Born in 1965, Salifou Lindou lives and works in Douala. This member of Kapsiki circle grew up in Foumban called “the city of art” by many. Since his childhood, the masks and statues of artisans and of the palace museum has been his daily life. He started creating very early, and today he is one of the most recognized Cameroonian artists on the national and international scene. The artworks of Salifou Lindou are a mix of materials "I have the art of manipulating things, I like to tinker". Tireless researcher, Salifou shapes, structures and destructures metal sheets, leather, steel, paper, etc. He is constantly experimenting new elements to make the most of them. At first sight, one might think that the work of this artist runs counter to current contemporary art trends. At a time when many artists are coming back to figuration or hyperrealism, this artist seeks the perfect mastery of the abstraction of his subjects. “Like a kid” as he says, Salifou expresses the need to manipulate forms, to explore materials and finally to invent scenes. This ability to shape the lines, positioning eyes, mouth, nose and any other part of the body of his characters at the right place without calculation, highlights his perfect mastery of drawing and the expression of the freedom that emanates from him. In this game, which is ultimately artistic creation, everything is allowed to Salifou: the artist, playing with a heap of lines, leads them to express themselves only for themselves to represent characters who are indifferent to reality. During this manipulation, this do-it-yourself, the artist ends up touching the secret and the mystery of life. Life, our life, is a game, but a vicious game. His works, in a mixture of media (drawing, painting, collages, etc.) tell us its complexity. Salifou makes play together abstract forms and complex figures. This complexity, it is possible to see it through brown lines that intertwine to form atypical characters on which he sticks elements, which become stigmata. We can also see labyrinthine lines, the labyrinth of life, a life in which the Man who is at the center of Salifou's work, must fight, bet, and win or lose like in a casino. The life of human being is daily rotating around this fight and this game of perpetual strategies. His drawings show strong but fragile silhouettes at the same time, in chaotic worlds where man releases his impulses, conjures his anguish and unloads his aggressiveness. Through Lindou's work, we can confirm it again: artistic creation and life would have a common origin and trajectory.
How would you describe your work? My work mainly focuses on human beings. I would describe my work as a journey inside the matter, a need to fix the emotion in the texture of the characters I draw.
You are a multidisciplinary artist: a sculptor, a drawer, a painter, and a video artist. How do you choose which medium to work with? I instinctively choose the medium depending on the attraction I feel at the moment.
Who are the people that you represent? The people I draw are people I see every day, who are part of my environment. I’m very sensitive regarding what happens around me. In that regard, I fix the faces I use to meet daily.
Are you inspired by the news? Yes, the news and social movements inspire me a lot.
What are your main sources of inspiration? My main sources of inspiration are the faces I see in the street and the architecture of precarious neighbourhoods. Street scenes also inspire me a lot. Finally, I’m also inspired by the bodies’ aesthetic.
Which messages would you want to convey through your work? In my work, I aim to represent all the sides of human beings: their strengths as their weaknesses, their beauty as their ugliness, their narcissism as their humility and their generosity. Finally, human beings are treasures of information.
You founded in 1998 the Cercle Kapsiki along with Blaise Bang, Hervé Yamguen, and Hervé Youmbi et Jules Wokam joined you later. What was your objective? We were a group of artists and above all, a group of friends. The Cercle Kapsiki arose from the observation that the Cameroonian art scene lacked dynamism and that the young artists who would admire us as older artists won’t have any opportunity to show their work. Kapsiki is the name of the peak of a mountain in the North of Cameroon. It is the highest summit. Thus, we chose this name to embody the dynamism we would expect by gathering our forces. Our goal was to go toward the public and to democratize the arts. Indeed, at that time, contemporary art exhibitions mainly attracted an occidental “elite.” We really wanted to brings the art in the city by displaying artworks in the public space. Our initiatives have been supported by the French cultural center, Doual’Art, and also a Spanish organization that gave us money for 3 years. The purpose was to organize workshops with kids from the street or to create projects such as “Scénographies Urbaines.” This project, in partnership with the Skurk, had an international scale. It involved artists from Cameroon, France and Congo. Today, the five of us are participating in a project in the framework of Africa 2020.