene like the Ivorian photographer Ananias Leki Dago and unveil the new initiates as Moustapha Baidi Oumarou (Cameroonian painter).

Contemporary artists are also pushing the doors of traditional institutions. It is quite common today to compare classic and modern productions during exhibitions. In 2017, the exhibition "Africa of Roads" at Quai Branly Museum (Paris) closed on the Yinka Shonibaré (Anglo-Nigerian plastic artist) installation La Méduse. Artists from the African continent or the diaspora are now present in museums. They establish the bridge between common problems of both worlds: migration, ecology, urbanism. Tate Modern (London) inaugurated this emergence by inviting, in 2013, the Nigerian Otobang Nkanga to perform a performance in its new premises. Today in Tate Modern’s permanent exhibitionsyou will find works by Ghanaian El Anatsui, Cameroonian Barthélémy Toguo or Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu.

However, African artists do not shine enough from their own continent, but expose themselves in the network of Western capitals (Paris, London, Berlin, New York). African scenes, such as Dakar Biennale (Senegal), 1 :54 Marrakech (Morroco) or Cape Town Art Fair (South Africa), were created to attract the network to more southern regions. It is now necessary to build a market for general African art, so that beyond the individuality of the artist the continent develops a base on the international scene.

 

By Maxence Zabo

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Africa's growing place on global contemporary art scene.

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

The taste of contemporary art collectors has been shifting to the South for over a decade. The contemporary arts of Africa are more attractive and the artists are more and more presents in European fairs, galleries and museums.

Between October and December 2018, fairs 1-54 (London) and AKAA (Paris) have become accustomed to gather artists, gallery owners and collectors of contemporary African art scene. These occasions are opportunities to see great names of the art scene like the Ivorian photographer Ananias Leki Dago and unveil the new initiates as Moustapha Baidi Oumarou (Cameroonian painter).

Contemporary artists are also pushing the doors of traditional institutions. It is quite common today to compare classic and modern productions during exhibitions. In 2017, the exhibition "Africa of Roads" at Quai Branly Museum (Paris) closed on the Yinka Shonibaré (Anglo-Nigerian plastic artist) installation La Méduse. Artists from the African continent or the diaspora are now present in museums. They establish the bridge between common problems of both worlds: migration, ecology, urbanism. Tate Modern (London) inaugurated this emergence by inviting, in 2013, the Nigerian Otobang Nkanga to perform a performance in its new premises. Today in Tate Modern’s permanent exhibitionsyou will find works by Ghanaian El Anatsui, Cameroonian Barthélémy Toguo or Ethiopian artist Julie Mehretu.

However, African artists do not shine enough from their own continent, but expose themselves in the network of Western capitals (Paris, London, Berlin, New York). African scenes, such as Dakar Biennale (Senegal), 1 :54 Marrakech (Morroco) or Cape Town Art Fair (South Africa), were created to attract the network to more southern regions. It is now necessary to build a market for general African art, so that beyond the individuality of the artist the continent develops a base on the international scene.

 

By Maxence Zabo

Read more


"Enfants soldats" exhibition at Drouot

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

Afikaris is proud to support Drouot and « Fondation Invisible Borders » for « Enfants soldats » exhibition in Hotel Drouot in Paris. This show celebrating the launch of the "Fondation Invisible Borders" gatheris a group of very talented African contemporary artists: Aboudia, Saint Etienne Yeanzi, Jean David Nkot, Armand Boua, Bruce Clarke, Eric Bottero, Médéric Turay, Gonçalo Mabunda and Boris Nzebo.

For the event, these artists specifically produced an engaged work around "Children soldiers" and childhood. This is one of the guideline of this new foundation launched by Benjamin Noel: "Art doesn't have to always be engaged, but we want to show that artists can work together on strong themes and spread a powerful message."

Dates: 4-12 February (open from Monday to Friday)
Place: Hôtel Drouot, Paris (room 9)

 

"Enfants Soldats" exhibition at Drouot

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"Enfants soldats" exhibition at Drouot

Posted by Florian Azzopardi on

Afikaris is proud to support Drouot and « Fondation Invisible Borders » for « Enfants soldats » exhibition in Hotel Drouot in Paris. This show celebrating the launch of the "Fondation Invisible Borders" gatheris a group of very talented African contemporary artists: Aboudia, Saint Etienne Yeanzi, Jean David Nkot, Armand Boua, Bruce Clarke, Eric Bottero, Médéric Turay, Gonçalo Mabunda and Boris Nzebo.

For the event, these artists specifically produced an engaged work around "Children soldiers" and childhood. This is one of the guideline of this new foundation launched by Benjamin Noel: "Art doesn't have to always be engaged, but we want to show that artists can work together on strong themes and spread a powerful message."

Dates: 4-12 February (open from Monday to Friday)
Place: Hôtel Drouot, Paris (room 9)

 

"Enfants Soldats" exhibition at Drouot

Read more