Tuesday 11 October 18:00 - 20:30

October Gallery
24 Old Gloucester St
London
WC1N 3AL

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Private View: Romuald Hazoumè: Carnaval

Performing & Visual Arts

A solo exhibition of new sculptures by Romuald Hazoumè, to coincide with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair and Frieze London.

In this exhibition of much-anticipated work, Hazoumè returns to his signature masques bidons (repurposed masks), in which the artist keenly observes international concerns and the figures that populate the world’s political stage. In this new series of ‘masks’ composed of miscellaneous found materials, Hazoumè’s keen eye for detail coupled with his droll sense of humour percolate through to reinvigorate the form again, expanding its range to encompass new interpretive possibilities.

Hazoumè is careful to insist that the ‘masks’ he creates, ‘in no way resemble those originally powerful African masks used for ceremonial purposes. Whereas such artefacts exist as mysterious power objects, each of my “masks” portrays a real-life individual or even a distinct personality type.’ Indeed, some refer to specific African heads of state and the many politicians from that continent. Much of the enigmatic appeal of these masks is their ability both to conceal and yet reveal the hidden identity of their subjects.

The discreetly titled masked portraits suggest how Hazoumè is not simply aiming to portray crooked continental politicians alone; the artist broadens the discourse to include ‘the usual suspects’ on the international stage who exemplify the wider system of global corruption.

Hazoumè concludes: ‘Taken altogether, my masks represent impromptu impressions of people I know of and have seen; some of them might even be people you may well recognise!’

Image: Romuald Hazoumè. Photo by Jonathan Greet.

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