Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion

06.28.2011

Who is Barthelemy Toguo ?

toguo

"We all are in a permanent transit ... we go from a place to another with different means while taking with us, on these trips, our culture, which go to meet the other

Cameroonian artist internationally well-known,  Barthélémy Toguo is an active advocate of cultural activity and preservation of art in Africa.

He presented, at the Forum d’Avignon 2010, his outlook of “the blossoming of cultures”. With ‘investment in Africa’ as a leitmotiv, he said “it is up to Africans to build Africa”, including art and culture, which are to him crucial factors of development. His project  Bandjoun Station is a "pairing between an agricultural project and an artistic project", reversing what Leopold Sedar Senghor was often talking about “the deterioration of the terms of exchange”. A vision illustrated by his performance, Sad Fate, during the Forum d’Avignon 2010, that represents the issue of subsoil, of water but also oil.

Born in 1967 in Cameroon, Barthélémy Toguo studied at the school of Fine Art in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and then at l’Ecole Supérieure d'Art de Grenoble and at the KunstAkademie of Düsseldorf in Germany. He builds his pieces of art accumulating, working sculpture and painting, as video, photo or performance. He designs installations, personal small theaters, on themes inspired by his travels. We can see some recurring elements, including references to the divide between the Western and non-Western world, paying particular attention to the influx of goods and individuals as well as their regulation. For instance, his series of wooden giant sculptures The New World Climax shows inscriptions such as "residence permit" or "the world of citizens" and refers to individuals who affix the saving stamp on a passport,  or not.

Barthélémy Toguo takes a strong interest in the presence of art in Africa, especially in Cameroon. Indeed, his country had no museum or art school, before the artist decided to create, in 1999, the Institute of Visual Arts in Bandjoun. He opened in 2010 a studio to receive artists: The Bandjoun Station . Unique place in Africa and home of an important artistic heritage, this "cultural construction" designed by Toguo aims at creating collective and monumental works and receiving artists from all disciplines in residence.

 

To go further: Acts of the Forum d’Avignon 2009