Winner of the Arnold Bode Prize at documenta 12, Romuald Hazoumè is one of Africa’s leading visual artists. He has worked with a wide variety media throughout his career, from discarded petrol canisters, oil paint and canvas, to large-scale installation, video and photography. The exhibition at IMMA focuses on his iconic sculptures made from discarded plastic canisters which resemble the primitive tribal masks that were so influential to the early Modernists, such as Picasso and Braque. The 40 works implicitly criticise the presence of multinational oil companies in West Africa where natural resources are exploited with no benefit to the local communities, a form of neo-colonialism that Hazoumè equates with an unending form of slavery. This is a point made in his major installation la Bouche du Roi, shown at the British Museum, London, during the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery in 2007.
Hazoumè has exhibited widely in Europe and America, including the Menil Collection, Houston; the Museé Quai Branly, Paris; Guggenheim Bilbao; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Hazoumè was born in 1962 in the Republic of Benin, where he continues to live and work.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by IMMA with texts by Seán Kissane, Gerald Houghton, Yacouba Konate and André Magnin.
The exhibition is organised by IMMA and will travel to the Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, Wales.
The exhibition is supported by Fondation Espace Afrique and the French Embassy.