sun 16/02/2020

Romuald Hazoumé's Petrol-Fumed Art | reviews, news & interviews

Romuald Hazoumé's Petrol-Fumed Art

Romuald Hazoumé's Petrol-Fumed Art

African artist's potent transformations of gasoline canisters

Romuald Hazoumé strolls into the October Gallery in London with the assurance of a man preceded by his reputation, and walks through a room lined with his large colour photographs, plastic masks, symbolic paintings on canvas, and a centrepiece installation featuring a group of four huge musical instruments constructed from cut-up petrol canisters. A strong, stocky 47-year-old wearing a comfortably loose boubou and wide trousers, he has every reason to be confident: this artist from Benin in West Africa, who carries round his neck a huge bunch of jangling, tinkling talismanic pendants which clearly work, is one of Africa’s most significant contemporary artists.

We in Africa are losing our culture and if we lose it, we’re dead. We think your culture is better than ours, but our culture is so rich.

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